How to Maintain a Water Softener Brine Tank
Salt (or brine solution) is a necessary part of the ion exchange process in a water softener. Salt is what regenerates the ion resins of a softener. So we thought it would be helpful to tackle a few of the commonly asked questions associated with maintaining a brine tank (the plastic tank that sits next to a water softener).
Here we go:
#1. How often should I have to add salt?
Water softeners and conditioners work effectively with either sodium chloride (commonly referred to as salt) or potassium chloride (actually a type of salt also). How often you’ll have to add more salt to the brine tank will depend on factors such as:
- The size of your brine tank
- How hard the water is in your area
- How many people live in your house
- And how much water your household consumes
For example, a larger family will most likely consume more water which will cause your softener to regenerate more frequently, and thus more salt will need to be added more often. Fortunately, the valve control panel on most water softeners and conditioners will do all of the calculations for you regarding when to regenerate. You’ll just need add the salt as it gets used up.
#2. How much salt should I have in my brine tank?
We recommend keeping your brine tank at least one quarter full of water softener salt at all times, and no more than four to six inches below the top of the tank for optimum efficiency.
Make sure that the salt level always remains a few inches above the water level. And before you add new salt pellets to the brine tank, be sure to loosen up any encrusted salt that may be sticking to the edges of the tank and make sure to break up any large pieces of salt.
If the salt has formed one solid mass (known as bridging), manually break up the salt block by pouring hot water over it—making it easier to break up and remove.
#3. How much salt should my water softener use?
How salt is used depends on water usage and system size. If a softener is sized correctly, a residential system will use approximately ten pounds of salt per week, or 40-50 pounds of salt per month.
Be sure to check your salt and water levels at least once each month.
#4. There is always water in my brine tank, should there be? If so, how much?
There will usually be several gallons of water in the bottom of the brine tank, but usually is never more than twelve inches high.
We recommend that you check the salt level in your brine tank at least monthly. The more often your system regenerates, the more you’ll need to check and add salt to the tank.
And for tips on how to clean a brine tank, we recommend you read WaterTech’s blog post: How to Clean a Water Softener Brine Tank.
Think Your Home May Need a Water Softener?
Want to find out the hardness level of your water? An authorized WaterTech dealer can provide you with a free home water test.