Most people simply accept the water which comes out of their tap.
It has been cleaned by the local water board and is certified as safe to drink.
However, you may not have realized that there is more to your water than this!
Are You A Fan of Soft or Hard Water?
You may never have considered this question. But, if you have moved recently then you might have noticed that soft water reacts differently to hard water.
The difference is not in the look or color, it is in its ability to provide lather; create lime scale and even affect your health. You can find out more about the disadvantages of soft water here.
If you are hoping to get a good lather or avoid lime scale then you need to choose one of the best water softeners available.
But, there is more to it than purchasing a water softener and adding it into your water supply system.
Can I Just Add Salt to a Water Softener?
You will need to add salt to a water softener regularly to ensure it works properly and provides you with the soft water you desire.
To do this properly you should follow a set of procedures; this will ensure you capture any issues before they cause a failure of your water softener.
How the water Softener Works
Hard water is full of magnesium and calcium and the best way to remove these chemicals and soften the water is to add sodium. The best water softeners actually consist of two tanks.
The hard water enters into a mineral tank. This has beads which are negatively charged. In contrast Calcium and Magnesium are positively charged. They will be attracted to the beads and stick to them.
To avoid the beads becoming saturated they are periodically flushed through a brine tank. This is water with household salt in it. The salt is also positively charged.
The volume of brine will force the magnesium and calcium off the beads; leaving them free to collect more. The brine water is flushed out of the system. Fresh water enters and mixes with the salt you have added to resume the cycle.
Time to Salt the Water!
There are several stages to ensure you complete the adding salt to your water softener properly:
If you open the lid of the brine tank you should be able to see the salt. If your system is working at peak efficiency then the salt should, at the least, be at the halfway stage in your tank.This should keep it approximately three inches above the water level in the tank.It is worth noting that if salt starts to cling to the sides of the tank then you need to reduce the amount of salt you add to the water softener.
- The Salt
All salt is not made the same although any can be used in your water softener.It is best to use evaporated salt. This has all the impurities removed but is the most expensive type of salt. At the other end of the scale rock salt is far cheaper to purchase but the impurities present in it will mean your tank needs regular cleaning.Your decision will probably be based upon the budget you have available.
- Salt Bridges
You may be surprised to know that salt can crystallize and form into a bridge. In fact, this is a barrier on top of the water and will stop your salt from merging with the water and creating a strong enough brine solution.
The issue will become obvious very quickly as the water coming out of your taps will harden.
To resolve this you need to break up the bridge with a wooden spoon and then pour a little hot water on to it.
You can also use a little less salt and leave it longer before adding more salt.
Should You Clean the Tank?
A perfectly working system will only need to be cleaned once every five years! However, it is rare to find that all the parts of this particular equation are perfect!
You should clean the tank whenever the water starts to harden. This will be obvious as you will not achieve a good lather.
The first thing to do is shut off the valve to the tank. This will allow you to empty the tank. You can do this with a siphon, container or even a cloth!
Your tank should have a grid near the bottom which will need to be removed and cleaned. This is the brine platform and is where the salt sits. Do not lose it!
- Scrub the tank
You will need to wash the tank thoroughly and make it look like new again! You can use soapy water to do this although it is advisable to rinse it thoroughly afterwards.
You can then add ¼ cup of bleach to your tank; along with approximately eight liters of water. Once this has been mixed thoroughly then it will need to be left for fifteen minutes.This will ensure there are no bacteria or other microbes alive in your brine tank.
- Rinse Again
You now need to thoroughly rinse the tank again to ensure all the bleach and water is gone.Do not forget to put the brine tray back in.Once this has been completed you can refill the tank with fresh water and add the correct amount of salt.As per the above instructions; it should be three inches above the water line.
It is simple to add salt to a water softener; if you know how! These instructions will ensure your water remains soft and your softener works for many more years to come!