Category: Water Softeners & Iron Filters

Homeowner refiling water softener salt.

Maintaining Your Water Softener’s Performance

Unfortunately, your water softener doesn’t come with a check engine light when it’s time for a tune-up. The state of your water softener lies in your hands, but don’t worry, we have a cheat sheet. Continue reading our blog for water softener maintenance tips to keep your system in great shape.

Check Salt Levels

Correct salt levels will keep your water soft and your unit functioning well. The salt should fill up about half of the tank and be approximately three inches above the water level. For exact levels for your unit, refer to your water softener manual. A great rule of thumb for any new water softener owner is to check the levels once a week to familiarize yourself with the system’s salt usage.

Use the Correct Salt

It’s not a one stop shop when it comes to purchasing salt for your water softener. The salt options can leave you feeling flustered and uncertain. Contact the professionals at Robillard Plumbing if you have any questions about what type of salt your water softener needs.

Break up Salt Bridges

Salt can build bridge-like layers in your softener and keep the loose salt from mixing into the water. Luckily, this is an issue you can usually resolve on your own. Take a broom handle and break up the hardened salt or pour hot water over it to loosen the salt bridge.

Clean the Tank

Before cleaning out the tank, first shut off the bypass valve to prevent water intake. Then, empty the tank by dumping out or siphoning water. Next, mix dish soap with two gallons of water to scrub out the inside of your tank. Once your tank is rinsed and dried out, replace salt and water in the tank and then wait a few hours before turning on the bypass valve. Keeping your tank clean will ensure the water is being softened and salt blockages are not forming.

Clear out Salt Mushing

Although salt mushing sounds like a fictitious issue, it’s real. When salt dissolves and recrystallizes, it can form a layer of sludge at the bottom of the salt solution tank. The mush will eventually clog the well and cause major issues down the road. Regularly check the bottom of your tank and scoop out the sludge or break it up with a broom handle.

Don’t Overfill

Less is more when it comes to softener salt. Filling your tank with extra salt may sound like a time saver, but trust us, it will lead to trouble. Excessive salt will encourage salt bridges to form and prevent your water softener from functioning properly. Humidity can also make salt dissolve slightly and then bond the crystals together again, causing blockages. If salt stands in the same place for days, the pieces bond together and form a crust that will inhibit the salt on top of it to be used.

Routine water softener care will keep your unit in pristine shape for many years to come. Robillard Plumbing offers professional water softener installation and repairs, along with a full range of plumbing services and products. If any questions or concerns should arise, be sure to Contact Robillard Plumbing.

Read More
Homeowner refiling water softener salt.

Types of Water Softener Salt Explained

If you own a water softener, you know that checking and maintaining proper salt levels is vital to its effectiveness. But what do you know about the salt itself and the options available to you? The differences extend beyond the price tag, and understanding the types of water softener salt will help you choose the right one for your home. Read on to learn more.

Primary Types of Water Softener Salt

While a variety of water softener salts are available, they can be broken down into two primary categories: sodium chloride and potassium chloride. In terms of function, they both operate the same way during the water softening process.

Here’s how it works: Calcium and magnesium, the two minerals that create hard water, are positively charged. Water softeners run hard water through a mineral tank containing resin beads that are negatively charged. As opposites attract, these beads bind to the positive ions of the minerals and replace them with the positively charged ions.

Here’s the simple difference: The negative ions that regenerate the resin beads and are released into the water are either potassium or sodium, depending upon which salt type you choose.

Differences and Considerations

Both sodium chloride and potassium chloride are naturally occurring minerals. However, there are a few key differences to consider when choosing which to buy for your home.


Unsurprisingly, this is the top factor for most consumers, especially for large households using a lot of water (thus a lot of salt as well). Potassium chloride costs more as it’s more difficult to harvest, although prices can vary greatly for sodium chloride based on purity level and harvesting methods (more environmentally friendly methods requiring more labor and costs).


While our bodies require some sodium to function, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that we limit our daily intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. Individuals with high blood pressure should especially avoid extra sodium, and thus opt for potassium-based salts for their water softener.


Sodium chloride water softeners produce sodium-rich waste water that can be harmful to the environment. As potassium is an important nutrient for plants and flowers, potassium chloride marks the eco-friendly choice.

There’s no universal answer when it comes to which salt to use, but understanding the differences between the primary types of water softener salt will help. In the end, it will come down to what’s most important to you as far as cost, health needs, and environmental effects. Use this guide to aid in your decision.

Robillard Plumbing offers professional water softener installation and repairs, along with a full range of plumbing services and products. Contact us to learn more.

Read More