A Water Treatment Professional’s Take on Potassium for a Water Softener
The standard water softening salt you may find at the gas station or supermarket is Sodium Chloride, commonly sold as Solar Salt which is typically the blue bag, and Pellet Salt or the yellow bag. These are the most prevalent forms of softener salt because of the abundance and affordability of the products.
An alternative to “Softener Salt” or Sodium Chloride is Potassium Chloride, commonly sold under the names K-Life and Morton. This is one of the “salt-free softening” alternatives you may have heard about used with a water softener. Both products operate on the same principals, which you can learn more on how a water softener works. When hard water is passed through the water softener hard water ions are collected in the softening resin. In exchange, either sodium or potassium will be released into the water depending on which one you are using.
Difference in Performance
It is my belief that the main reason homeowners are using Potassium instead of Sodium is to reduce the amount of sodium in their diet along with the growing amount of misinformation regarding softeners and salt on the Internet. Some things that someone choosing a salt-free softener might not know are:
- How much Sodium is in a glass of softened water?
- In an 8oz glass of 15 grain softened water there is 28.12 mg of sodium. If you’re curious, read more about how much sodium is in softened water and how this compares to other sodium sources.
- Is Potassium as Efficient as Sodium?
- A water softener using potassium will generally have to use 30% more potassium to achieve the same results as utilizing sodium.
- Is There a Cost Difference?
- As of May 24th, 2012 the average price of Potassium is $27 Per Bag and Sodium $6 Per Bag.
Water Treatment Professional Recommendation
Because of the high cost and relative inefficiencies of Potassium, it is not on my recommendation list as a water treatment professional as I look for the best performance and value for my customers. Potassium intake is certainly recommended over Sodium. However, I personally would not look to my water softener for the source a of Potassium due to the cost and lacking performance.