Potassium Chloride Water Softener Salt

Hard water contains more minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, that ordinary water. This can lead to the build up of scale in pipes and appliances. A water softener is used to reduce the concentration of these minerals.

In essence, a water softener consists of an ion exchange resin that removes the minerals as the water flows through it. After a while, the resin becomes saturated with these minerals and it no longer functions. At this point, a salt solution is added to the resin. The salt exchanges with the accumulated minerals, and allows them to be washed out of the softener into a drain.  This rejuvenates the softener.

A variety of materials can be used as the water softener salt, e.g., sodium chloride (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl). In the example shown here, the water softener salt is over 99% potassium chloride.  

All potassium contains potassium-40, a naturally occurring beta gamma emitter, and in large enough quantities it is easily detected with a simple survey meter. This bag, for example, could not get through a monitor at a nuclear power plant without setting off an alarm.

For some general information about potassium-40, click here.

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Last updated: 01/20/09
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