emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 1,727 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
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Posted Tue May 29, 2012, 9:16am Subject: Re: water softener salt question
Wayne is correct. If the resin in the softener is properly recharged, there should not be any sediment in the tank and there should be no salt taste whatsoever in the effluent. As he said, if you taste salt in the effluent, you need to flush the tank more. However, the more you flush beyond what is needed, the sooner you'll have to recharge. Here's a brief explanation of how they work from wiki...
Water softening Main article: Water softening
In this application, ion-exchange resins are used to replace the magnesium and calcium ions found in hard water with sodium ions. When the resin is fresh, it contains sodium ions at its active sites. When in contact with a solution containing magnesium and calcium ions (but a low concentration of sodium ions), the magnesium and calcium ions preferentially migrate out of solution to the active sites on the resin, being replaced in solution by sodium ions. This process reaches equilibrium with a much lower concentration of magnesium and calcium ions in solution than was started with.
The resin can be recharged by washing it with a solution containing a high concentration of sodium ions (e.g. it has large amounts of common salt (NaCl) dissolved in it). The calcium and magnesium ions migrate off the resin, being replaced by sodium ions from the solution until a new equilibrium is reached. The salt is used to recharge an ion-exchange resin which itself is used to soften the water.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,685 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
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Posted Fri Jun 1, 2012, 6:46am Subject: Re: water softener salt question
Alex, yes that salt is just fine. For a softener this size I think I remember that it uses 2 pounds of salt per charge, you could even use Kosher salt from the supermarket (though the crystals may be too small and will melt too quickly). As long as it is only salt and has no additives such as Iodine in it, it will be fine.
Larger salt crystals may take a little longer to dissolve but salt is salt.
Most of these softeners can use Potassium (I think) if salt bothers you. Check with your manufacturer for sure as this last line is from memory and I can not recall where I read/discovered it.
From a water softener FAQ This FAQ is referring to whole home type systems but the basic principles are the same. With a whole home type system, you keep salt in the softener and the media uses the salt kept in the hopper, thus the comment mixed in the FAQ of using all of one type of salt before adding in a different type of salt, you should not have that issue as you add salt each time and do not store it in a hopper around the softener core.. Click Here (www.lenntech.com)
3.1 Which types of salt are sold for application in a water softener?
For water softening, three types of salt are generally sold: - Rock salt - Solar salt - Evaporated salt
Rock salt as a mineral occurs naturally in the ground. It is obtained from underground salt deposits by traditional mining methods. It contains between ninety-eight and ninety-nine percent sodium chloride. It has a water insolubility level of about 0.5-1.5%, being mainly calcium sulphate. Its most important component is calcium sulphate. Solar salt as a natural product is obtained mainly through evaporation of seawater. It contains 85% sodium chloride. It has a water insolubility level of less than 0.03%. It is usually sold in crystal form. Sometimes it is also sold in pellets. Evaporated salt is obtained through mining underground salt deposits of dissolving salt. The moisture is then evaporated, using energy from natural gas or coal. Evaporated salt contains between 99.6 and 99.99% sodium chloride.
3.2 Should we use rock salt, evaporated salt or solar salt in a water softener?
Rock salt contains a lot of matter that is not water-soluble. As a result, the softening reservoirs have to be cleaned much more regularly, when rock salt is used. Rock salt is cheaper than evaporated salt and solar salt, but reservoir cleaning may take up a lot of your time and energy.
Solar salt contains a bit more water-insoluble matter than evaporated salt. When one makes a decision about which salt to use, consideration should be given to how much salt is used, how often the softener needs cleanout, and the softener design. If salt usage is low, the products could be used alternately. If salt usage is high, insoluble salts will build up faster when using solar salt. Additionally, the reservoir will need more frequent cleaning. In that case evaporated salt is recommended.
3.3 Is it harmful to mix different kinds of salt in a water softener?
It is generally not harmful to mix salts in a water softener, but there are types of softeners that are designed for specific water softening products. When using alternative products, these softeners will not function well. Mixing evaporated salt with rock salt is not recommended, as this could clog the softening reservoir. It is recommended that you allow your unit to go empty of one type of salt before adding another to avoid the occurrence of any problems.
3.4 How often should one add salt to a softener?
Salt is usually added to the reservoir during regeneration of the softener. The more often a softener is regenerated, the more often salt needs to be added. Usually water softeners are checked once a month. To guarantee a satisfactory production of soft water, the salt level should be kept at least half-full at all times.
3.5 How come water sometimes does not become softer when salt is added?
Before salt starts working in a water softener it needs a little residence time within the reservoir, since the salt is dissolving slowly. When one immediately starts regeneration after adding salt to the reservoir, the water softener may not work according to standards. When the water softening does not take place it could also indicate softener malfunction, or a problem with the salt that is applied.
alex Senior Member Joined: 10 Sep 2009 Posts: 42 Location: Toronto Expertise: I love coffee
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Posted Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:16am Subject: Re: water softener salt question
Thanks for the info. Picked up the salt and i added 2 pounds as you suggested. Followed the instructions on espressoparts.com and its now regenerating. I read somewhere it can take up to 40 min to loose the salty taste in the water, and the salt chucks i put in are rather large so im guessing it will take a while. Cant wait to get my machine running without having to blend RO water and mineral water...it was a pain.
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