Best Water Softener Salts to Use in My Water Softener

Best Water Softener Salts

If you’re researching water softeners for your home, you already know that you’ll need salt to keep yours functioning right month after month.

The type of salt you purchase is important because water softeners cannot take regular table salt or most salts that you’d use in the kitchen.

The best water softener salts are specially made for this purpose, which means that you can trust them to do the job they’re supposed to do every time.

How to Choose the Best Water Softener Salts

Choosing the best salt products for your water softener starts with knowing exactly what you’re looking for in the first place. You’ll need to find either sodium chloride, commonly known as salt, or potassium chloride.

Again, the product needs to be made specifically for water softeners because otherwise it could wreak havoc on your entire water-softening system.

One of the things you’ll need to consider important is the purity of the salts you’re purchasing. Some salt pellets sold in home improvement stores or the grocery store contain high levels of impurities or water-soluble matter.

Why is this significant?

Because these ingredients can build up in your reservoir and otherwise cause the softener to malfunction. The way to avoid this is simple: make sure that the label guarantees you’re getting the highest purity possible.

If you do notice that you’re experiencing any type of buildup, make sure that you clean the brine tank more often than usual. You may also want to consider purchasing another type of salt for your water softener.

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Are There Different Types of Water Softener Salt?

As a general rule, softening salt comes in three main forms:

  • Block salt
  • Crystals
  • Pellets
Water softer pellets

Salt pellets are the most commonly purchased type of water softener salt, in part because they are inexpensive. They also come in several different types.

The evaporated salt pellets have extremely high purity levels and less water-insoluble matter. Look for a brand that is 99.9% pure salt because this is a cleaner, more efficient type of evaporated salt.

Solar salt pellets may not work as well as evaporated salt if you have very high levels of hardness. If you choose solar salt pellets because your water isn’t terribly hard, try to find a brand that is 99.6% pure salt.

Finally, rock salt and block salt are sometimes used as a water softener salt; however, neither of these is recommended because the former has a high content of calcium sulfate and therefore doesn’t always dissolve well in water and the latter because it is difficult to dissolve in most systems.

You usually have to spend a little more to get the right type of salt pellets. The best water softener salts in most situations are the evaporated salt pellets because with this type of salts, you’ll experience fewer maintenance and cleaning issues, not to mention much better overall results.

What About Potassium Chloride?

Potassium chloride is usually preferred by people who have to limit their sodium intake for one reason or another. It is usually 99.9% sodium-free but can be a bit more expensive than sodium chloride as well as a bit harder to find.

If you choose potassium chloride for your water softener, it is advisable to increase the valve’s salt dosage program settings by 10% to make sure that the resin is regenerated properly.

So to recap, below are a few of the pros and cons for each type of water softener salts on the market.

Evaporated Salt Pros

  • Highest purity level
  • Less buildup in the bottom of the tank

Evaporated Salt Cons

A little higher price than most other salt types

Solar Salt Pros

  • Eco-friendliness
  • A renewable energy source

Solar Salt Cons

  • Lower solubility level
  • Possible buildup in your system

Potassium Chloride Pros

Safety for those with low-sodium needs
Good nutrient for plants and flowers

Potassium Chloride Cons

  • Price on the expensive side
  • Possible changes to your salt dosage program settings

Other Types of Water Softener Salts

Although not as common as the previously mentioned types of water softener salts, there are also specialty salts that some people use.

These include two main types:

  • Salts that fight buildup and help clean the system as it operates
  • Salts that specifically remove metals such as iron and rust

The good news is that these types are not difficult to find as long as you look for some of the most reputable brand names, such as Morton and Diamond Crystal.

And not to sound like a broken record, but always make sure that these salts are specifically made for water softeners and not just any use.

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What Considerations Are Important to Remember?

When you’re choosing the best water softener salts for your needs, there are things to keep in mind that may help you decide which type of salt will work best for your needs.

First of all, you need to know exactly how hard your water is, which is simple to determine because all you need to do is contact a water specialist and that company will come out and test your water so that you know for sure what the hardness level is.

You also have to keep in mind how much water you actually use. For lighter usage levels, you might be able to get away with salts that are not as strong as others.

The type and size of your water softener is also a consideration because many systems work best with a specific type of salt. The manufacturer or installer of your system can let you know more about that.

Finally, you have to think about the maintenance of your system and how much time you’re willing to devote to it.

Some types of water softener salts require more maintenance than others; therefore, you may want to choose another type if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like constantly cleaning out your water softener system and your brine tank.

In the end, there are no wrong answers to the question of what are the best water softener salts to use.

When deciding which one is right for you, you have to take several things into consideration but once you determine which product is right for you, you should be all set from that point forward.

If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever, the technicians at the company that sold you your water softener should be able to address them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What type of salt should you use in a Culligan water softener?

A: Culligan can help you decide which type of water softener salt is best for your needs but they will not make a blanket recommendation that is good for everyone.

Each person’s system is different; therefore, each homeowner will need to choose the best salt to accommodate his or her needs.

Culligan does, however, offer regular delivery of its bags of salt so that you never run out, which is one of their most valuable services.

Q: How many bags of salt do I need for a water softener?

A: This will vary depending on how many people are living in your home and the level of hardness in your water.

As a general rule, a family of four that has a hardness level of 7-10 grains per gallon will use about 10 pounds of salt per week, which means that you’re looking at roughly 40 pounds per month.

When your system is installed, the technician should be able to give you a more definite number for your particular system.

Q: What happens if you do not put salt in a water softening system?

A: Don’t let what others say about this fool you. You can occasionally let your water softener run out of salt and not worry about it too much; however, if you do this often, two things will happen.

First of all, without salt in your water softener, you don’t get soft water! And second, if it happens enough, it can do serious damage to the system, even causing your system to stop working because too much hard water is trying to be processed.

Q: What happens if you put too much salt in a water softener?

A: Most of the time, the only thing that happens is that your water will taste too salty. In fact, when you notice this happening, it is usually a sign that you’re putting too much salt in your water softener.

If you put too much salt in your system over and over again, it might interfere with the efficiency of that system but you’ll be able to taste it long before it becomes a real problem.

Q: Which is better: water softening salt or potassium chloride?

A: Many experts believe that water softening salt is better than potassium chloride; however, the real answer depends on the individual homeowners and what their needs are.

Potassium chloride is usually expensive and is only recommended for people who need to reduce their intake of sodium. Otherwise, both salt and potassium chloride work well with your water softening system.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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