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How to Add Salt to a Water Softener? Here’s What To Do

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

how to add alt to a water softener

While putting salt in water softener is not an intricate job, many homeowners still fail to do it properly. Asking yourself how much salt you should use and how often you should add it are two significant variables in maintaining water softening systems.

They need an adequate amount of salts to eradicate hard water problems efficiently. In this article, I’ll be discussing a handful of guides on how to add salt to a water softener. Are you ready? Let’s check them out!

Table of Contents

How to Properly Add Salt to the Brine Tank?

To put salt in a water softener requires minimal effort. In other words, you don’t need any special tools to do it! All you have to use is your bare hands and a bag of salt to perform this quick and easy 2-step task :

  • The first thing you need to do is simply locate the brine tank.
  • Remove the lid, and use water softener salt to refill it.

Regeneration should begin once the resin bed gets filled up with hard minerals. In this process, the water softener will flush out the hard minerals and automatically start the ion exchange process.

How Much Salt Does a Water Softener Need

Water softeners can make our life convenient if we conduct regular inspections of the salt supply. One of the typical mistakes most homeowners commit when regenerating a water softener is that they fail to maintain an optimal salt level. Too much salt can cause a salt bridge, which leads to malfunction.

To keep your device working at its maximum efficiency, you have to ensure that your brine tank is one-quarter full of salts at all times, and the salt level should be 4-6 inches below the top of the tank. If the salt content falls short of the required level, you will need to add more salt.

Without a sufficient salt supply, your water softener will misbehave and won’t deliver the expected performance. If your unit is sized and programmed appropriately, you will most likely use 40-50 pounds of salt monthly.

Typically, the amount of salt to fill the water softener with depends on the following: water usage, water quality, and resin capacity. For instance, a family of four with 7-10 grains per gallon of water hardness will probably use approximately 9-10 pounds of salt per week.

You should regulate the use of salt per regeneration cycle. You should only use about 6-8 pounds of salt, depending on the size of your brine tank. Please take note that the harder the water, the more salt is needed.

What to Do After Adding Salt to Water Softener

Make sure to check the brine tank regularly. It can be prone to various problems such as foamy buildups, poor brine flows, crooked or broken brine float switches, clogged lines/valves, and many more.

Always observe the salt level and make sure that at least 1/4 of the tank is full of salt (or half full if you can’t see how much water is inside your brine tank). Once you get used to this habit, it will help you get an uninterrupted supply of soft water throughout your home.

It is also a must to check the size of the brine tank as it will help you decide the appropriate salt amount based on it.

Which Type of Water Softener Salt Should You Use


Sodium Chloride

This salt is widely used in the food industry for flavoring the chips that we eat for snacks. Sodium chloride often comes in three different forms: Pellet Salt, Block Salt, and Granular Salt.

Pellet salts are compacted into a small pellet or cube form. They are commonly used in domestic and commercial water softeners. Moreover, salt pellets are known to soften water more efficiently than other types. Solar salt (99.6 % pure) and evaporated salt pellets (100 % pure) have higher purity rates than most specialty salt products.

Block salts are a highly pure form of water-softening salts. These salts are specially formulated to be extremely dense to get the maximum salt autonomy period possible. It simply means that you won’t have to refill salts too often.

They also have anti-caking agents that prevent bridging and mushing. However, they don’t dissolve well unless submerged in water completely. Hence, they should only be used in water softeners that are post-fill or can be modified to operate as post-fill. This will allow a good deal of time to dissolve the salt completely.

Granular Salts or Granulated Salts are typically used for many commercial and industrial water softening systems. They work best with older water softeners. Since these salts are loose, you may need to replace salt in the water softener more frequently.

Potassium Chloride

Some homeowners switch to potassium chloride pellets because they don’t contain salt. It means that potassium is used to displace hard minerals and replace them with potassium rather than salt in your household water.

Potassium chloride is a naturally occurring mineral that is essential for our body to function normally. It plays a pivotal role in regulating our nerve signals and muscle contractions. This water softener salt is preferable to people who are generally conscious about their overall sodium intake.

What Happens if Your Water Softener Runs Out of Salt?

We all know that too much of anything is detrimental. But what if your salt tank runs out of salt for a long time? It could mean nothing but a total inconvenience for you and your family.

If you forget to top off your softener, resin beads will become saturated with hard minerals, hence, reducing their overall softening capacity. Here are some of the harmful consequences :

  • The hard water coming out from your unit leaves white and streaky stains on any surfaces it touches (e.g. plumbing fixtures, glassware, and kitchenware)
  • Your brine tank could overflow. Typically, softener models utilize one safety valve that controls the amount of brine refill water. The absence of salt could get this valve “confused”, and the brine float will not be able to prevent water from entering inside the tank. Hence, overflowing occurs.
  • Without salt, hard water can’t be softened. Hence, hard minerals can enter your home, causing premature failure to pipelines and water-using appliances (e.g. washing machine, water heater, dishwasher etc.).
  • The control valve is charged with hard minerals, reducing its efficiency in creating the brine cycle suction.


Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot about how to add salt to a water softener system; it will be easier for you to recharge your unit next time and enjoy an unlimited soft water supply! Knowing the proper salt refilling process gives you the advantage of doing minor tank maintenance all by yourself.

Always remember that you have two options for water-softening salts: sodium and potassium chloride. Adding salt to your water softener should never be a frustration. Follow the regular water softening unit maintenance to determine how much salt you need for proper regeneration.

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