How Long Should Water Softeners Run For How Long?
The water coming into your home can be hard – the United States Geological Survey reports that most homes receive some sort of hard water (with the hardest waters being found in Hawaii, Texas, Kansas, southern California, and Arizona).
A well-designed water softener system uses a process called ion exchange to remove minerals that cause hardness. These are usually calcium and magnesium.
This process works by passing the hard water over a bed of porous plastic polystyrene resin beads, which trap these minerals and make them soft. Over time, though, the resin becomes saturated with minerals and needs to be recharged, which is known as regeneration.
Some water softeners regenerate on a regular basis, while others are designed to do it based on user demand. Regardless of the type, water softeners need to be periodically recharged so that they can function optimally and avoid costly interruptions.
How long should a water softener regeneration cycle last?
Most water softeners go through a series of four or five stages during their regeneration cycles. The first stage is a brine flush, which cleans the treatment medium by reversing the chemical reaction that binds salt to hard minerals in your water. Once the salt has been regenerated, your water softener is ready to take another round of minerals out of your water.
The second stage is a brine recharge, which replenishes the salt levels in the resin tank. If you are experiencing issues with your water softener regenerating and you have no idea what to do, you can try running the brine recharge manually.
If the brine recharge cycle runs for a very long time, it could be a sign that your water softener has a problem. A clogged drain line or another underlying issue could be the culprit. You could also want to check the pressure in your home – if it is too low, you might have an issue with the pump or brine valve.
You might want to check for a broken control head, which can keep your water softener from regenerating. Some control heads may require replacement if they get jammed up and can no longer regulate water flow to the resin tank.
A clogged drain line or other blockage in your brine tank can also prevent the salt from being regenerated and softened. If you notice that the salt level in your brine tank hasn’t gone down, you should call in a professional to repair it.
Your water softener will need to be regenerated on an ongoing basis, so you should be aware of when it’s due and what it’s taking. Typically, water softeners need to be regenerated at least once a week for moderately hard water or every two weeks for extremely hard water.
When your water softener is regenerating, you should be able to hear it working and see it filling up with salt. Some systems use a clock or metered schedule, which means you need to be sure that the meter is reading the correct amount of water each day and regenerating as needed.