When should I add salt to the water softener?

water softener salt brine tankAdd more salt when there is 6″ or less in the bottom of the brine tank.

A good habit to get into is to fill the brine tank to the very top, then let the salt level get down to near the very bottom before adding any more. By doing it this way, you’ll avoid maintenance issues that arise when the salt clumps together into a hard mass.

Over the years of servicing all the different makes and models of softeners, one of the most common problems we see is when a homeowner constantly adds salt to the tank to keep it full.

Although they had good intentions – “I didn’t want it to ever run out” – this habit can actually lead to problems.

When salt is constantly added and the tank never gets a chance to run low, what can happen is:

– the salt in the middle gets hard

– the water flows around this hard salt & dissolves the loose salt on top

– the water level in the tank eventually gets higher and higher until…

– you have a flood of salty water as it flows over the top.

Inside most of the brine tanks there is a plastic tube that protects the brine wand. This tube, which is often referred to as the brine well, either has holes drilled in it near the bottom or a series of slits that have been cut. These openings allow the water from the brine wand to move in and out of the area with the salt.

If the salt gets hard, it can block these openings off. If that happens, the water softener will not get enough of a brine solution to clean properly and you’ll quickly have hard water again. If your installation did not include a safety float in the brine well – you could have a small flood.

Here’s another article – How often should I clean out the salt tank?