What kind of rock salt should I be using?


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Old 10-03-07, 09:16 AM
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What kind of rock salt should I be using?

Hi-

I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago and my house came with a water softener as the town water we receive is quite hard (so they tell me). Anyway, for the past several years, I've been using the Morton's rock salt (pea sized, jagged edges, the light blue bag they sell at Home Depot) and it kind of dawned on me that I don't know why I'm using this type of rock salt nor do I know if it is what I should be using with my softener. My Father-in-Law's guy who services his softener uses the "yellow bag" Home Depot salt, which has grains that are much larger and smoother- about the size of those crescent type ice cubes some refrigerators make (same city water). Further, he uses less than a bag of the stuff per month, while I need to use 2-3 bags per month. Is that normal?

Question: What type of rock salt should I be using?
 
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Old 10-03-07, 11:37 AM
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I'd bet the rock salt is not marked for water softeners. May not even be safe for human consumption. When I had a water softener, I used the yellow bag water softener salt from Lowes, probably same stuff at Home Depot.
 
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Old 10-03-07, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ualdriver View Post
Question: What type of rock salt should I be using?
Click URL for softening salt FAQ http://softeningsalt.com/page2.html
 
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Old 10-03-07, 01:47 PM
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Softener Salt

Softener salt is generally available in five different physical forms:-

Granular Salt
Rock Salt
Pellet Salt
Cube Salt
Solid Block

They all have advantages and disadvantages.
The smaller pieces (large surface area available per volume) dissolve more quickly (this is good on tank fill first systems), but are also far more likely to bridge (bridging is bad).

I care more about the purity of the salt than the physical form though.

In my experience, rock salts are usually dirtier (end-users clean muddy sludge from their salt tanks more frequently) than pellet salts, so I recommend pellet salt whenever economically feasible. Cube salt is also fine, but retailers charge too much of a premium in most regions for it to be viable for average users.

In a perfect world, pellet salt usually is the best balance of efficiency. Pellet salt can sometimes have issues when the chemical binder degrades and a "mush" is formed in the brine tank. This "mush" has the consistency of thick mud and is almost impossible to remove from the tank without physical intervention. I haven't seen mushing occur with pellet salt in recent years though.

My $0.02
 
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Old 10-03-07, 01:50 PM
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Thanks guys for all the responses. It seems like just about any type will do, then. I'll have to admit that I haven't seen pellets. I'll have to look for those.
 
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Old 10-04-07, 04:46 AM
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Your higher useage rate may be more a factor of make/model of softener and how it's set for regeneration, etc. than the type of salt.
 
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Old 10-04-07, 01:31 PM
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Another thing to determine is whether or not your softener uses a soft or hard water brine solution. If your softener uses soft water for brining, then using a 'dirty' salt is not recommended.

Twin tank softeners use soft brine AND soft water for regeneration. Always use a high quality salt for these units.

Rock salt is basically mined salt and bagged. It may have gone through some minor cleansing process but it usually has up to 2 pounds of contaminates for every hundred pounds. This will add up and service calls will be up and coming.

Let you salt tank run down a bit and notice teh clarity of the water and see if possible the bottom is covered with dirty substances. Empty the tank and clean it out. Use quality salt after that.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
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Old 10-04-07, 01:35 PM
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Thanks guys. I will.
 
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Old 10-04-07, 02:00 PM
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Wink

Just get the yellow bag with pellets . Any of the small stuff can and will bridge over on you in the tank.
 
 

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