To ensure continued water quality, your water softener must regenerate regularly. Regenerating every two to three days is sufficient.

Although, more efficient water softeners can regenerate every day or even multiple times a day. It depends on factors like the hardness of the water and how old the system is.

Knowing when to regenerate your water softener is important for maintaining water quality. The hard water passes through a resin bed to get rid of the calcium and magnesium ions that cause the hardness in water.

The resin gets saturated over time and is regenerated using salt. Regeneration keeps your water systems working as efficiently as possible.

How Often Does A Water Softener Regenerate?

Water softeners should regenerate consistently. If they don’t, the resin beads get saturated with ions of calcium and magnesium and the water softener stops functioning. Regeneration removed the minerals from the resin, which keeps the water softener functional.

Water softeners regenerate every 2 to 3 days. Whether your water softener needs to regenerate more often will depend on the following factors:

  • Water hardness -The hardness of the water has the most direct effect on how often your water softener needs to regenerate. The amount of iron in the water also plays a part in regeneration needs.

  • Water usage - Your daily water usage. If there are a lot of people in your house, your water softener will need to regenerate more often as your household uses more water.

    Similarly, if you have houseguests, there will be an increase in water intake. This will also have an impact on your water softener’s regeneration needs.

  • Grain capacity - The capacity of your resin tank also determines the frequency of regeneration.

  • System age - How long you’ve had your system has an effect on how often it needs to regenerate. For example, a single tank electric water softener will need to regenerate more often the older it gets because it loses capacity over time.

    Also, municipal water supplies add chlorine to the water, which decreases the capacity of your water softener.

The Control Valve

How often your water softener regenerates is primarily dependent on the kind of control valve it has. There are 3 kinds of water softener control valves:

  • Clock-Based Regeneration - In this case, you decide when the water softener will regenerate. For example, if you set it for 3 days, it will regenerate every 3 days, whether the resin beads are saturated or not.

    If you have a single tank water softener, the regeneration is done during low water use, as you won’t have access to treated water at this time. It is best to set the clock to regenerate at night so that untreated water doesn’t go into the house.

  • Metered Control Valve - Metered control valves are based on water usage. First, you set a certain water usage limit. A meter will monitor your water usage and when it reaches the threshold, it starts the regeneration process.

    Meter-controlled valves are better than clock-based regeneration, as it only triggers regeneration when it reaches the pre-set water usage limit. This saves both salt and water.

  • True Demand Control Valve - This is perhaps the most efficient control valve of the three. It is non-electric and demand based—regeneration is based on actual water use.

    It is called ‘true demand’ because it only triggers regeneration only when it is needed—metered control valves will trigger regeneration only when the preset water limit is reached, while regeneration could be needed earlier or be unnecessary.

    This saves relatively more salt and water. How much salt it uses is also customizable, so you can save more salt too.

    Note that you will need to use more salt as time passes if you have a single tank system because they lose capacity over time. However, this should only be done by a water treatment professional.

All three types of valves have worked well for regeneration. However, metered and true demand control valves are considered more efficient and environmentally friendly as they conserve salt and water.

If you’re wondering when to regenerate your water softener, having a metered or true demand control valve will help automate the process more efficiently based on water usage.

If you use clock-based regeneration, you have to determine when to regenerate your water softener based on average water use in your house.

Can You Use Water When Softener Is Regenerating?

You can use water while the water softener is regenerating, but is definitely not recommended. The hard water passes through the pipes when you use water while the system is regenerating and it could potentially stay in the system for a long time.

This can cause a build-up that will eventually damage the equipment. It typically takes 2 to 2.5 hours for regeneration, depending on the make, model and capacity. Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not use water while the softener is regenerating.

How Long Should A Water Softener Regenerate?

How long it takes to regenerate depends on the brand, model and capacity. On average, it takes between 2-3 hours for a water softener to regenerate.

It is not recommended to use water while the water softener is regenerating. Therefore, it is best to set the water softener for regeneration at low-usage time periods like nighttime.

How Can I Tell If My Water Softener Is Currently Regenerating?

The simplest way to determine if the water softener is working is to test the water. You can buy water hardness kits that will tell you the condition of your water. If the amount of minerals in the water is between 0 to 0.17 mg per liter, the water is categorized as soft water.

You can also use soap to test the softness of the water. If the soap produces lather and bubbles when mixed with water, you can rest assured that your water softener is regenerating properly.

However, this is not a scientific test. You can only use it to confirm your suspicions. Do more tests for scientific data on how your water softener is functioning.

Wrapping Up

We hope you have a better idea of when to regenerate your water softener. It depends on several different factors and the process is largely managed by the control valve of your system.

If you are still confused about when to regenerate your water softener, consult a water treatment professional to help clear your doubts.