Adding water softener salt to the brine tank is essential to create a negative charge on the resin media beads to make an ion-exchange. During the regeneration cycle, the hard mineral ions are flushed away, and a fresh layer of salt ions is added to continue the process. The brine tank is the plastic tank that’s usually located next to the water softener equipment. New water softener owners can be confused by this process and the maintenance requirements of the equipment. In this article, we will answer three FAQs about brine tank maintenance.

1.  When Do I Add Salt?

This is a tricky question to answer because there are a number of factors that can affect the frequency that water softening salt is required:

  • The number of people living in the home.
  • The hardness of your incoming water supply.
  • The daily volume of water consumption.
  • The size of the brine tank.

As an example: A large family will consume more water, and this will require more frequent water regeneration cycles, which use more water softener salt.

To make this process easier, there is a control valve panel on the water softener that can perform the regeneration calculations. Modern systems are demand-initiated, and older systems may use a timer. In both cases, the regeneration takes place at night when there is less demand for soft water because people are asleep. Simply add the water softener salt to the brine tank as it’s used, and there should be no problems.

2.  How Much Salt Do I Add?

The brine tank should be kept at least a quarter full of water softener salt. The salt levels should not be more than 4-6” below the top of the tank to maintain efficiency. The salt needs to be a few inches below the water line, and before new salt is added, any crusty salt should be loosened into the brine tank. Large pieces of salt can be broken up with a long blunt object, such as a broom handle, to prevent damage. If a single mass of salt has formed, this is known as a salt bridge, and it can be broken apart with hot water and removed.

3.  What is the Average Salt Consumption?

The volume of salt consumed by a water softener is based primarily on the system size and the water consumption. It’s important to have a water softener that’s sized properly to meet the needs of your home. This is a good reason to avoid DIY installations and cheaper water softeners that are available in big box stores. A water softener that is sized correctly should consume around 10 lbs of salt per week. The salt and water levels in the brine tank should be checked every 1-2 weeks. Water softening salt can be sodium chloride or potassium chloride based for people that are sensitive to salt.

If you want to install a water softener in your home or your existing system requires essential maintenance, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.