Ideally, no. This is because the texture of pool salt is different from the salt that is ideal for a water softener. So, if you are asking ‘Can I use pool salt in my water softener?’, the answer is that you should not unless they come in the shape of pellets that match the requirement of your particular unit.

Valves May Get Clogged

The first reason why the answer to the question ‘Can I use pool salt in my water softener?’ is ‘no’ is this. Using pool salt for your water softener might cause the valves to clog.

This is because the salt in the water softener is usually in the brine tank. The salt that is meant to be used in any water softener is smaller in size and dissolves in the water.

But when you use pool salt, the crystals will be bigger in size. This will cause them to dissolve slower than the ones meant for the softener. And it means that some of them won’t be small enough to pass through the control valve of the softener. This will lead to a build-up and it won’t be a smooth operation.

This does not happen often, but if you get the wrong salt, the damage is an expensive one to fix because you might have to replace the valve entirely.

Regeneration Process Gets Disrupted

Since the salt crystals are bigger, they get left behind in the tank and tend to form salt bridges between the salt and the water in the tank. This will stop the regeneration process in the softener till you remove the bridges manually.

Pool salt is a lot more dense than the salt that is recommended for water softeners. This is the exact opposite of what your unit needs to do its job.

The regeneration process occurs when the brine solution is diluted with freshwater instead of saltwater. This happens because the saltwater will be drawn slowly since it is still being processed. It is the saltwater’s job to recharge the resin which it does effectively. Freshwater does the job but at a lot slower pace, which disrupts the whole cycle.

Water May Become Salty

Pool salt does not let the water to flow through it at the required speed. This means the brine gets corrupted by freshwater instead of saltwater. And if it does not draw saltwater quickly enough, it does not work effectively.

So, your dense pool salt draws brine slowly till the end of regeneration. That means some salt gets left in your soft water and as a result, you get salty water.

This is because the brine tank draws out saltwater quickly. Then it goes through the resin and finally, freshwater rinses the salt away. But if the saltwater is drawn slowly, the freshwater will keep drawing it and the salty brine stays in the tank and exits through the faucet.

Differences Between Pool Salt And Water Softener Salt

  • They have the same level of purity but vary in texture.
  • Pool salt is more refined whereas softener salt is more coarse. This means the softener won’t be able to work effectively.
  • Pool salt shrinks more than it should and stays in the tank unless it is in the form of pellets that suit your unit. This causes residue in the valve. Softener salt shrinks but not enough to be left in the tank.

Can Chlorine Damage A Water Softener?

Yes. The water that has more than 1 ppm level of chlorine will end up oxidizing the resin beads. This reduces the resin’s lifespan and interrupts the process of water softening too.

Can I Use Salt Crystals Instead Of Pellets?

There is no problem in terms of mixing the shapes but softeners don’t have a salt screen. This means the crystals can get stuck in the pipe that draws brine and the softener won’t work.

How Often Should You Clean Your Water Softener Tank?

A: It is best to do this when you are refilling the tank. Typically, that’s about once every month. But if you are using the wrong salt, you might have to do it more often and even then eventually you will have problems.

Parting Thoughts

Hopefully, you are no longer wondering ‘Can I use pool salt in my water softener?’ because the answer is that you cannot. If you accidentally bought pool salt, you might want to look at the specifications of your unit and turn the crystals into pellets that fit the size requirement of your water softener. So, unless you have no choice, be wise with your purchases.