Water softeners are remarkably underrated filtering appliances. Aside from first entering water hardness level, regeneration timing parameters as well as replenishing the salt, they go along and do their task. Even if they are low-maintenance, there are some simple ways to make them more efficient and last for a longer time.
Prevent Salt Bridges and Salt Mushing
Salt bridges are the hard crust formed in the brine tank that build an empty space between the salt and water, which prevents salt from dissolving in the water to produce brine. When there is no brine, resin beads cannot do their job of softening the water.
Bridging is commonly caused by high humidity, changes in temperature around the top rated salt free water softeners or the wrong type of salt. It is possible to have a salt bridge when the salt tank seems to be full but water remains hard.
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The more serious problem between the two is salt mushing, which occurs whenever dissolved salt recrystallises to form a sludge at the base of the brine tank. This thick salt layer prevents the water from regenerating, stops the water softener from functioning and blocks the passage of water.
In case the water test indicates a salt bridge though it does not break up when pushed, this is caused by salt mushing. The only way to address the issue is to drain the water in the softener, scoop out the old salt and refill it with fresh salt