Water Softener pellets or crystals, which one to choose?

water softener salt pellets or crystals

Water Softener pellets or crystals compared

Water is said to be “hard” when it contains a high amount of dissolved minerals. Water softeners help remove water hardness by bringing the minerals together and are, therefore, used to soften the water in our homes, business buildings, and pools.

Water softeners come in either pelleted or crystal form, and choosing between these two available options can be difficult if you don’t understand the difference in their use.

Why bother about minerals in your tap water?

Aside from affecting the taste of your tap water, dissolved minerals like iron, manganese, and magnesium can result in plumbing issues by causing scale buildup in the water pipes. This can lower the flow of water to your delivery systems and reduce the efficiency of the water heater, dishwasher, water pump, and furnace.

Hard water also makes cleaning agents such as soaps and detergents less effective, resulting in yellowing or stained laundry, as well as stained dishes and sinks.

On top of that, it’s dehydrating to the skin, makes house cleaning a chore, and raises the amount of hair shampoo and conditioner required to clean your hair and body, not mention that it makes rinsing off the residue of cleaning products challenging.

Softener crystals versus pellets

Water softener crystals are usually produced using solar evaporation. In this process, brine (a mixture of salt and water) obtained either from mining or seawater is exposed to sunlight and air in order to evaporate the water, leaving coarse white crystals.

These crystals are recommended for homes that use a two-part water softening unit or those whose water consumption is less than average. When used in households with more than average water consumption, plain salt crystals can result in bridging.

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Bridging occurs when a layer or crust of hardened salt builds up at the top of the vessel containing the brine solution (brine tank), creating an empty space between the salt and the water.  This empty space causes water to move through the brine tank without getting softened.

Water softener pellets help minimize bridging and are most suitable for households for all-in-all tank water softening systems or those that use a high volume of water. We incorporate citric acid, a cleaning agent, into our water softener pellets to help prevent mineral buildup in pipes, household appliances, and other building systems.

To ensure long-lasting prevention of mineral buildups, our water softener pellets have citric acid incorporated inside of them, unlike other pelleted products that were just slightly sprayed with citric acid on the outside.

Can I mix water softener salt crystals and pellets?

Generally, most water softeners work well with all types of salt, and mixing different types of salt poses no harm. However, there may be cases where some salt types will be more suitable based on the design of a particular softener.

Manufacturers of all-in-one or single tank softeners usually recommend that pellets should be used with their products. The reason for this is that since the resin tank sits inside the brine tank, salt crystals may harden, leading to the formation of a “crust” around the resin tank. Consequently, this can hinder the tank from coming down to the water level.

Homeowners who use softeners that have no salt screen at the underside of the brine tank may be advised to use pellets in order to prevent the sucking of crystals into the brine draw pipe. Overall, it’s good to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the types of salt to use in your water softener.

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