Salt Level & Brine concentration / saturation

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Steveo1966, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. Steveo1966

    Steveo1966 New Member

    Jan 11, 2020
    Bolton, ON
    I generally keep the salt level in my Clack WS1 unit above the water level which is recommended. However, every couple years, I like to run the salt down to near empty to make sure there is no bridging and also clean out any sediment from the brine tank. Currently the water level is probably 10 inches or so above the salt level, and there may be 8 inches or so of salt. I do have my unit set to post fill the brine tank, so the water sits in there for quite a while (usually a couple weeks) between regens. My question is will this brine water still get to the same level of salt concentration/saturation (but just take longer) as compared to having the salt level above the water level?

    I believe this is the main reason for keeping the salt level above the water level, or are there others?

    By the way, I believe this head meters the water into the brine tank vs using a float? There is a float but it is way higher in the brine tank then the water level.

  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    The concern is stratification. The salty water is denser. The not-salty water is lighter. If you were to tilt the fill so that some salt is above water, the stratification should not occur.

    I think during your use-up-the-salt period, if you were to stir the liquid a time or two, that would overcome stratification. Another thing I was thinking is if you took a piece of 4 inch PVC/ABS pipe, puts holes or thin slots as high as the brine can go, and filled that with salt in the brine tank, that would let you avoid stratification and still draw down the salt level. I am not a pro. Just an idea.

    You are correct.
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  4. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    The maximum brine concentration is 3 lbs salt per 1 gallon water. While salt will rapidly dissolve to create sufficient strength brine within about an hour, most softeners using sodium chloride as a regenerant are typically configured so Brine Fill will occur during the final stage of regeneration. As most modern residential softener installations are typically sized to provide sufficient capacity for several days usage, there will be ample time between regeneration cycles for salt to dissolve so the resulting brine will be fully saturated.

    The purpose of the float and valve within the brine tank for your installation, is as a safety device. This is to prevent the brine tank from overflowing if there should be a malfunction with the control valve, or a loss of power during the Brine Fill cycle.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  5. Steveo1966

    Steveo1966 New Member

    Jan 11, 2020
    Bolton, ON
    Perfect, thanks for your detailed explanation on stratification and answers to my questions. Your PVC idea is a good one, and I so happen to have a length of 4" PVC weeper with the holes along the bottom and I could just drill some more. Or I could just be less lazy, and hand bail all the salt out into a couple buckets to clean the tank and then refill. :)

    Thanks again!
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