Best Type of Salt To Use for a Portable RV Water Softener
After using the Pro+Aqua RV Portable Water Softener, you’ll need to regenerate the resin bed inside the tank. To do this you’ll need the Regen Kit and some salt, but what kind of salt should you use? There are a variety of salts available in most grocery stores, these include table salt, Himalayan pink salt, kosher salt, and sea salt, just to name a few. Not only do they differ in taste and texture, but also in mineral and sodium content. Don’t forget that the price of salt can range from a few cents per pound all the way up to $10 per pound. The Pro+Aqua staff decided to test out 3 different types of salt to regenerate the Travel Series Portable Water Softener and see which is the best type of salt to use on an RV Water Softener.
To do this test we used one softener that’s been in service for several months and was used for a variety of things such as a water softener for showers, auto detailing, laundry with a portable washer, carpet cleaning, and pressure washing. The Travel Series is rated for 2000 gallons of service between regeneration and by using a softener that’s been in various situations, we knew that we would quickly reach the 2000 gallon threshold.
For each regeneration performed, we set the timer for 45 minutes. The water flow coming out of the softener was slowed down so the size of the stream would be about the same as a pencil. To regenerate, we used the Pro+Aqua Regeneration Kit and filled it up with salt all the way to the top.
Below we’ll rank them based on the amount of lather was generated with soap and how effective each salt was in regenerating the softener by giving it a Pro-Score 1-10, 10 being the best.
The first type of salt we used was plain from Walmart, they sell it for $0.48 per pound. We bought 2lbs and emptied the contents into the regen kit. We installed the kit onto the Travel Series and let it run its COARSE...get it? Salt pun...for 45 minutes. Though the plain salt did a decent job at regenerating the resin, we didn’t like how quickly it dissolved in the regen kit. The way we look at it, the longer the resin is exposed to brine, the better of a job it will do in making sure it cleans the resin of the contaminants stuck to it. Nonetheless, plain salt regenerated the softener and it was producing soft water by the time it was complete. Pro-Score 8/10
At the next round of regeneration, we opted for Sea Salt. This cost us $1.30 per pound at the local grocery store. We didn’t really have any expectations with Sea Salt, we figured, salt was, salt. The grain size of the sea salt was bigger than the plain version. However, once it was placed inside the regen kit, it dissolved just as fast as the plain. When it came to the results after 45 minutes, the water felt like the water from using plain salt.
BUT! Within two weeks of regular use of the water softener, the resin needed to be regenerated again. How do we know this? We went by feel and how well the water would lather up soap. At the end of two weeks, the water coming out of it was just like city water, hard. It wasn’t slippery or possessed that softer feel. There was also a noticeable amount of soap scum around the sink, which only means that minerals were not being trapped by the resin. Pro-Score 5/10
Water Softener Salt
For this test, we headed back to Walmart and bought ourselves a 40lb bag of Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Salt for a low price of $5.96 per bag. We filled up the regen kit with the Morton pellets and began the regeneration and set the time for 45 minutes. However, after that time frame, we noticed that housing for the regen kit still had pellets in it. So we let it run another 15 minutes and at that time, the pellets were much smaller. Another 15 minutes and the pellets were finally gone.
We did our lather test and found that the water coming out of the softener was indeed soft, plus it had a great slippery feel to it, exactly how soft water is supposed to be. Clearly, the pellets did a great job with regeneration, the only issue was how long it took to do so. But then again, the time it took to regenerate, an hour and 15 minutes, could have been what made it work so well since the resin was exposed to the brine at a longer rate. Pro-Score 10/10Conclusion
Now that we’ve tested 3 different types of salt, which one is the best? From our experience, the Sea Salt was the one that performed the worst. Perhaps it’s because sea salt is produced through the evaporation of ocean water and water from sea lakes. Which leaves behind trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium in trace amounts, depending on the water.
This situation is rather ironic since those are the same minerals that the resin binds with to make soft water. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that the trace minerals may have clung onto the resin beads during regeneration, which made them impacted, which required another regeneration session much sooner.
Lastly, when we tested Morton’s Salt Pellets, the results were very good. It makes sense since that’s what is normally used in regular-sized water softeners. But there are two challenges that come up with using pellet salt. 1. 40lbs of salt. 2. The time it takes to regen.
These “challenges” aren’t really all that bad. Think about it, the 40lbs of salt only cost $5.96 per bag at Walmart. For that same price, you’d only get 6lbs of plain salt. If you can put up with storing the rest of that salt somewhere in your home, then it really isn’t a problem, if anything you’re saving money in the long run. Secondly, the length of time it takes to regen, well, that isn’t all that bad considering that the longer the resin is exposed to brine, the cleaner it gets.
If we were to rank each of these salts based on how effective they are, here’s how they would rank from best to last:
- Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Salt-The most cost-effective of the three. Though it took a little longer to complete the regen, it did a great job in cleaning the resin bed, making the water very soft.
- Plain Salt-If space is limited for storing salt, using the plain version is going to be your best bet. At the cost of $0.48/pound, it still remains very affordable.
- Sea Salt-This type of salt cost more and didn’t work that well. The regeneration effect only lasted about 2 weeks.