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What Type of Salt Should I Use for My Water Softener?

We get asked his question a lot and we can understand the confusion surrounding it. In this post we will go over some of the basics softener salt and hopefully answer some frequently asked questions.

4 Rules of Water Softener Salt

Rule #1- Do not use “Rock Salt”

Rule #2- Whether that bag is yellow, green, or blue- Any salt is better than no salt.

Rule #3- Once you choose a bag do your best to stick with it.

Rule #4- If you choose to switch then wait until your salt level is low.

Types of Salts Explained

Coarse Solar Salt (Blue Bag)- This is one of the most common types of salt found. This is the type of salt the we recommend because we find that it can be easily found in a variety of stores like Lowes, Home Depot, etc. This type of salt is the most basic form and we tend to not have as many problems with bridging in brine tanks with it. This type of salt is generally the most affordable form of salt as well.

Pellets (Yellow Bag)- The other most common type of salt is the pellet salt. This type of salt has been cleaned and processed into a pellet shape. Pellets can typically run higher in cost. In some cases of low water usage or infrequent regeneration scenarios, pellets can lose their structure and become mushed and may not dissolve. They can also dry out and harden. When this happens, we generally recommend customer to use the coarse solar salt (blue bag).

Rust/Iron (Green Bag)- The green bags are advertised for water with iron or manganese content. Green bags are pellets with an additive, either sodium-bisulfate or citric acid, which will help dissolve and further clean stubborn iron and manganese from the softening resin. Green bags will be on the higher side of salt cost. We personally find that using a Res-up feeder that drip feeds a cleaning solution can be a more effective and efficient way add resin cleaning products to the backwash process.

Potassium Chloride (Salt Alternative)- A water softener removes hardness from the water by utilizing an ion exchange system which leaches a miniscule amount of salt into the treated water supply. If you wish to avoid the sodium, you can use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. However, there are some things to consider.

-Potassium Chloride is found to be 30% less effective in regenerating your softener depending on water quality and softener settings.

-Potassium chloride has been found to harden and mush up with temperature swings in mechanical rooms.

-Potassium chloride is considerably more expensive when compared to other forms of salt.

Block Salt– Salt blocks may be a good option for those who are un able to lift 40-50 lb bags of salt. They are not ideal though due to very little surface area of salt exposed to water resulting in weak brine concentrations.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 6703-868-3212!

Let’s talk Constant Pressure Systems

I’ve been hearing about “Constant Pressure Systems”; what does that mean? What do they do?

In the context of a residential water supply system, “Constant Pressure” refers to a combination of well, pump and control components designed to provide water to the home at a pressure that remains close to a chosen “set-point”, e.g. 60 psi, regardless of the amount of water (flow rate) being required at any one time.

A conventional design uses a pump, a tank with an air pre-charge in it, and a simple pressure operated switch. When the pump operates, it does so at its full rated power to drive water into the tank until the rising pressure causes the switch to shut it off. As you continue to use water, the pressure falls back down to the point where the switch turns the pump back on for another run cycle. This “pressure spread” is designed to be 20 psi. Tanks must be large enough to allow the pump to run for long enough to dissipate the heat in the motor generated by each startup (ideally about one minute).

A constant pressure system replaces the simple switch with a control (commonly called a Variable Frequency Drive, or VFD) and pressure sensor that together work to operate the well pump over a range of speeds, but always just fast enough to maintain that set-point pressure at the flow you happen to be using at the moment. All this is done electronically, in real time. Below is a video that goes over the basics of VFD’s.

Why is this better?

In a nutshell, you get a stable pressure in the house, without the up and down cycling you experience with a conventional system. Many water using devices are happier that way; your shower, for example, but especially in-ground irrigation systems. But that’s just the beginning.

VFD controlled pumps use a 3-phase motor design (think industrial strength) that is inherently more efficient than single phase motor/starter designs. The control starts the motor “softly” to avoid the shock and heat inherent in the “full-on” start of a cycling system. Even better, the strategy of running “just equal to the demand” uses less power overall that the start/stop scheme. The reasons are complicated (maybe for a later blog) but in a nutshell, less power = less heat; less heat = less waste and less strain and wear on equipment. The net result is lower operating cost and better reliability.

For more information about the benefits of constant pressure systems and whether it could be right for you, call us at 603-868-3212 or visit us online at http://www.advancepumpandfilter.com/nh_pump_filter_constant_pressure_systems.php


“A new U.S. Geological Survey study highlights the importance of homeowners testing their well water to ensure it is safe for consumption, particularly in drought-prone areas. The first-of-its-kind national-scale study of private well water, conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that drought may lead to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic and that the longer a drought lasts, the higher the probability of arsenic concentrations exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water.”

“While the results suggest that drought will have a negative impact, the study cannot predict what might happen at an individual well, further highlighting the importance of testing.”

If you are interested in water testing, Please give us a call at 603-868-3212.


Advance Pump & Filter Co’s, Jake Pleadwell, recognized by Water Quality Magazine in it’s Young Professionals in the Water Industry edition

We are so proud that our very own Jake was selected by WQP Magazine to be profiled in their current issue highlighting Young Professionals in the Water Industry for 2021!

Jake PleadwellTechnician/Customer Support, Advance Pump & Filter Co.

Age: 27

Education: Pleadwell currently holds a B.S. in Business Administration. He is also working to obtain his MBA & WQA Water Quality Specialist Certification.

Why water?: “My parents had been in the water industry ever since I was born, but I was originally planning on being a marketer or a teacher,” Pleadwell said. “As time went on, I decided that I wanted to work in a field that helped people, that solved real world problems, was challenging both physically/intellectually, had an opportunity for international involvement. And it just so happened that the industry for me was right under my nose.”

Past life: Prior to entering the water industry, Pleadwell worked as a paraprofessional in a special education program that worked with students who had a variety of mental/emotional conditions, he said.

Professional accomplishments: “Removing 75 old lightbulbs from our office warehouse,” he joked. “In all seriousness though, I had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka to learn about the country’s problems with Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) and it’s possible connection to water quality. This was an eye opening experience, and I was fortunate to speak to a number of people involved with researching both water quality and CKDu.”

Goals: “I want to put myself and others in a position to help tackle some of the big problems that our world will be facing regarding water; both at the micro and macro level,” Pleadwell said.

Greatest influence: His greatest influence is his mom, he said. “She has always been such a rock for our family and for the business. I really don’t know how she does it all. I feel super lucky to have her as mentor with 35 years in the water industry and as my mom.”

Out of the office: “I really love movement, so I’m big into running, yoga and skiing,” Pleadwell said. “I’m also a ballet dancer. My girlfriend and I are to perform Swan Lakes pas de deux this spring.”

Surprising fact: “I played Justin Bieber on Hawaii 5.0, S6 E10. It was my 15 seconds of fame.”

Giving back: “I‘m an assistant lacrosse coach for Exeter High Schools JV/Varsity teams,” he said.


AP&F is proud to be members in good standing with the Water Quality Association.

COVID-19 Updated Service


We hope this letter finds you in good health. Like you, we have been monitoring the rapidly-changing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and local health departments regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

We are open for business, but have temporarily modified office hours. Currently, we will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for regular business.

We will continue to offer Emergency Service EVERY DAY (including weekends).
Emergency Service includes:
-Well pump service (No Water, Low Water Pressure)
-Significant water leaks
-Filter system failure (if treating for primary contaminant or health concern like
bacteria, arsenic, PFAS and radon).

Non-emergency work will be scheduled on a case by case basis for March. We are currently booking preventive maintenance service appointments for April / May / June.

Call us at 603-868-3212 or email info@advanceh2o.com to schedule service. We will always have someone answering the phone; either our staff during regular office hours or the answering service if the office is closed. Emergencies will be dispatched to the on-call technician.

While we always strive for high standards of cleanliness and safety, we have implemented additional recommended protocols to help keep our employees and customers healthy:

-Employees who feel unwell should stay home.
-Employees demonstrating symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness
of breath) must stay home and not return until cleared by a doctor.
-Employees will wash down and sanitize their work spaces (desk or work truck)
multiple times a day. Common areas will also be cleaned.
-Employees will attempt to maintain a six feet distance from one another.
-Employees will take separate work trucks when going to crew jobs.
-Employees will wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon
arriving in the office and throughout the day.
-We are encouraging all employees to practice social distancing in their personal lives.

Coming to our office:
If you would like to purchase any goods or water test kits from our main office, we would be happy to complete this transaction over the phone and we can leave the products for you out on our front porch.

Entering your home:
-If you are ill and/or have symptoms of the virus, please take care of yourself and
reschedule the appointment.
-Please wash your hands before and after we come to your home.
-If you speak face to face with the technician, please keep a 6 feet distance.
-Technicians will wash or sanitize their hands before and after servicing your
-Technicians will sanitize the equipment they touch before and after performing
any work.
-All employees will maintain a 6 feet distance.
-Where possible, technicians will enter through a bulkhead or basement door. —–
-Please have the door open and ready for them upon arrival.
-Please make sure we have your phone number, so we can call you to discuss job
specifics while on site.
-Whenever possible, we will ask to have a credit card number ‘on hold’ at the
office. Once the service work or installation is complete, we will review the cost
and only then run the credit card. We can also take an e-check over the phone.

Please remember that Advance Pump & Filter is a small, family run business. We are working tirelessly to do what’s best for everyone, employees and customers alike. We will continue to closely follow the guidance of CDC and WHO. As this is an ever changing situation, we will do our best to communicate any updates as they unfold.

If you have any questions, please call us at 603-868-3212 or email info@advanceh2o.com.

Stay well.

Cathy & Rob Cartmell
Advance Pump & Filter Co., Inc.
10 Calef Highway
Lee, NH 03861

Concerned about Coronavirus and drinking water? Here’s a good resource with up to date information:

Click here

Are you taking care of your “four walls”?

A popular personal money manager talks about prioritizing and taking care of your “four walls” first: this includes food, water/utilities, shelter and transportation.

We recommend that YOU take control of your drinking water and make sure that it’s safe. Don’t rely on assumptions or thinking that someone else will monitor it. Test your own drinking water. Call APF at 603-868-3212 to schedule a lab water test.

Why you shouldn’t Mix Salt Pellets with Coarse Solar Salt in your Brine Tank

What to do about PFC’s in my home’s water?

News reports about PFC’s being discovered in both public and private wells at several locations well above the levels in the EPA’s Provisional Health Advisory have raised the level of concern among many home owners about the potential for such contaminants to be in their own wells. Recent reports of similar findings in surface waters and streams have heightened such concerns.

PFC’s, also referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), include a number of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA). Two of these, perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctane sulfate (PFOS) occupy most of the media attention, and are the specific subject of the Health Advisory. PFC’s have the useful property of repelling water and oils, making them very appealing to various industries. They are found in such diverse products as stain-resistant carpet and fabrics, waterproofing for fabrics and leather, some non-stick surfaces, and fire-fighting foam.

Both PFOA and PFOS have been shown to be widely distributed in the environment. They are persistent and do not degrade easily; they are also water soluble and are commonly detected in drinking water sources. The pathways for PFC’s to reach groundwater sources are many, and the understanding of the subject is very much an emerging science. They are associated with numerous health effects in humans, and developmental effects in infants.

How do I know if these contaminants are in my water?

PFC’s are not detectable through ordinary senses: taste, odor, color. They must be identified through testing by a qualified laboratory. The relevant concentrations are extremely small, in parts per trillion; that’s about one nano-gram per liter of water (ng/l). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed Provisional Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS at 70 ppt total, and are currently developing Lifetime (chronic exposure) Advisories.

So, I ran the test and I have some in my water – what do I do (if anything)?

We subscribe generally to the idea that guidelines developed by the EPA, and by extension State agencies, represent the best resource available to the public for evaluating the health risks associated with various contaminants. We do not, as a practice, make recommendations to treat contaminants that do not exceed EPA guidelines.

That said, we recognize that the maximum contaminant levels (MCL’s) for most health related contaminants represent a risk/cost/benefit assessment, and not a point below which no threat exists. Our belief is that each home owner should consider all available sources of information and weigh the reliability of each one. Essentially, it is the homeowner’s decision as to what level of contaminant is acceptable to them, and we understand that some may want to treat even for very low levels considered under the EPA limit. We are fully prepared to provide solutions to treat the issue.

How can PFC’s be removed from my water?

The treatment industry has been exploring a wide array of treatment alternatives. The consensus (and our own view as well) is that for residential treatment applications, there are two approaches appropriate for most scenarios:

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is the go-to choice for both whole-house and point-of-use (drinking and cooking only) solutions. We follow the EPA/DES recommendation to use a pair of treatment vessels in series with a testing port between them to detect contaminant breakthrough while the second vessel is still effective. Size and specific choice of GAC type are application specific.
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems, which also include activated carbon elements in the treatment path, can be an option where there can be an additional collateral benefit, such as salt reduction, nitrate, or arsenic remediation.

So what’s the bottom line?

Any decision as to what to do about PFC’s in your water source has to start with the question “are they in there?” The tests involved are not inexpensive, so start by investigating whether your location is within a known contamination source or threatened by one. State resources, e.g. New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), may have that information; in some cases they may provide the testing if you are part of an area they are monitoring.

If, however, you “just have to know” then by all means have the testing done. One cost effective source we have located is Absolute Resources in Portsmouth, NH.

If you uncover a situation that merits treatment, for reasons satisfactory to you, call us! We will be happy to evaluate it, and recommend a cost effective solution suited to your needs. Click here for more information about our water testing services.