The two main types are solar salt and pellet salt. Pellet salt is 99 percent pure and in some cases is cleaner than solar salt.
For a cabinet-style (one-piece) unit we recommend pellet salt, as solar salt can sometimes form a bridge at the top of the tank, blocking the water from reaching the salt. For all two-piece softening units (brine tank on side) we recommend solar salt.
Salt usage varies widely and depends on your water usage, your equipment and your city’s level of hardness. On average, a residential softener will use 50-80 lbs. of salt each month. It’s a good idea to check in on your softener’s salt levels once a month.
For most softening units it is normal to have a little bit of water in the bottom of the salt tank. When the water level rises above the salt it is time for your next salt delivery. Excessive water in the tank (one half full or more) is not normal, and may indicate a problem with the water softener.
Some units, such as those produced by GE and Sears, are dry salt storage units and should not have water in the tank. If you have a GE or Sears unit and there is water in your salt tank your softener may need a repair.
Yes. Although it is unnecessary to keep a tank chock full to the top at all times, there should always be salt visible at the water line. If you see water, then it’s time to add more salt. 🙂
A little gray foam is nothing to worry about (especially if you aren’t experiencing hard water). If you use solar salt, the dust you may see in the salt or the tank is natural and completely normal; it will NOT harm your system. The water in your home only passes through the softener–not the brine tank where salt is stored.
Yes. Don’t sweat it if you accidentally purchase the wrong type of salt or switch to another type! Softener salt will not damage your equipment. In fact, the water softener itself can’t tell what kind of salt is going into it! We recommend solar salt for two-piece systems and pellet salt for one-piece systems simply to maximize salt usage efficiency, but it is not required.