Refilling your brine tank with the appropriate kind of salt in a timely fashion is one of the most important things you can do to keep your water softener functioning properly.
Experts often recommend that home water softener users should check their brine tank at least once a month. If the tank appears to be less than half-full, it may be a good idea to add some more salt, but be careful to not overfill the tank. Keep in mind that older softeners may regenerate more frequently, while newer models sometimes include brine tank monitors and regenerate more efficiently based on demand.
Adding more salt to your water softener’s brine tank as needed allows the regeneration process to proceed effectively. An adequate supply of salt produces an appropriate brine solution for regenerating the resin beads.
No matter how you manage your schedule, it’s important to ensure that regeneration is able to proceed successfully and without interruption. Maintaining a routine that allows you to acquire the necessary amount of salt on time allows you to:
- Avoid water hardness issues
- Observe your water softener for maintenance needs
- Continue to use the correct kind of salt for your system
We’ll explore each of these points in greater detail below.
Hard Water Issues
Without a sufficient supply of salt in the brine tank, water softeners cannot execute an optimal regeneration. That means softening capacity isn’t fully restored, so hard water will continue to flow through the taps in your household, causing a variety of problems. When your water softener doesn’t have the ability to regenerate, your home will revert back to its old challenges with hard water, resulting in problems that range from unsightly streaks and stains on fixtures and dishes to buildup in pipes and more.
Unpleasant Effects of Hard Water for Your Personal Well-Being
Hard water can impact your hair, skin and nails. When you bathe or wash your hands in water that’s high in concentrations of hardness minerals, you may find it difficult to work up a lather and rinse the soap off completely. Additionally, hard water can leave your hair and skin feeling dry and cause your nails to become thin or discolored. Having enough water softener salt in the brine tank at all times helps stop these issues in their tracks.
Cleaning Challenges Associated With Hard Water
Ineffective cleaning is a hallmark of hard water. You may end up spending more money on soap and detergent, but you could still have trouble getting your home, dishes and clothes clean. Hard water also means that iron stains may linger longer on fixtures. Make sure you have uninterrupted soft water available throughout your household in order to avoid unsightly buildup and to keep your cleaning regimen going strong.
Water Hardness and Damage to Water-Using Appliances
Because of hard water, water-using appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher may be negatively affected by mineral buildup in pipes and plumbing. This can be a very costly concern that definitely pales in comparison to keeping enough salt on hand or scheduling regular deliveries. Water softeners, when properly maintained, help correct this issue, extending the lifespan of appliances throughout your home.
The Benefits of Periodic Maintenance Checks
Adhering to a regular and timely schedule for refilling your water softener’s brine tank also gives you the opportunity to conduct maintenance checks on the appliance. Professional salt delivery services can be bundled with additional support from skilled technicians who can help you get the highest performance possible from your water softener.
Handling Salt Bridges and Mushing
As you inspect your brine tank to decide whether you need to add more salt, be on the lookout for signs of salt bridging and mushing.
- Bridging: This condition is most likely to happen with solar salt. It occurs when salt in the brine tank cakes or otherwise adheres into a large mass. It may look like your brine tank is full, when in fact, a salt bridge is covering up an empty space. When this happens, your brine solution will not achieve the proper salt concentration for effective regeneration.
- Mushing: This issue is more likely to occur with pellet salt. Similar to bridging, mushing can cause clogs at the bottom of the brine tank. Likewise, this problem will lead to poor regeneration, resulting in hard water exiting the softener.
Mushing and bridging require basic maintenance and some thorough cleaning in order to restore your water softener to peak operating condition. Monitoring for these issues as you replenish your brine tank’s salt supply on a regular basis can help keep your water soft.
Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Water Softener
Regular maintenance will ensure your water softener lasts as long as possible. Nevertheless, no appliance works forever. Eventually, it will be time to replace your water softener. With a watchful eye on your brine tank’s salt supply, you’ll be able to quickly spot the signs that it’s time to move on to a new appliance.
If you find yourself refilling your brine tank more or less frequently as time goes on — despite your usage patterns remaining relatively stable — it could be an indication that it’s time to replace your old water softener with a newer model.
Upgrading to a new water softener also provides you with an opportunity to purchase a system with key features like:
- Smart usage monitoring for salt
- Regeneration based on demand, not a set schedule
- Remote diagnostics delivered to a service provider
- Salt delivery through your new partner
Ensuring You Get the Right Kind of Water Softener Salt
Topping off your water softener’s brine tank on time means that you stay in the loop with the kind of salt you need for your particular appliance. When you fall behind, you may forget which brand or variety of water softener salt your family prefers. Scrambling around the store at the last minute can leave you more susceptible to picking up the wrong 40-pound bag, and that’s a heavy mistake.
Chemical Composition of Water Softener Salt Varieties
Common salt, or sodium chloride, is the most frequently used substance for water softeners. As an alternative, systems can use alternatives like potassium chloride, although this is a more expensive and lss efficient choice. Based on your personal preferences, as well as the capabilities of your water softener, you may decide that one or the other is the best option for your needs.
Water Softener Salt Forms
There are various types of water softener salt, from crystals and rock salt to high-quality salt pellets. Solar salt is the most common option. Purer forms, like pellets, may help keep your brine tank cleaner. You might also consider varieties of water softener salt that are formulated to help fight iron buildup and related problems within your water softening system and throughout your home.
Remembering which type of salt works best for your water softener needs can be difficult, considering all of the options that are available today. Making sure that you regularly refill your brine tank will help you keep your preferred salt in mind the next time you’re at the store. Even better, using a salt delivery service offers added convenience. Once you place your order, your provider will deliver your preferred water softener salt according to an agreed-upon schedule. You won’t even have to lug the bag home from the store.
Water Softener Salt Delivery Can Keep Soft Water Flowing
When it comes to refilling your water softener’s brine tank, falling behind can have an impact. Without adequate salt for regeneration, you’ll have to get by with hard water again, and that means problems for bathing and cleaning, as well as for the water-using appliances in your home. By staying on top of things, you’ll be able to monitor for maintenance issues like bridging and mushing, and you’ll know when it’s time to upgrade your system. You’ll also have no issue remembering which type of salt you should use, whether it’s pellets, crystals or a specialized formula for minimizing rust stains.
Make it easy to keep your water softener in good working order. Sign up for convenient water softener salt delivery today.
Does a Water Softener Remove Chlorine?
6 min read
Find A Location Near Me
Schedule Your Free
In-Home Water Test
Get better water in your home by scheduling an appointment with your local Culligan Water Expert.
See All Articles
What To Expect After Getting a Water Softener
Here’s what you’ll notice with your new softener and how to keep it working at its best.
6 min read