Why Does My Water Softener Need Salt?

Water softener owners are often surprised to learn how important salt is in the water softening process. Salt must be regularly added in order for the water softener to produce enough soft water to meet household needs. This often leaves some homeowners concerned about the amount of salt in softened water and whether or not it is healthy to consume. Let’s look at how water softeners use salt and what effect salt has on your home’s water.

The Dynamic Duo of Resin and Salt

The WaterBoss water softener uses a combination of resin and salt to remove hardness from your water. Small, round resin beads are packed in a “bed” inside the tank of the water softener. The resin beads are pre-charged with a coating of sodium ions which naturally hold a positive charge. The resin beads cause the hard water elements, like calcium and magnesium, to stick to the resin in a process called ion exchange.

The heavy brine mixture, or saltwater, is created by adding salt to your water softener. This brine mixture is used during a process called regeneration. During regeneration, the salt-water displaces the calcium and magnesium ions allowing them to wash down the drain instead of flowing through your pipes and appliances. It then covers your resin beads with sodium ions once again allowing them to attract the hard water minerals and start the process over.

So, How Much Salt Ends Up in My Water?

The average person drinks about a quart of water per day. If that water is coming from a properly functioning water softener, it contains 75 to 100 mg of sodium. If this seems high, consider these amounts in common diet items (according to calorieking.com):

  • One slice of multi-grain bread contains 109 mg
  • 8 ounces of almond milk contains 150 mg
  • One slice of cheddar cheese contains 174 mg

Though a water softener does add sodium to the water you drink, the amounts are pretty insignificant. However, a drinking water filter can be added to a home’s treatment system to help remove salt after the softening process.

To learn more about how to find your most effective water solutions, contact WaterBoss, your soft water experts.