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If you are noticing rust deposits around your water fixtures or in your appliances, then your water might need to be softened. Mineral build up in our homes is typically because of water being too hard, meaning it is filled with minerals like calcium and magnesium. A water softener is a simple solution to this problem. Once you have one, you have to find the right salt to put into your water softener. Continue reading to find out who wins in Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt comparison.
What Is A Water Softener System?
A water softener is a system that is installed in your home, typically plumbed into the home’s water supply system, that filters the water to take out hard minerals. The most predominant minerals to be removed are calcium and magnesium. Sometimes there will be traces of manganese, iron, and radium.
The Science Behind These Systems
A water softener system is comprised of two separate tanks. There will be a shorter, stockier tank called the brine tank. This is the tank that holds the salt (we will discuss these later). There will be water in this tank with the salt, and together they make a brine solution. The taller, skinner tank which usually has the controls on top is called the media tank, or the resin tank. The media tank holds resin beads, and these beads hold electrically charged ions.
When the water that is coming into your house enters the media tank, the hard minerals in the water are attracted to these resin beads. During the ion exchange process, the hard minerals leave the water and attach to the resin beads. In exchange, the sodium ions leave the resin beads and enter the water. The process leaves you with softer water and all the benefits that it offers.
At a pre-set time, the media tank will start a self cleaning process called regeneration. This occurs when the resin beads are full of hard water minerals and need to be flushed and cleaned. The first step is the back wash cycle, where water is pumped through the media tank and out the drain to remove any dirt or sediments.
Once this is complete, water from the brine tank will be pumped into the media tank, and this brine water (salt water) will clean the resin beads from the build up of hard water deposits. After this is finished, clean water will run through the media tank to give the beads one final rinse. The last step is for water to pump into the brine tank so it is full and ready for the next regeneration process.
Does Salt Soften Water?
While it’s actually the resin beads that remove the hard minerals from our water, salt plays a very important role. As mentioned, it is the salt brine that keeps these important beads clean and ready to do their job. While the salt used in the water softeners is pure salt, you cannot just fill your brine tank with table salt if it’s running low. There are specifically designed salts that are made for these tanks. In this section we will discuss the various types of salt used in the water softeners, as well as important properties this salt should have.
To Salt Or Not To Salt?
Many newer water softeners can use either sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride (non-salt). While nearly all systems can use sodium chloride, there are those that will not process the potassium chloride. In addition, the potassium chloride can be more difficult to find.
Potassium chloride is 99% sodium free and is supposed to be better for the environment and for your health. Both Diamond Crystal and Morton Salt brands offer a potassium chloride product, and if you have particular health issues such as high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend this option.
Most of the higher quality brands of sodium chloride (like the two we are reviewing here) have purification processes and additives that make using the salt option healthier and better for the environment than it was decades ago. They are still the more cost effective option as potassium chloride is more expensive.
The Purer The Better
Salt is a natural mineral found in the ground and in the ocean. Because of this, there are impurities found in salt. If these impurities make it into your brine tank, they can leave behind a mushy residue that can affect how well the softener works. The more impurities found in the salt you use, the more often you will have to clean and maintain your water softener.
A higher quality, purer salt will also lead to less bridging. A salt bridge is basically a layer of crusty salt that sits in the brine tank. This salt bridge is caused by using the wrong type (or purity level of salt), high humidity, or having too much salt in the take. The higher the purity of the salt and the less insoluble it is (stuff left behind that cannot dissolve in water) the better your tank will perform.
The size and shape of the salt matters. Typically the salt used in a water purifier will either be in pellet, crystal, or rock form. The type you use can depend on the quality of salt you seek, the specifications of your water softener, or even specific minerals you are trying to filter out of your water. Below are three different salt types of salt and the shapes in which they are typically sold.
This is the naturally occurring mineral that is found in underground salt deposits. This type of salt is extracted through mining practices and has a purity between 98% and 99%. With this salt, water insoluble levels can be as high as 0.5% to 1.5%. Because of this high insoluble level, it is not recommended for water softeners. This salt comes in the rock form.
This is also a natural product that is created by evaporating sea water. This salt has a purity level of 99.5% and an insoluble level of 0.03%. This form can be sold in crystals, pellets, or blocks. Typically, this salt is best for large households or homes that have very hard water.
These are manufactured by dissolving underground deposits of salt into brine. This process gives the finished product a purity of 99.6% to 99.99% and an insoluble level of only .01%. Naturally, this is the best type of salt to use for your water purifier, given its purity. This salt comes in pellets.
Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt
Two of the best salt brands in the United States are Diamond Crystal and Morton Salt Brands. Both of these companies produce high-quality salt products for your water softener. Below we put both to the test as we compare Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt. We compared these two salt giants in the areas of purity, cost, forms, and the variety of products offered.
Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt: Purity
In this category, Diamond Crystal’s Solar Naturals salt wins with a purity rating of 99.6% sodium chloride. Made in the salt ponds of Salt Lake City, Utah, this salt is harvested from the lake’s salt water and evaporated by the sun. It is then taken through a purification process, blocked, and then converted to pellets. The salt is pure and even has a white opaque color to it.
A close second is Morton Solar Salt Crystals. This product has a purity rating minimum of 99.5% sodium chloride. Morton’s solar formula also includes additives that eliminate build up in the softeners.
Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt: Cost
Both Solar Salt products can be purchased from Amazon. In the category of cost, Morton takes the prize. You can get two 40-pound bags of Morton Solar Salt Crystals for under $20. The Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals is just over $20 for one 40 pound bag.
Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt: Forms Available
As previously noted, salt used for water softeners comes in various shapes and sizes. From pellets to rocks and even crystals, all shapes serve a purpose. Most experts agree that pellets inch out the other shapes. Their size makes them easier and cheaper to transport, less messy, and suitable for most water softener systems. We call a tie in this category. Both Diamond Crystal and Morton Salt offer pellet style options for water softeners.
Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt: Product Options
Diamond Crystal offers over 11 separate salt products for your water softener. These include Iron Fighters, Solar Naturals, Hardi Cubes, Sun Gems, Potassium Chloride, and regular rock salt.
Morton has four different varieties of salt options including: Clean and Protect, Clean and Protect plus Rust Remover, Pure and Natural, and a Potassium Chloride option. Diamond Crystal wins in the category of variety, but the options Mortons provides cover an array of water softener needs.
While Diamond Crystal seems to win in purity (by 0.01%) and in variety, Morton offers lower cost options that seem to be as effective. Both offer a variety of options, but Diamond Crystal offers more. Both brands offer pellets, crystals, and rock shapes to fit every water softener need.
In Diamond Crystal vs Morton Water Softener Salt, Diamond Crystal inches out Morton by a nose. You honestly can’t go wrong with either brand, and both can be purchased on Amazon and local retail outlets.