What Type of Salt Should I Use In My Water Softener

There are lots of different types of water softener salt available on the market and we get lots of questions about which brand or type should be used in our softeners. It's important to note that we get this question from two groups of customers.

First, we get asked this question from new water softener customers, many of whom have never had a softener. Second, we get this question from people who have owned a water softener for a while and are asking us about which salt to use because they've having a performance issue with their softener and they think it might have to do with the salt they're using.

Poor water softener performance almost never has to do with the type of salt being used

In our experience, there are really only two groupings of salt that a customer needs to consider, at least as it relates to softeners purchased from Aquatell: sodium-based salt or potassium-based salt.

Sodium-based salt is "normal" salt. It's what 99% of softener owners use in their machines. It can be found as solar salt, pellets, nodules, and crystals. Our general rule of thumb is that if you can find it for sale in a store, in a bag, and it's advertised for use in a softener then it will work great. And we don't see a heck of a lot of difference in performance from one brand or form to another. The only sodium-based salt to avoid is unprocessed rock salt (aka road salt). It's dirty and will leave muck on the bottom of your brine tank over time.

Potassium-based salt is a much more expensive product that you will see for sale in some places. It too will be advertised as a water softener salt. People may choose to use potassium-based salt then they don't want their soft water to contain an elevated level of sodium. This may be for human health concerns, or they want to water plants that may be sensitive to sodium, or they may have a unique septic system that doesn't do well with sodium. Potassium-based softener salt works well with all of our systems but is only necessary in a very limited number of cases and it's our opinion that it's generally not worth the 5X price tag.

Never use salt in a softener that is not advertised for use in water softeners. Never use ice-melter salt, salt licks, or anything else that doesn't explicitly say it is intended for use in residential water softeners.

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