What’s the Right Amount of Salt for Water Softeners?

As with so many things in life, there’s a sort of Goldilocks situation for figuring out your water softener salt usage. You don’t want to use too little, because then your unit can’t work properly. But you also shouldn’t have to deal with a system that’s always running low on salt, because that probably means it’s inefficient.

The first rule of thumb with water softener salt is that your tank always needs to be half-full. A quick look once a month or every other month can help you keep things in order. If your salt doesn’t meet that level, then there’s almost no point in even having a softener. So be sure to check!

3 Types of Water Softener Salt

Your unit can’t function without the right amount of water softener salt. And if that salt is running low or empty, that means you’re getting hard water at every tap. Having the right type of salt (and enough of it) will help keep your water nice and soft and clean.

1. Rock Salt

People usually think they’re getting a good deal with rock salt because it’s cheap. But that doesn’t pay off in the long run. Since rock salt comes with high calcium sulfate levels, it has problems dissolving in water. We actually refer to this as “dirty” salt because using it means your softener will need to be cleaned more often. Moreover, it’s just really tough on all of the system components.

2. Solar Salt

This is the salt that big retailers sell, and it’s definitely a step up from rock salt. You can buy it as pellets or cubes—but we always recommend the solar salt crystal type. The other versions have a coating on them to help hold their shape, so they don’t dissolve too well. They can also get stuck and clump together as a “salt bridge” inside your softener.

3. Evaporated Salt

Clean salt makes for clean water softeners, and that’s why evaporated salt is our top pick. It dissolves easily and that helps protect the longevity of your tank. No buildup means less waste. Water softeners are more efficient when there isn’t an underlying problem with the salt itself.

Efficient Softeners and Ideal Salt Usage

The right amount of salt depends on the situation, but you should always stick with that “half-full” mark. After that, you may need to review whether your unit is sized correctly for your needs. Some homeowners have a higher water usage (think: bigger families run through more water). But other water softeners are just older and won’t be able to keep up with the newer, more productive models. Of course, there are other factors in play too. If you’re don’t know whether you’re using too much water softener salt or too little, there are a few different scenarios to consider.

The unit might be struggling with a salt bridge. Then again, if you’re starting to notice hard water spots on your dishes, or that your skin is drying out after you take a bath or shower, the softener might be on its way out. You may decide it’s time to upgrade to a new system. Or a quick tune-up could get it back in good working order.

Either way, Indy Soft Water can help you run through your options. Give us a call at (317) 228-9822 and we’ll get your appointment on the calendar. We’re proud to be your local water softener and water filtration experts!