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How to Care and Manage Brine Tanks

A water softener works by passing water through a resin bed filled with negatively charged ions. The positively charged ions in hard water (potassium and magnesium) stick to them, and then they are replaced by sodium ions, creating soft water. Water softeners use a brine tank to create the salt solution needed to make this treatment a success. Similarly, softeners need to regenerate (clean themselves) periodically, and they need salt for this process. That’s why the brine tank is part and parcel of a water softener.

How Much Water Should a Brine Tank Have?

The amount of water that a brine tank should contain depends on whether it’s a dry or a wet tank. In traditional softeners, brine tanks had to contain water at all times while newer softeners, especially those with digital valves, only contain water in the brine tank two hours before going to a cycle. Therefore, the traditional softeners have wet tanks, while newer softeners use dry tanks.

The water inside a brine tank should be 3-6 gallons and rise to about 6-10 inches, depending on the brine tank’s dimensions, but should never go beyond 12 inches. It’s normal not to see water inside the tank when there is plenty of salt. Having the tank appearing half full or more may mean a frozen or clogged drain line, or a mechanical problem.

Just looking at the valve cannot give someone a clue whether the softener they’re using is the older version or newer. To be sure, it’s advisable to consult with the company that installed the softener system.

How Often Should Salt Be Added to A Brine Tank?

The frequency at which users add salt to their brine tank depends on many factors. It relies on the size of the brine tank, how many people use the water, how hard the water is, and how much water is consumed from the system. The more water is consumed, the more often the need to add more salt. That’s why brine for industrial tanks will need to top up more often than household tanks.

The regeneration process takes place automatically, and the valve control panel will calculate when the cycle is required. So, softener users are only responsible for topping up the salt when the level drops. They should check the salt level monthly and see if it needs to be added. However, the more the system regenerates, the more salt needs to be added.

How Much Salt Should Water Softener Use?

The amount of salt a water softener uses depends on the size of the system and water usage. If a system is of the proper size, then a residential system will use approximately 40-50 pounds per month, or 10 pounds weekly.

How Much Water Should A Brine Tank Have?

For optimum efficiency, a brine tank should always contain at least one-quarter of water softener salt and not more than four to six inches below the tank’s top. Salt levels should also remain slightly above the water level.

When adding new salt, it’s essential to break up any larger salt pieces and loosen up any encrusted brine that may be sticking to the edges of the tank. If salt has bridged (formed a solid mass), manually break up the salt block by adding hot water over it to make it soft and easier to break.

How to Clean the Water Softener Brine Tank

How often the brine tank needs cleaning depends on the softener salt used, since some salt pellets in supermarkets are evaporative thus, contain a high level of water-insoluble matter. These impurities can cause build-up in the reservoir, hence the need to wash often or cause the softener to malfunction.

When shopping for a brine for industrial tanks or residential tanks, it’s important to look for pellet labeling on the salt stack to ensure its highest purity level. If the salt is of high quality and no build-up forms in the tank often, then brine tanks can be cleaned once a year.

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