What is the best type of salt to use in a water softener?

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What is the best type of salt to use in your water softener?

Deciding between the different types and brands of water softener salt can be confusing and your choice will influence:

  • how effectively your softener will regenerate
  • how often you will need to clean out your brine tank.
  • the amount of sodium that ends up in your soft water
  • the water softener 'total cost of ownership'
  • how often you'll need to clean your water softener injector
  • May not be compatible with your water softener.

 

Let's compare 4 popular kinds of salt and a popular salt alternative, remember all of the salts will work in virtually all water softeners except as noted and it does not matter what brand of water softener salt but the type of salt you are using.

Windsor Select Plus – Rock Salt - This is the cheapest and also the dirtiest salt.  All of the impurities in the salt will stay in the brine tank or get sucked into the water softener's injector.  You will need to clean out the brine tank and injector much more often if you use this salt, but it's far less likely to salt clog.  If you have a Viqua Sanitizer water softener, this is the only type of water softener salt that is compatible.

Windsor Rust Remover Pellets - These are designed for use with well water that has a high iron content and you don't have a dedicated iron filter. This salt has an additive that combats issues caused by iron & rust and can remove 15 times more iron than plain salt. Rust Remover also reduces rust build-up in your softener and helps your softener run more efficiently and last longer.  If your water softener is dealing with more than 1 ppm of iron this is your best choice.

Sifto Crystal Plus with Resin Clean - Sifto says this is a "high-purity compacted salt that keeps softener operating at peak efficiency. Proprietary Resin Clean additive extends the life of the water softener by cleaning the resin beads",  which I believe.  I do not like or recommend this salt, the problem is that this is the most likely salt to cause a salt clog, so if you decide to use this stuff, you will need to check out my video on how to remove a salt clog from your water softener at some point.

Windsor Potassium Chloride Salt Alternative - which is a sodium alternative to soften water. This product is 99% sodium-free, therefore reducing sodium levels in softened water and chlorides discharged into the environment. This product also provides the essential plant nutrient potassium to the ecosystem.  Sounds great but this product costs almost 4 times what water softener salt costs, is only 80% as efficient as salt and it also tends to salt clog.  If you really want to eliminate sodium from your softened water a Reverse Osmosis drinking water system is a much better way to remove all of the sodium and is a much more cost effective solution than using Potassium Chloride.

So what do I suggest?  Windsor System Saver II - These pellets are formulated to guarantee 99.7% pure salt which ultimately means you will not need to clean out the brine tank or injector for many years and due to the pellet design they are much less likely to salt clog.  It also has a water softener resin cleaner mixed in so you don't need to add it.   If you have less than 1 ppm of iron and don't have a Viqua Sanitizer water softener this is your best choice.  If you have more than 1 ppm of iron get the Rust Remover salt for your family.

If you're not sure how much salt should be in your brine tank, you can check that out in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3TpdeNX58E

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  • Gary Beutler