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A Deep Dive into Water Softener Salts – A Comprehensive Review

In a world flooded with myriad types of water softener salts, making an informed choice can be overwhelming. This article aims to simplify your decision, offering a thorough examination of the most popular and effective salts available, and ensuring your water softener operates at its peak efficiency.

The ABCs of Water Softener Salt

Before delving into the intricacies of water softeners, it’s essential to decode the ‘why’ – the core reason necessitating this investment. The culprit is hard water, an unassuming yet potent element with an affinity for calcium and magnesium, causing the dreaded limescale.

The Genesis of Hard Water

Water softener salt is integral to the brine tank of a water softener, playing a pivotal role in regenerating resin beads which, in turn, facilitate the removal of hardness ions from water. Although it doesn’t directly soften water, it is a crucial agent that assists in this process.

A Walkthrough of Salt Varieties

1. Solar Salt:

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  • Source: Obtained from evaporated seawater, crystallized by the sun.
  • Pros: Highly soluble, dissolves rapidly, less prone to causing salt build-ups.
  • Best for: Systems suffering from frequent salt build-ups.

2. Evaporated Salt Pellets:

  • Source: Derived from raw salts that have been subjected to heat, removing all moisture.
  • Pros: Offers 100% purity, highly effective in treating hard water.
  • Best for: Those seeking a premium, highly effective salt option.

3. Rock Salt:

  • Source: Mined from underground salt deposits formed from soil erosion and other natural processes.
  • Pros: Affordable option, safe for continuous use.
  • Cons: Can lead to sediment build-up in the brine tank due to insoluble elements.
  • Best for: Budget-conscious users ready to manage potential sediment build-ups.

4. Potassium Chloride Pellets:

  • Source: Not a salt, but a healthy substitute for sodium-based salts.
  • Pros: A boon for those monitoring their sodium intake.
  • Cons: Can impact hypertensive patients.
  • Best for: Households with dietary sodium restrictions.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide:

  • Source: A chemical compound capable of softening water.
  • Pros: Also acts as a disinfectant, removing bacteria and germs.
  • Cons: Renders water too clean, potentially impacting taste.
  • Best for: Eco-conscious users focusing on water purity.

Spotlight on Culligan

Culligan stands out, offering a convenient softener salt delivery service, catering to a variety of brands and types, including:

  • Solar Extra Coarse Water Softener Salt
  • Solar Cubes Water Softener Salt

Pellets vs Crystals – The Showdown

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Softener Salt Pellets

Pros:

  • Less messy.
  • Suitable for most water softeners.
  • Food grade purity.
  • Tablet size means cheaper and easier to transport.

Cons:

  • Bulkiness can cause salt build up in machine.
water softener crystals

Softener Salt Crystals

Pros:

  • Dissolves faster so likely to cause salt build up in softener machine.
  • Suitable for most water softeners.
  • Food grade purity.

Cons:

  • Causes more mess if spilt.

Navigating Common Challenges

Salt Bridging:

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A common hurdle, salt bridging can hinder the efficiency of your water softener. Regular maintenance and cleaning can mitigate this issue.

The Rotten Egg Quandary:

A sulphurous odor in your soft water indicates either a high sulphur content or the presence of other contaminants. Regular flushing and cleaning of the tank or seeking professional assistance can resolve this issue.

The Silent Spectre of Salt Build-Up:

Occasionally, salt can accumulate into a solid mass, impairing the softening process. Regular inspection and maintenance can preemptively address this issue.

Maintenance – A Stitch in Time

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A well-maintained water softener is less prone to issues and ensures a consistent supply of soft water. Regular checks and cleaning, adherence to the manual’s guidelines, and annual professional inspections can ensure optimal performance and longevity of your system.

Professional Maintenance Cost:

Prices start at £59 in the UK and $100 in the US, varying depending on the machine’s complexity.

DIY Maintenance Steps:

  1. Use iron and salt remover.
  2. Only refill salt when the tank is nearly empty, and fill it up to two-thirds.
  3. Use ‘Iron-Out’ yearly to clean the resin bed and control valve.
  4. Clean the brine tank annually to eliminate contaminants.
  5. Opt for pure, quality salt for optimal performance.

Top Picks for Water Softener Salts

While a detailed review of specific brands and products exceeds the scope of this introductory overview, upcoming sections will delve deeper, offering insights and recommendations to guide your selection of the most suitable water softener salt for your specific needs and preferences.

Product

Best Features

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Evaporated Salt Pellets

  • Easy to scoop, no spills.
  • Made in the US
  • Easy and simple use kit.
  • Good customer reviews.
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Morton Rust Remover

  • Prevents rust.
  • Improves water taste.
  • Removes 15x more iron.

Iron-Out Purpose Rust Stain Remover

  • Rinses rust away without scrubbing.

  • Does not contain harsh or abrasive chemicals.

Rain Drops Water Softener

  • Soft water aids in the washing and rinsing process.
  • Works as a laundry booster.
  • Clothes come out cleaner, whiter and brighter.

Issues with Morton Softener Salt:

A reader reported finding small rubber pieces embedded in Morton salt pellets, which caused their softening system to malfunction. The repair technician attributed the malfunction to these rubber contaminants. The reader had used Morton’s salt for 40 years without problems but recently bought Morton’s Rust Remover salt, suggesting a potential issue with this specific product. When contacted, Morton requested batch information for investigation, which the reader couldn’t provide. Morton offered a small reimbursement for the salt but not for the repair costs.

Recommendations:

  1. Always retain product batch information for future reference.
  2. If using Morton, inspect salt for any anomalies.
  3. Consider diversifying salt brands to minimize potential issues.
  4. Report any issues to the manufacturer and consider raising awareness through consumer platforms.
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Rhino ® with Salt-Free Water Conditioner, UV Filter and Pro-Grade Bypass KitScreenshot 2023 11 24 at 11.58.10 AM
Treats hard water UP TO 25 ppm (low to medium low hard water). Treats hard water OVER 25 ppm (medium to extremely hard water).
Does NOT require electricity.Requires electricity if using the electronic head monitor.
Control Your System With An App:? NOControl Your System With An App:? YES
- Powerful salt-FREE water softener.
- 1,000,000 one million gallon capacity.
- Aquasana Rhino exceeds NSF standards.
- Treats hard water WITHOUT salt.
- Removes chlorine, bacteria, iron, sulfide, manganese, mercury, lead etc.
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings.
- 90-Day Pure Satisfaction Guarantee.
- Limited 10 year warranty.
- Powerful salt-BASED water softener.
- 1,000,000 one million gallon capacity.
- Also includes a multi-stage filter.
- Easy installation (inside or outside)
- Sufficient for 1-3 bathrooms (options for 4-6 and 7+ bathrooms also available).
- 6 month money back guarantee.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
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