How Do You Know if Your Water Softener Requires Salt?

by Jay | Posted on December 22nd, 2022

Do you have hard water in your home? Are you wondering if you need to use salt in your water softener? If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll go over how to tell if your water softener requires salt and what kind of salt is best. Plus, we’ll provide tips on maintaining and extending your water softener’s life.

Signs That Your Water Softener Needs Salt

You may need to add salt to your water softener if you’re noticing a decrease in the effectiveness of your water softening system. This could include water that feels slimy or doesn’t rinse away soap or detergent as easily as it used to. It may also be that you’re running out of hot water faster than usual or that your laundry isn’t coming out as soft or bright as it should be. If you notice any of these signs, it is time to check the salt level in your brine tank.

an barrel of salt blocks for the softener

How do you know if your water softener requires salt?

Salt is a critical component of any water-softening system. Water softeners do not work without salt.

As a result, knowing when to add salt to a water softener is critical.

1. Inside the tank, the salt level is:

Lift the brine tank cover to check the salt level within the tank. If the brine tank is half-full and the salt solution appears to be dry, replace it with salt to the tank’s half-full level.

How to check the level of salt in your water softener

Checking the salt level in your water softener is simple. All you need to do is lift the brine tank’s lid and look inside. If the tank is less than half full, it’s time to add more salt. Additionally, you should check for any hardened salt blocks stuck to the sides of the tank that need to be removed. You can also check what type of salt you’re using in your system, whether it’s sodium chloride or potassium chloride. It’s important to ensure you’re adding the right type of salt for optimal performance.

2. Age of the water softener

The amount of salt used is also affected by the age of the water softener. For example, a water softener 9-10 years old may consume more salt than a fresh one. This is because older water softener systems are inefficient and require more salt.

3. Bridge problem (Salt Bridge):

When the salt level in the brine tank remains constant for a month, the condition is known as salt bridging or salt bridge. In this case, a hard crust forms in the brine tank, leaving an empty gap between the salt and the water.

This tough crust acts as a barrier between water and salt. Because salt cannot be adequately dissolved in water, it washes off the resin when low-concentration brine enters the water softener.

Because of the low concentration of brine softener resin, which is responsible for removing hardness from water, the system cannot function. The ion exchange method is used in water softening.

4. The bridging problem can be avoided if

Maintain your water softener in a low-humidity environment.

Only use high-quality salt.

Keep the brine tank half-full of salt.

When to add more salt

When adding more salt to your water softener, monitoring the salt level regularly is important. To determine your current salt level, simply lift the lid of the brine tank and have a look inside. If the tank is less than half full, it is time to add more salt.

We recommend adding a bag of salt every month. At the first of each month, check your brine tank, and you’ll be able to monitor your salt usage. If your water softener is a “pre-fill” model, then you should only refill the salt when it’s about ⅓ full. While at it, remove any hardened salt blocks stuck on the sides of the tank.

Tips for adding the right amount of salt

When adding the right salt to your water softener, there are a few things to remember.

  • First, make sure you’re using the right type of salt – either sodium chloride or potassium chloride. Your system may require one or the other, so check your owner’s manual or contact a professional if you’re unsure.
  • Second, only add salt when the tank is about one-third full. This will help ensure that there’s enough salt to form a brine solution and recharge the water softening media.
  • Finally, be sure to add a bag of salt every month to keep your system running at its best.

Regular Maintenance for Optimal Performance

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring that your water softener is working properly. Keeping your brine tank at the right salt level is just one part. You should also check the brine tank regularly for any blockages or hardening salt blocks and ensure that the salt you add is compatible with your water softener system.

The amount of salt you need to add depends on the type of system that you have and how much water your household uses. Generally, a bag of salt per month should suffice.

Additionally, you should ensure that the tank is never allowed to go below ⅓ full, as this will leave your system without enough salt to form a brine solution and recharge the water softening media. Regular water softener maintenance will keep it running optimally and help you get the most out of it.


Regular maintenance is key to keeping your water softener running efficiently and effectively. Checking the salt level every month and adding more when it’s less than ⅓ full will ensure that your system works as intended. Using the right type of salt for your system is important, and you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. With proper maintenance, your water softener will continue to provide you with soft, clean water for years to come.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."