Updated: April 16, 2021 by Zac Harding
If you’ve recently purchased a water softening system for your home like the ones mentioned here, then we’re sure that you’ll be wondering how often you’ll need to replace the salt currently held within its brine tank.
Water softener salt can be sold in a variety of forms, with the most common and easily accessible being in the style of a block. This salt plays a very important role in the overall running of your water softener and will help to keep the system effective.
If you’re on the search to discover how long salt blocks will last, then you’re in the right place. Below, we’re going to be answering this question, as well as any other burning questions you may have about your water softener system. Read on!
What Is a Water Softener?
Before we jump into the main part of this article, we’ll first begin by taking a look at what it is that a water softener actually does!
To simplify, a water softener works to remove minerals that create water hardness, which is one of the most common problems water-drinkers and homeowners have to deal with. Not only does water hardness affect the taste, but it also can damage appliances, as well as cause dryness in the hair and skin.
Ultimately, a water softener will not only help to keep your water soft, but will also minimize the chances of you needing to replace ruined appliances such as boilers, faucet heads, and soapy residue-covered pipes.
A water softener will also help to keep your water tasting good, all while ensuring that bathing or showering won’t dry out your skin.
So, in other words, investing in a water softener will save you money, all while protecting your home and family.
Why Are Salt Blocks Used in Water Softeners?
The traditional water softener uses salt to do its job. Your water softener relies on a brine mixture that will help to keep the resin beads, which are the part of the system that removes the hard minerals, charged, and working effectively.
After you have added a block of salt, the water will begin to be softened within the resin tank, in which ion exchange will begin to remove hardness ions like calcium and magnesium out of the water. This unique extraction process consists of swapping out the hardness ions for sodium ions, which are a softer type of salt.
While this extraction process is happening, the resin beads within the resin tank will become heavily saturated with the hardness ions. After a while, these ions will stop working and no longer be charged.
However, in order to ensure that the regeneration process is a successful one, it’s imperative that your system is kept topped up with water softener salt.
This is because, while the resin beads are busy handling the hardness ions, salt ions will help to ‘clean’ the resin beads, effectively disposing of the hardness ions in the process so that they do not become regenerated.
It is important to note that there are more recent innovations in water softeners that do not use this technology and use minerals other than salt, or don’t use any chemicals altogether. The debate is ongoing as to which type of water softener is better.
How Much Salt Should There Be in a Brine Tank?
The amount of salt you keep inside your brine tank will greatly depend on the size of the tank you have.
On average, though, we recommend that you keep your brine tank at least one-quarter full of salt at all times, ensuring that the salt level is maintained 4-6 inches below the top of the brine tank in order to ensure maximum regeneration efficiency.
In addition to this, before you add any new blocks of salt to the tank, we recommend first taking the time to scrape and clean away any salt that has become stuck to the sides, as this can negatively affect the water softening process.
How Long Will Salt Blocks Last in Water Softeners?
Generally speaking, as long as you take proper care of your salt blocks and follow the correct steps, then your salt blocks should last a very long time.
On average, you will typically find that you’ll need to replace your salt block every 6 to 8 weeks, though this is very much dependent on how large your household is, and how much water you go through.
The rate of use is also very heavily dependent on your particular water softener configuration, as well as your local water hardness level.
Of course, despite the fact that your salt block should last you for around 2 months, we still recommend carrying out weekly check-ups.
Not only will you gain a familiar understanding of your personal water circumstances, but you will also be able to track how often your system is regenerating itself.
As a side note, if you happen to notice a thick sludge forming around the inner walls of your brine tank, you should immediately take action and remove it, as this could be a sign of salt bridging.
Though this is a very common occurrence and easily rectified, it is one that should be taken seriously as it is an accumulation of salt build-up that will prevent the regeneration process from being carried out properly.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of this buildup is by, believe it or not, boiling a kettle with hot water and then pouring it directly over it so that it is able to break down.
So, there you have it!
Now that you know how long salt blocks will (on average) last in a water softener, you’ll now be able to more effectively gauge how much salt your particular water softener will need, as well as how often you’ll need to top it up.
To do this, all you’ll need to do is take into consideration your area’s water hardness rate, how many people live within your household, and, of course, how much water you use.
It’s as simple as that! Why not give this page a bookmark? That way, you’ll always know where we are if you need a refresh.
Thank you for reading.