At one point or the other, you may have heard some sound that indicates your water softener is regenerating. Often though, you wonder how the appliance works and if it is functioning as it should. You are not alone; a lot of house owners ask several questions concerning the effectiveness of their water softener. Questions like how often should my water softener regenerate or how should I adjust my water softener regeneration are common. Whatever your concerns are about your water softener regeneration, this post tries to answer your questions and shares some of the things you need to know.
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What is water softener regeneration?
To perform the major function of softening your water, the water softener gets into the task of ion exchange. Every softener has a bed of resin, and this resin extracts the hardness in your water by capturing the calcium and magnesium ions that cause hardness.
The beads inside water softeners looks like these
After a while, the resin bed becomes saturated with these hardness-causing minerals, and there comes the need for regeneration. Softener regeneration is simply the process of removing the minerals or ions absorbed from the resin beads in your water softener.
How does your water softener regenerate?
Salt contains sodium ions that help your water softener to regenerate by cleansing the resin beads. When you add salt to your brine tank, the softener regenerates by flushing away the minerals absorbed by the resin beads and replacing them with the sodium ions in the salt. Unlike the calcium and magnesium being flushed out, sodium refreshes your water and results in softening. Regular water softener regeneration improves the lifespan of your water softener by helping it function effectively.
How long does water softener regeneration take?
The process of water softener regeneration varies depending on the size of the water tank. However, average regeneration takes about ninety minutes.
How do I know if my water softener is regenerating?
You will usually hear some sounds when the water softener is regenerating. Also, when you are still able to get soft water, then this may indicate that your softener is regenerating fine. However, once you start noticing that you have hard water, maybe when you find that your water no longer lathers as quickly, then your softener may have stopped regenerating. Problems with softener regeneration may be due to clogging by salt clumps or an empty brine tank.
How do I adjust my water softener regeneration?
You can adjust the frequency of your water softener regeneration by recognizing the several factors that affect the frequency of regeneration. Bear in mind the hardness of your water, the capacity of your tank, and the softening equipment that you use.
If you use a timed softener, there is already a scheduled period that the softener regenerates. You can set this time by doing an estimation of your average water usage in the house, the more water you use, the more often your softener will need to be regenerated. Once you set a time, the softener will regenerate whether you have used up the water or not. It will also regenerate whether your resin bead is concentrated or not.
On the other hand, if you have a metered softener, this will regenerate on its own by checking the amount of water that you use. A metered softener monitors water usage and regenerates once the set water usage level has been triggered. The metered softener will not regenerate until water has reached the preset threshold.
There is also the true demand softener type. This is different from the metered as there is no set threshold, the valve itself will determine when regeneration is needed either when water is low, or the resin bead has absorbed too many hardness-causing minerals.
How much water is discharged from a water softener during regeneration?
The amount of water used during softener regeneration varies depending on the hardness of the water. Some softeners may use between 20 to 25 gallons of water during regeneration. Although this might seem like a lot of water, the process saves you a lot of water that could be wasted if you keep using hard water or even damage to your water-using appliances.
Using water during water softener regeneration
Using water during regeneration is possible but may cause some adverse effects, especially if you have a single tank system because while the softener is regenerating, you may have hard water. It is advised to set your softener regeneration to midnight or early hours of the morning to avoid using water while the softener is regenerating. If you have to, you should use only small amounts of water during regeneration like flushing, washing hands, or drinking. You may postpone your laundry or bath till after the softener has finished regenerating.
How often should my water softener regenerate?
Your water softener must regenerate regularly. While some softener regenerates daily, others may regenerate once or a few times a week, and some may regenerate just once in two weeks. The frequency of regeneration depends on the volume of your tank, water usage, and hardness.
If your tank is huge and treats lots of water at a time, your water softener may need to regenerate daily. Also, if the hardness level of your water is very high, regeneration will most likely occur every day. Regeneration, in some cases, occurs once per month while some softener can regenerate more than once in a day.
Your water softener will regenerate based on;
- The volume of water that is being treated at a time
- The capacity of your tank
- The amount of water you use
- The hardness of your water
- The part per million of iron
- The age of your softener equipment
There is no hard and fast rule about how often your softener should regenerate. The trick is to understand how your water softener works. This way, you can easily detect when the softener is not regenerating as it should. Some water softeners work based on a timed schedule while some regenerate according to demand. To understand which method your softener uses, you should refer to the manual or consult a water specialist.
Typically, an average-sized tank with a level of hardness between 7 to 10 grains per gallon may only have to regenerate once in 10 to 14 days.
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