If you are like me and worry about how if I forget to do something one time that it will be ruined, you may have had the thought cross your mind that if you forget to add salt that one time, it will ruin your water softener.
Fear not, because although a habit of this can cause problems (every other time forgetting), forgetting once a year will not cause any lasting damage.
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What Happens if My Water Softener Runs Out of Salt?
If your water softener runs out of salt, you will have a couple of things arise.
First, you will have all your hard water issues resurface again. From streaky dishes and spotty glass to crusty faucets, dry skin, dry hair, and more soap being used, all the tiny issues you used to have will come storming back. This is because you will just be having hard water in your pipes again and the water softener will no longer soften water.
Second, if it becomes a habit of not having salt in the water softener, you will begin to have maintenance issues arise more often. This is because of the water softener being unable to do its job and ending up collecting debris and getting dirtier than it normally would since it cannot regenerate properly and flush out as much gunk.
Why You Need to Top Up Your Water Softener Salt?
You need to top off the salt in your water softener for a couple of reasons:
First is that it is a machine just like anything else. You make sure that the oil in your car is topped off for the best performance for as long as possible, so you should be doing the same for a machine that provides you with a life essential. We use water daily and need it to live, so we should keep our bodies well-oiled by making sure that our water softeners have the right amount of salt to do that for us.
Second is that by topping off the water softener with salt after it dips under about half, you can mix around the salt and make sure that it is working properly and none of the salt is mushing on the bottom there are no salt bridges.
How to Tell If Your Water Softener Needs Salt
If your salt is below the water line in the brine tank, then you are in dire need of adding salt. That water line is going to float around 12 inches. Still, to ensure that you do not have problems with your softener and are able to continue to have full regenerations to help maintain the system, you need to try to make sure you never let the water go above the normal water line.
If your water line is not where it normally sits or is well above 12 inches, you may need to troubleshoot to make sure that nothing is preventing your salt from bringing during regeneration.
Does it Matter What Kind of Salt I Use in My Water Softener?
If you want the best results possible, the choice in salt is critical, especially with how many options there are for salt.
Evaporated Salt Pellets: The best quality overall and will give you some of the best results for your money. Will end up being a time-saver even though they cost more than crystals.
Solar Salt Pellets: A solid second choice for pellets. Not as high quality as evaporated salt, but still high up there.
Potassium Pellets: The best alternative to salt and deserves recognition for beating out a lot of salts for production and efficiency in a water softener. The price is up there and much more than salt.
Evaporated Salt Crystals: Because of its high purity and almost completely dissolving into water, this is a middle tier, because it is in crystal form and can bridge and mush a lot easier.
Evaporated Salt Blocks: If your water softener is designed for a block, you can put them in as a substitute for pellets but will never be quite as good as pellets due to how often they can mush.
Solar Salt Blocks: Again, the same reason why evaporated salt blocks are here. They are good but can tend to mush on people, so they will normally not be the first choice.
Solar Salt Crystals: Even though these can still be pure. They can have a lot more impurities in them and can mush and bridge the easiest.
Rock Salt Crystals: The cheapest of all salt. And where something is cheap, something is wrong with it. This is no exception to how many impurities rock salt can have, and how easily is mushes and bridges. It will cause the most headaches of any of them, but you will never beat the price.
Can You Overfill a Water Softener with Salt?
As with everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. Water softeners can have too much salt in them, and they can and will lose efficiency if overfilled.
The ideal amount of salt for a complete fill will be 4-6 inches of space left clear at the top of the tank. This allows water to pour in easily and fill the tank for bringing without any overflow issues or salt, creating any tank blockages.
Knowing how to fill your water softener with salt properly, and remembering to fill it regularly so that it does not have salt mushing or bridging, along with having the right type of salt, will help your mind be at ease with one less thing to worry about each day.