When you don't add salt to your water softener your system's performance will slowly start to decline until it eventually completely stops softening your water.

There will still be coming water out of your faucets, however, the hardness will be the same as it is straight from your water source.

What Happens If You Don't Add Salt To Your Water Softener?

As your water softener filters out the calcium and magnesium ions from your water, the filter, a resin cartridge, slowly fills up with the filtered ions and it can take no more.

In normal conditions, in a system where salt is added, just before the resin cartridge is full and thus no longer effective, the cartridge is 'washed' with the salt. This 'recharges' the cartridge which gives it the possibility again of softening your water.

If no salt is added to the system, the washing process will have no effect as the salt is not there to wash out the calcium and magnesium. Therefore the filter stays full and will no longer be able to filter out any of the calcium or magnesium ions.

This means that you are back to using hard water along with all the disadvantages that come along with it.

Beware Of Iron-rich Water

While prolonged salt deficits are not an immediate problem you should pay attention if you have an iron-rich water source. Like calcium and magnesium, a water softener will also filter out iron ions.

When the system doesn't have salt these iron ions are no longer washed out of the filter and if they are there too long they will solidify and permanently ruin the resin.

The only thing to do then is replacing the complete resin with a new one.

When Should You Refill Your Water Softener Brine Tank?

By now you know it is essential to keep your water softener provided with salt. To do this it's best to regularly check whether or not there is enough salt left in your water softener's brine tank.

This might be a bit of guesswork in the beginning, but if your household's water usage is fairly regular this will quickly become a simple routine.

There are salt level monitors available.

How Long Do Salt Blocks Last In A Water Softener?

The amount of salt that your water softener will use can depend on the type of salt you're using, the frequency of your recharge cycles, the hardness of your water, but most importantly how much water you use.

The more water you use, the faster your water softener will run out of salt.

Can You Overfill A Water Softener With Salt?

Yes, too much salt in your water softener is a thing. It can cause bridging.

Recommended Reading

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Will Water Softener Salt Damage My Concrete?

Water softener salt poses no direct threat to a concrete floor or pavement. However, it can accelerate deterioration of poor quality concrete in colder conditions.