How To Add Salt To A Water Softener: Easy Guide

It’s crucial to add salt to a water softener as the ion exchange process won’t happen without it, and the water hardness will not reduce. 

Many factors determine the amount of salt required by a water softener – the type of tank/system, the tank size, daily usage, and the water hardness levels are just a few factors. 

how to add salt to a water softener: Complete Guide
How To Add Salt To A Water Softener

In this post, we have done a thorough research and created a simple guide on how much salt to add to your water softener and what are all the other factors to consider. 

Let’s check it out. 

How To Add Salt To A Water Softener?

Before you get too involved with how much salt you should add to the water softener, let’s consider a few basics- how to add the salt. 

Thankfully the process of adding salt is straightforward. You simply need to detect the location of the tank, open the lid, refill the salt and close it. Below we mention the process step by step. 

How do I add salt to my water softener?
How To Add Salt To A Water Softener: Step by Step Guide

💧Detect the brine tank

Most often, the salt tank is labeled as brine or salt tank. If your one is not labeled, in all probability, it’s the smaller tank that will contain all the salt. You need to access that. 

💧Check the salt level in the water softener

This step involves knowing how much salt you need to add to your water softener. So, as a rule of thumb, if your brine tank is half-full of salt or less, you have to add more salt. 

How do I know if my water softener needs salt?

Even before you pour the salt into the tank, you need to determine whether or not the tank needs more salt. For this, lift the tank cover and take a look inside.

Add more salt if the salt looks too dry and the salt level is less than half. Additionally, if the salt is wet and the water level is above the salt, you need to add more salt. 

💧Make Sure to Clean the tank

Ensure your tank is clean, i.e., it has loose and free-moving salt. In case you see chunks of salt sticking to the bottom, use a broom or other handle to loosen or break the chunks.

Inspect How many bags of water softener salt do I need?

It’s crucial to know the amount of salt your softener needs before you jump into adding it. Ideally, the water level should be slightly lower than the salt level.

This is because the water needs to absorb the salt well to make the perfect brine solution. In addition to that, you need to keep the following factors in mind too.

Inspect How many bags of water softener salt do I need?
How many bags of water softener salt


The amount of water you consume per day will determine how much salt you need to add. The water softener softens the water required for all daily chores.

This includes washing, taking a shower, cooking, etc. While these are standard water requirements, you will need more water softened if you have additional chores. So naturally, you need to add more salt.

💧Water hardness

If your water is hard, add more salt. Hardness measures the amount of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Thus, sodium ions need to be exchanged to soften such hard water. So for hard water, more salt will be required. 

💧Water soft age

If the water softener is old, it will not be that effective. Such softeners will lose more salt during the regeneration process or even fail to keep the salt during the softening process. Thus you will need to add more salt. 

💧Pour in the Salt

Once the steps mentioned above are taken care of, pour a bag of water softener salt into the tank. It’s advisable to take help from someone since the salt bags are pretty heavy. Add salt until you reach the fill line or three-quarters of the tank. The water level reaches here, so add no more.

💧Secure the lid of the Brine tank

Once the salt is added, the softener will fill the tank with water as required. So secure the lid.

How often do I need to add salt to my water softener?

After you determine how much salt goes into the softener and how to add the salt to the tank, you need to know if it’s time for refilling. 

How often do I need to add salt to my water softener?
How often do I need to add salt

💧Check the Brine Tank

Adding salt to a water softener is easy once you know how the system functions. It’s advisable to check the tank’s sale supply regularly. You simply need to open the brine tank and ensure it’s half full. It that’s not the case, it’s advisable to refill it immediately. 

💧Consider your Water Softener’s Age

As mentioned earlier, the water softener’s age plays a role in determining its salt requirements. In most cases, tanks over ten years old have old systems and thus require more salt to function effectively.

The modern systems conduct regeneration when needed. Some also signal when the salt content falls below the required levels. So, for a new water softener, you can add salt typically after 6-8 weeks. 

💧Account for Salt Bridges

Once the salt ridges are formed, it isn’t easy to gauge how much salt to add. Salt ridges are basically a salt layer with an air pocket. So, looking at it once will give an impression that there is enough salt when there isn’t. 

Thus if the salt levels appear to be consistent for a while, you need to take a shovel and hard-hit the above layers. If it’s, after all, a salt ridge, it will collapse and reveal the true levels.

How Much Does Water Softener Salt Cost? 

A bag of 40-lb sodium or potassium chloride salt should cost between $5 and $25. However, the exact price will be determined by the purity of the salt, the brand, and the purchase location. 

What happens if too much salt is in the water softener?

Adding excessive salt to the water softener can lead to salt bridging or a buildup and solidification of the regenerant. If there is such a buildup, your system will not function properly. A case of excessive salt concentration can lead to something called salt mushing. 

What happens if too much salt is in the water softener?

This is the crystallization of dissolved salt in the tank, leading to a salt sludge at the tank’s bottom. Such a sludge is a dense layer and does not allow the softener to regenerate appropriately; thus, the water remains hard, blocking your tank. Besides, excess salt can lead to salt waste too.

Best salt for water softener

While looking for the best type of water softener salt, you will come across a few options. 

  • Evaporated salt pellets.
  • Block salt.
  • Rock salt.
  • Solar salt.

Of all these evaporated salt is the purest form of softener salt, i.e., it has the highest salt concentration levels and negligible dirt and impurities. The brine tank perfectly uses the salt, dissolving it thoroughly to form the best brine solution.  

How do I lower the salt in my water softener?

The most obvious solution to this problem is to reduce water consumption. If the daily soft water requirements of the house are lower, you can lower the amount of salt required by the tank. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does salt last in a water softener?

This will depend on the amount you use, the type of salt, the efficiency of the softening system, the tank size, and the hardness level of the water. It’s advisable to add the salt based on your observation and the instructions in the user manual.

Do you add water when adding salt to the water softener?

As a rule of thumb, the salt level in your tank should be four inches higher than the tank’s water level. 


We hope you have the idea about refilling your brine tank with salt. It’s advisable to conduct frequent inspections of the salt tank to ensure enough salt is in the tank. It’s expected that you will require one four-pound bag of salt a month.