If you're buying salt for your water softener for the first time, you may be overwhelmed at all the choices of bulk salt available. If you go to a home improvement store, you'll see huge bags of various kinds of salt and you may not know which kind to buy. Here is a look at the various types of water softener salt available and how to choose the one you need.
Buy Only Salt Labeled For Use In Water Softeners
You may find large bags of salt that you use for melting snow off driveways, but you don't want to put that in your water softener. You also don't want to use regular table salt. Ice melt salt is not as pure as water conditioning salt and it has a different consistency. Table salt also has smaller salt crystals than those used in a water softener tank and that can lead to problems with mushy salt that doesn't work effectively.
Choose Sodium Or Potassium
When buying salt, you'll see a choice between sodium chloride and potassium chloride salt. You can choose either one for your softener. If your water softener bypasses the cold water line in the kitchen, you won't be consuming softened water so the choice isn't as important as when your cold water is softened too. Drinking sodium chloride treated water increases your daily sodium intake by a small amount. Even though the amount is small, it could matter if you are on a low-sodium diet for health reasons.
In the same way, potassium chloride adds potassium to your daily intake, which you might need to avoid if your doctor has advised you to watch your potassium. If you have health concerns, talk to your doctor or simply have a plumber connect the water softener to the hot water line only or bypass the kitchen faucet altogether.
Select From Crystals, Cubes, And Pellets
Crystals, pellets, and cubes have the same ingredients but they are made in different ways. The crystals are smaller so they may give you more problems with crusting and bridging in the tank. These salts can usually be interchanged or mixed, so you can go with your preference or what's available at the store. However, you should check your owner's manual to see if there is a specific type of salt that's recommended for the optimal performance of the tank.
You'll need to check the level of salt in your tank at least once a month. Your tank may even have a light that lets you know when it is time to add more salt. You don't want to let the level get too low or fill the tank too full or your tank may not soften the water as well as it should. Contact a service, like Water-Pro, for more help.