Along with the best of us, you will eventually, or might have already, run into salt bridging within your water softener system.
A salt bridge is a symptom of too much salt in your water softener that, just like salt mushing, should not be ignored. But don't worry, if you've caught it in time you can easily resolve it.
Let's look at how we can resolve and avoid future salt bridging by using the right salts and keeping the salt in your brine tank at the right level.
What Is A Salt Bridge In A Water Softener?
A salt bridge is pretty much what it describes, a piece of solidified salt in your water softeners' brine tank that forms a 'bridge' across the tank. This solid block of salt in your water softener can hurt the performance of your system and even cause leaks or flooding.
This solid block of salt usually forms at the top of your brine tank thereby obscuring the contents of your tank below.
Why Is A Salt Bridge In Your Brine Tank A Problem?
Because of the bridge, you won't be able to accurately assess whether your brine tank needs more salt, which could lead to your system eventually running out of salt and therefore to stop working.
A salt bridge could also affect your system's ability to measure the water level within its brine tank. In a best-case scenario, this will lead to your brine tank drying out.
However, worst case, your system will continuously keep filling the tank even as it overflows thereby flooding your basement or shed until the bypass valve is activated or the water main is shut off.
What Can Cause A Salt Bridge In A Water Softener?
The main cause for a salt bridge to form in your water softener is the combination of too salt in a warm and humid conditions.
Although it might seem convenient to fill your brine tank to the rim so you don't have to look at it for as long as possible, there's certainly something like overfilling your water softener with salt.
When there is a lot of salt above the water line in your brine tank your run the risk of it starting to touch the outer sides of the tank.
In warm conditions' water containing salt can evaporate and thereby 'lift' salt from the water and deposit it on the sides of the brine tank.
Because of the humidity within the tank, the salt will then start to stick together and the tank walls eventually start growing and forming a solid connection to the tank sides.
Over time the salt beneath the water line is dissolved and washed away, leaving behind a solid bridge stuck to the sides of your brine tank.
How To Get Rid Of A Salt Bridge In A Water Softener
To fix the problem you will have to remove the solidified salt bridge from your water softener.
When crushing the block be careful not to rupture your brine tank as the hardened salt can be tougher than the plastic.
You can help the salt along with some warm water to help it dissolve. A hammer and ice pick can also help to chisel away most of the biggest chunks.
Most Important Tips For Preventing A Salt Bridge From Forming
If you follow these tips most of your troubles can be avoided.
Don't overfill your brine tank - Too much salt is the fastest way to cause issues with your system. If you are not sure, it is better to stay on the lower side and take an extra trip to your water softener every once in a while to fill it up with salt.
Use the right salt - Make sure the salt has the right pellet size and does not contain any impurities.
Check your system regularly - Despite your efforts salt bridging can never be fully avoided, therefore it's essential to always keep an eye on your system to avoid any bridging to start forming before it's too late!