One of the questions we are asked frequently is, “What kind of salt should I use in my water softener?”. There are lots of choices on the market when it comes to softener salt so here are some helpful tips to help choose the salt that is right for you.
When we talk about softener salt, we typically talk about four different types – solar, cube, solar pellet and evaporated pellet. However, like so many things, not all salt types are the same quality so here’s what to look for. At the end of the day salt is salt but, if you are paying for salt you want it to be more salt than other stuff, right? We like to think of the choices in terms of good, better, best. Based on our experience, here is how we would rate the softener salt types…
GOOD – Solar Salt
Solar salt is typically small, crushed pieces of salt that are “harvested” and packaged. The salt harvested closer to the ground is going to have more dirt and impurities than the salt further from the ground. The “cleaner” solar salt is sometimes referred to as “professional” grade. Solar salt is more apt to become bridged (a large solid chunk). Bridged salt becomes hard like a rock and very difficult to break apart preventing it from slowly flowing to the bottom of the brine tank ultimately affecting your softener’s performance. This happens, in part, due to solar salt’s small size. Also, don’t be surprised if you find an occasional stone or twig in with solar salt which cause also cause softener problems depending on the type of system you have. If you do use solar salt be prepared for frequent brine tank cleanings – at least once a year.
BETTER – Cube Salt/Solar Pellet Salt
Cube salt is salt that has been harvested, cleaned and dried into sheets. The dried sheets are then broken into pieces and packaged. Cube salt is generally cleaner than solar salt. Solar pellets are formed by taking the salt fines of solar salt and pressing them together into a pellet (pillow) form. Solar pellets don’t have the same uniform shape of evaporated pellets and are often off white in color. Cube salt and solar pellets tend to be on the soft side and can mush up in the brine tank causing bridging problems which can lead to softener issues.
BEST – Evaporated Pellet Salt
Pellet salt looks just like it sounds – a pellet – or some people say it looks like a pillow. What makes evaporated pellets different is that the salt is harvested, cleaned, formed into a pellet (pillow) and dried. Evaporated pellets are very hard, bright white and have a uniform shape. Due to the size of the pellets they are less likely to bridge, especially if there is a lot of humidity where your softener is located. Another advantage of using evaporated pellets is they save on brine tank cleaning frequency because the salt has been cleaned. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell by the packaging if the pellets are solar or evaporated, so be sure to ask the retailer which type they carry.
If you have more questions about what type of salt is right for you and your water softener, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can reach us by phone 507-637-5574, email RedwoodFalls@magicwaterinc.com, on Facebook or Twitter.