If you have a water softener at home, you may already know that regeneration is a normal and necessary feature that helps maintain the magic of your operation. Basically, this process ensures that the water softener does not get clogged or dirty. A key role in how well a water softener works is the time it takes for the regeneration cycle. It takes approximately 80-90 minutes for the system to complete the entire regeneration cycle.
This guide covers the following important aspects related to water softener regeneration.
- What does water softener regeneration mean?
- Why must a water softener regenerate?
- How long does it take water softener to regenerate?
- What to do if a water softener isn’t regenerating?
What Does Water Softener Regeneration Mean?
Water softener regeneration occurs when your water softener flushes the system of any minerals built up from the hard water in the water softener and makes the water softer. This process is very important to the system because you can only extract a limited amount of minerals without regeneration.
One thing to note about regeneration is if something is wrong with your regeneration cycle. This could indicate that there is something wrong with your water softener and should be checked to see if the water quality has decreased or changed.
Why Must a Water Softener Regenerate?
Regeneration is an important part of the water softening function. In fact, one of the main ways to know if your water softener has a problem is to look for an irregular regeneration schedule. The regeneration process removes minerals from the components of your water softener.
Without this process, the resin bed would contain too many minerals to function properly. Some water softeners regenerate every day, and others are regenerate once a week. It all depends on the type of control valve your water softener has.
How Long Does It Take Water Softener to Regenerate?
In general, a water softener should regenerate every two to three days, especially if you live in an area with very hard water. Well water softeners, where the water is usually even harder, may take less time to regenerate. Some may regenerate daily, and others may regenerate once a week. It all depends on the type of control valve your water softener has. It can be measured, metered, or based on actual water demand. On top of that, you also have a water softener setting that allows you to change the number of pounds of salt used in the regeneration cycle. To check and ensure your water softener is regenerating, purchase a water hardness testing kit to ensure the water is free of contamination and your water softener is regenerating the right way.
- One type of valve has a clock that operates according to a timer schedule. For example, if you set it to regenerate once a week on a Monday morning, it will regenerate at that time.
- The second one is the metered valve which operates according to water consumption, and regeneration occurs only when the pre-set limit is reached, and the meter is activated.
- The last type of valve is the actual demand valve, which operates according to the amount of water used and needed. This option is one of the best ways to save salt and wastewater. You can also manually trigger the regeneration cycle, but with a fully operational system, you don’t need to do so.
In the 80-90 minute regeneration process of a water softener, the process has 5 parts. These are filling, brining, brine rinse, backwash, and a fast wash. Below are the details of each part of the process and the duration of each part.
(5 to 20 minutes) This is when the water fills up in the brine tank to dissolve the salt with the water creating brine that will eventually wash away the resinous particles of the minerals they collect.
(30 minutes to 60 minutes, depends on the softener and softener age) This is where the brine generated during the filling process begins to fill the plastic bucket in batches and cycles to flush and remove all mineral deposits in the resin. It will take longer to renew the resin beads fully.
(Up to 5 minutes) During the cycle, the plastic tub is rinsed again with a smaller amount of brine to remove residue and remaining minerals to ensure that the plastic tub is separate.
(Up to 10 minutes) This is when the plastic tub is quickly filled with water and washed several times to remove any remaining minerals or brine in the tub.
(Up to 10 minutes) This is the final rinse of the resin tank to ensure all brine is removed and the resin bed is placed back.
What to Do If Water Softener Isn’t Regenerating?
Check these before you start troubleshooting. Is the water softener plugged in or installed correctly, is the brine tank full of salt, is the drain valve in place, the valves have water flow, the correct time day is displayed on the top of the softener, and you can start the regeneration cycle manually.
If this doesn’t work, you may have: a broken timer, a saltwater injector problem, drain pipe blockage, salt bridge, the incorrect amount of water in the brine tank, plastic layer contaminated vents, or engine failure. In such cases, you need to replace the damaged components of the water softener.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use water during softener regeneration?
You can use water while regenerating your water softener, but there are some things to consider. First, use hard water instead of soft water during the softener regeneration period if you have a single tank system. Second, you may notice a drop in water pressure. This is because we are trying to use water in two large systems simultaneously, which allows us to maximize water pressure. Finally, using water during regeneration may slow down regeneration. This happens because less water is available for the water softener as two parts of the house are trying to capture higher water demand.
2. How much water is required in the brine tank after regeneration?
It depends on whether you have a wet or dry system for your water softener. If you have a wet system, you will always have water inside your brine tank. This amount varies from 6 to 10 inches of water or 3 to 6 gallons of water.
3. Why does a water softener regenerate?
The water softener needs to regenerate because the resin layer absorbs all the minerals of the hard water so that the soft water can flow out of the softener. If the water softener does not regenerate, you will run out of soft water after a short time, depending on water usage (from a week to a month).