Homeowners who are new to water softeners generally have some questions about how they work. As the top choice for water softener installation in St. George, Utah, we answer as many of these questions as possible when they bring them to us.
One of the most common questions we’ve received in recent times is about the frequency of regeneration. How often should a water softener regenerate? What does the process entail? We’ll cover the details in this post.
What Is Water Softener Regeneration?
The process of regeneration in a water softener flushes out minerals from the resin beads. It’s an important process that makes sure the beads don’t become oversaturated with minerals.
When water from the city pipes or your underground well pass through the resin beads in your water softener, the sodium in the beads will trigger an ion swap, removing the minerals in the water and replacing them with sodium. When the beads become clogged with minerals, this exchange can no longer work. That’s when regeneration kicks in.
The regeneration process draws on the salt you add to the softener to replenish the sodium the resin beads need to function properly. After removing the minerals, the resin beads can return to doing their jobs.
Regeneration is an integral part of a water softener’s function. If your system doesn’t regenerate at regular intervals, it’s a sign that something is wrong and that you’re probably getting hard or semi-hard water for your everyday usage.
The Right Frequency for Water Softener Regeneration
So, how often should a water softener regenerate? Most systems will regenerate every couple of days or once a week. However, the right answer is it depends. Many modern softeners have an automated schedule, but most of them allow you to tweak the schedule manually.
Some of the factors that determine the frequency of your water softener’s regeneration include:
- The water’s initial hardness level. The water softener may need to regenerate two to three times per week if your water level is hard.
- Iron content. You’ll likely experience more frequent regeneration if your water is high in iron.
- Frequency of water usage. If your household uses up water quickly, the water softener will need to regenerate more frequently to keep up with the demand.
- Resin tank capacity. The larger the tank, the longer it will take for the resin to become saturated and require regeneration.
- System age. Like other such systems, most water softeners will lose capacity over time. So, they’ll need to regenerate more often to keep up with water demand.
- Chemical deterioration. The system will need to regenerate faster if there’s a high level of chlorine in the water.
- Type of control valve. Timer-controlled valves will regenerate more frequently than demand-controlled valves. If you hear the system running at odd hours, you most likely have a timer-controlled valve.
How Long Does the Water Softener Regeneration Process Take?
Water softener regeneration may take up to 90 minutes to complete. The exact duration will come down to the size of the resin beads compartment. So, when you hear the tank running for longer than half an hour, there’s no need to worry.
How Much Water Does Water Softener Regeneration Consume?
Depending on the hardiness of the water supplies, water softeners in most homes across Utah will need around 20 to 25 gallons of water to complete regeneration.
Many people have voiced concerns about how wasteful the process is. However, the overall benefits of having water devoid of hard chemicals and minerals outweigh the cons. Remember, you’ll waste a lot more water trying to wash with hard water. You also can’t cook with it.
What To Do When Your Water Softener Doesn’t Regenerate
While it’s normal to worry about your water softener running too frequently, a system that doesn’t seem to regenerate at all brings a new level of concern. However, there’s usually an explanation for why a water softener isn’t regenerating. It’s not always a sign that the unit is broken.
The softener may not regenerate if you have a demand-controlled valve and your water usage habits have changed in recent times. If you have a time-based schedule, you may have adjusted the settings accidentally. Additionally, there will be no water regeneration if you forget to add salt to the brine tank.
What To Do When Water Softener Can’t Stop Regenerating
On rare occasions, homeowners have reported that their softeners can’t seem to stop regenerating. If you notice this problem, it’s highly likely that you have a clog in the connection somewhere. The first places to look are the venturi valve, the drain line, and the brine valve.
Low water pressure can also keep the softener running longer than it should. Therefore, it’s best to call in an expert for a proper diagnosis of the problem.
Why Do Water Softeners Regenerate at Odd Hours?
If your water softener always seems to regenerate in the middle of the night, you have a timer-controlled system. Manufacturers set the regeneration time to the hours of the day when water usage is unlikely so that the regeneration can complete without interference.
If you change the time to standard waking hours, you run the risk of introducing mineral-laden hard water into your home. Using your faucets while the softener is regenerating means you’ll get unprocessed (and sometimes cloudy) water. If you do it frequently, your plumbing system will start to suffer from the impact of hard water.
Solve Your Water Softener Problems Today
How often should a water softener regenerate? The answer isn’t always straightforward, as you’ve seen above. However, you should now have an idea of what to expect.
If you have a demand-controlled system and don’t have a large household, your water softener will not regenerate frequently. On the other hand, a timer-controlled system will run at the same time every few days or every week.
For definitive guidance on how your system operates, call (435) 990-4418 to schedule a consultation with the Iron Mountain Plumbing team today. We can also install whole-home water filtration systems for you.
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