One of the most common problems with a water softener is salt. Your water softener needs the right amount of salt to recharge and give you continuous soft water. If you think you are having a problem with your water softener – check the salt.
Breaking a Salt Bridge

Sometimes a hard crust or salt “bridge” forms in the brine tank.  This is usually caused by high humidity, temperature changes in the area of the water softener, or the wrong kind of salt.  When the salt bridges, an empty space forms between the water and the salt.  Then salt will not dissolve in the water to make brine.  Without brine, the resin bed is not recharged and hard water will result.

If the storage tank is full of salt, it is difficult to tell whether there is a salt bridge.  A bridge may be underneath loose salt.  The following is the best way to check for a salt bridge:

Salt should be loose all the way to the bottom of the tank.  Hold a broom handle, or like tool, up to the softener, as shown here.  (Non-Ecowater softeners frequently have a false bottom approximately 4” from the bottom of the tank – Take care to not penetrate this floor) Make a pencil mark on the handle 1” – 2” below the top of the rim.  Then, carefully push it straight down into the salt.  If a hard object is felt before the pencil mark is even with the top, it is most likely a salt bridge.  Carefully push into the bridge in several places to break it.  Do not try to break the salt bridge by pounding on the outside of the salt tank.  You may damage the tank.

Salt Mushing

A related but more serious problem is mushing in the salt tank. Some salts have a tendency to absorb water higher than the water level and the large salt pieces break down into granules. The weight of the salt above then compresses these granules into a large hard block. You will be able to tell if this is your problem if you are unable to break a bridge as described above.

If this happens, the only cure is to dig out all old salt and replace it with fresh salt.

Salt Tank Operation

The best way to operate a salt tank, especially if you experience problems is to add no more than 1 or 2 bags of salt at a time. Let the salt get down to within a few inches of the bottom of the tank before adding more salt.

 If you are purchasing our water softener salt, and you have any salt-related problems, let us know and we will fix the problem at no charge.