Softener ?'s When, Where, and how high do I add salt?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by dgold, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. dgold

    dgold Product R&D for a powertool manufacturer

    Carlsbad, CA
    Moved into a new home a few months ago with a well and water softening system. There's a brine tank, and what appears to be two softening tanks both with timers on top. One of the tanks has a line labeled "add salt" and when I put a flashlight to it, I can tell that it's low.

    Do I add salt to the brine tank, to the softening tank, or both? And how high?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    As far as salt goes there are many different types and it mostly depends as to what type to where you live.

    Different salt companies use different salt additives. The salt with the least amount of additives is the best way to go. You can get salt blocks and salt chips that are 99.9% salt. Most of the pellets have a higher parentage of additives.

    You should see an overflow tube on the side of the brine tank. I would fill the tank to about ¾ to the over flow. Depending on the maker of the system and how much water you use (who often the softener runs) depends on how often you should add salt.

    My softener will run ever 4 nights no matter if it needs to or not. 40 lbs of salt chips will last me 5 to 7 cycles. Witch for me is about 2 weeks. Mine will hold about 100 lbs of salt chips. Depending on how hard your water is and where it is coming form you should use the power clean about every 2 months for a few days. The power clean will run every night to help with the buildup that can accrue in the resin tank.

    This is just basic information and personal experience. You should refer to your owner’s manual. Block salt can sometimes be cheaper. You would need to contact a farmer’s feed store for this. But it needs to be 99.9% salt. For salt blocks you should scoop out all the slat and brine (salt water) stack your salt blocks so there is a lot so surface area and add you old salt and brine back in.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Salt does not have additives, the quality depends on how many impurities are left in it, which is most cases is very few. You can add as much salt as you want, and as long as the water is not visible, (in most cases and depending on the designed water level), you have enough salt. If it does not appear to be using salt after a period of time you have to agitate the salt to make sure it has not hardened into a dome underneath where you cannot see it.
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You probably have a softener and a filter, probably a backwashed only filter since there are three tanks.

    The salt/brine tank has a lid on it, remove it and you can see the level of salt in the tank. If there's no salt you should see water in the tank. There may be a false bottom/salt grid in the tank. If the line "add salt" is on a resin tank, it may be due to brine tanks not accepting a line very well, but you'd never add salt to a resin tank.

    I strongly suggest not filling a salt tank. Add a bag or two of salt and check the level each week and you'll never let it run out. Running out of salt is not good for a softener.
  5. dgold

    dgold Product R&D for a powertool manufacturer

    Carlsbad, CA
    Dumb me

    It didn't say "add salt" as I originally posted, and it's not the softener tank, it's the acid neutralizer, and it just says "refill" about halfway up the tank.

    So perusing the internet, it sounds like I may need to add calcite to the acid neutralizer tank.

    I also bought a bag of "system saver 2" salt from HD and dropped it into the brine tank, since the water level is several inches above the top of the salt, and I've read several places that the salt level should be higher than the water level.

    Thanks to everyone for their responses, and especially to Mr. Love... this board is an incredible and invaluable resource.

  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I see. Yes an AN filter requires adding mineral from time to time but... you have to know what type of mineral; straight calcite or mixed bed calcite and corrosex. You also have to know how much to add.

    Having water over the salt .... In certain cases it will always be over the salt; and in most softeners, the more salt the higher the water... High water usually indicates a problem. Adding salt at that time could cause the water to over flow onto the floor. It can also cause bridging of the salt. You should find out if the water level is correct or not; does the water level go down during regeneration?
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