Do you know if your home has hard water? The answer is likely yes, as nearly 90% of houses in the US have some degree of hard water. Hard water can lead to numerous problems with plumbing and appliances that use a lot of water.
Installing a water softener system in your home can prevent you from facing such issues. If you decide this is the correct route for you, specific considerations must be made when choosing which salt will work best with your system; not all varieties are alike!
In this blog post, we explore the various types of salts available on the market today and discuss their different pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision about which water softener salt is best for your home’s unique needs!
What are the different types of softener salt?
1. Evaporated Salt
Regarding which water softener salt is best, evaporated salt is widely regarded as the best choice. Also known as “white salt,” evaporated salt is highly prized for its exceptional purity up to 100%. It is meticulously produced through a rigorous boiling process that removes all impurities from the brine. This high-quality salt is perfect for high-efficiency water softeners due to its deficient insoluble matter.
Additionally, it has excellent solubility, making it an ideal option for household use as it leaves no residue behind. It is important to note that evaporated salt tends to be slightly more expensive than other types of salt, but this price difference reflects its superior quality and performance.
- High purity.
- Free of impurities.
- Dissolves easily.
- More expensive compared to other types.
- The production process requires more effort.
2. Rock Salt
Rock salt is an affordable and commonly available alternative to evaporated salt. It is derived from mining underground salt deposits, resulting in crystal form. Due to its lower solubility, rock salt is not recommended for high-efficiency softeners. H
owever, it finds utility in various household applications, such as de-icing patios and walkways during winter. It should be noted that rock salt tends to contain more impurities and leaves behind a substantial amount of residue compared to other types of salt.
These characteristics make it essential to consider the specific needs and requirements before choosing rock salt as a water softener.
- Natural and widely available.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- It may contain impurities.
- Slower dissolving rate.
- It can leave a residue and build up.
3. Solar Salt
Solar salt, a type of salt produced by evaporating seawater or saltwater from underground wells under the sun, undergoes a unique process that imparts it with a distinctive reddish-brown color and higher moisture content than other salt varieties.
This makes it an excellent choice for individuals with lower-end water softener systems seeking an affordable yet effective salt option. However, it’s important to note that for those with high-efficiency water softeners, solar salt may not dissolve as effectively, potentially leading to mineral build-up or clogging issues.
Hence, understanding the compatibility of solar salt with your specific water softener system is crucial in ensuring optimal performance and longevity.
- Produced through evaporation from seawater or salt lakes.
- Less expensive than evaporated salt.
- It may contain impurities.
- Slower dissolving rate.
4. Block Salt
Block salt is a type of evaporated salt that goes through a process of compression, resulting in a convenient block or tab shape that can be effortlessly installed into your water softener system. This type of salt is particularly advantageous if you have limited storage space, as it occupies less room than loose salt.
While block salt may come at a slightly higher cost due to the compression process, it offers several benefits. It is an excellent option for high-efficiency softeners and ensures that no residue is left behind, providing you with clean and soft water throughout your home.
- Convenient and easy to handle.
- Suitable for water softeners.
- Dissolves gradually.
- Limited availability.
- Relatively more expensive.
5. Potassium Chloride
Potassium chloride, a highly soluble type of salt, is an excellent alternative for those mindful of their sodium intake. While it may be slightly more expensive than other salts, the investment is worthwhile, especially for individuals with specific health conditions like high blood pressure.
- Safe salt alternative for water softeners.
- Preferred over sodium in wastewater.
- Reduce your blood pressure.
- Generally more expensive than sodium.
- Need to adjust salt dosage settings during regeneration. Recommend consult a water softener expert for potassium chloride use.
Getting to Know Water Hardness and Which Salt to Use
Hard water is a common issue in many households throughout the United States. The hardness level is determined by the amount of minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium. There are different grades of hardness, ranging from slightly hard to very hard. If you’re unsure of the hardness level of your water, you can purchase a water testing kit or have your water tested by a professional.
Using solar salt is a cost-effective option for mildly hard water, which is between 1 and 3.5 grains per gallon. Solar salt evaporates seawater or salt water, leaving a pure salt crystal behind. It’s important to note that this type of salt can leave residue in your brine tank, so cleaning the tank regularly is recommended.
Pellets or cubes made from evaporated salt are recommended for moderately hard water, between 3.5 and 7 grains per gallon. These types of salt are cleaner and dissolve more quickly than solar salt. The efficiency of these salt forms makes them ideal for use in residential water softeners.
Using a high-grade resin is the best option for water that is very hard, which is above 7 grains per gallon. High-grade resin has a higher capacity to remove minerals from the water than salt alone. These resins can last for years with regular care and maintenance, making them a cost-effective option for those with very hard water.
It’s important to note that using a suitable salt for your water softener helps combat hard water and extends your appliance’s life. When the wrong type of salt is used, it can lead to build-up and blockages, which can cause damage to your water softener. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual of your water softener to determine which type of salt is recommended.
Suggestion: How water softener salt works
Can You Use Table Salt in a Water Softener?
Table salt and water softener salt are two different things. Table salt usually comprises sodium chloride with added iodine and anti-caking agents. On the other hand, water softener salt is either sodium chloride or potassium chloride in crystal or pellet form.
Water softener salt is free of impurities and has a higher purity level than table salt. The purity level is essential because impurities can clog and damage the resin beads in the water softener.
While it might be tempting to use table salt in your water softener, it’s not recommended for several reasons:
- Table salt has higher water insolubility than water-softener salt. This means it’s more likely to leave residue or salt bridges in the brine tank, which can clog the system and decrease its efficiency.
- Table salt’s higher impurity level can cause caking or build-up in the brine tank and resin bed, reducing overall performance and lifespan.
- Table salt’s anti-caking agents can damage the resin beads and reduce their effectiveness.
In conclusion, which water softener salt is best depends on easy to find and economical. Depending on the type of hardness in your area, it may be easy to choose between pellets, cubes, or crystals. Pellets are lightweight and dissolve easily; however, they can leave more residue than cubes or crystals.
On the other hand, cubes or crystals have a longer dissolving time and settle faster, but they can also require more maintenance if installed in an area that frequently gets flooded.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – considering which salt option works best with the type of hardness in your area will help you decide which one to go with. No matter what salt you choose, just be sure to use good quality options that tend not to attract moisture or clog up systems. Good luck!