water softener regeneration

Water Softener Regeneration: All Facts You Should Know

Water softener regeneration is the process by which the water softener flushes out the minerals it has absorbed from the hard water so that it can keep softening fresh water as it enters. Continue reading, you will learn more about water softener regeneration.

What is Water Softener Regeneration?

Water softener regeneration is the process by which the water softener flushes out the minerals it has absorbed from the hard water so that it can keep softening fresh water as it enters. Your water softener replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions when it processes hard water. The resin bed is where this procedure takes place. Your water softener must remove the harsh minerals from the resin bed when it becomes saturated for this system to work.

How Does Water Softener Regeneration Work?

The water softener’s regeneration process is the most complex. A saltwater solution (brine) must be flushed through the system to clean it once the resin has successfully trapped all of the hardness minerals it is capable of.

Using the block salt that has been loaded into the machine, the water softener is flushed for 10 minutes as part of the regeneration process. To guarantee that softened water is continuously supplied to your home, each cylinder is cleaned individually. Your system won’t ever get any hard water.

In order to prepare the water softener for the subsequent service cycle, the water is used to flush the regenerate, which is a brine (salt solution), through the water softener. The water softener’s design, size, and efficiency all affect how many liters are used for each regeneration.

What Happens During the Regeneration Process?

During the regeneration process, the water softener floods the resin with brine water, thereby “cleaning” the hard minerals off the resin and sending them down the drain.

The water softener’s softening resin is now clean and prepared to start softening water once more. Depending on water usage, this cycle is repeated around once a week, giving your home consistently soft water.

Why Does a Water Softener Regenerate?

In ion-exchange water softeners, hard water is passed through a bed of resin beads. Calcium and magnesium from hard water minerals come into contact with the resin as it ages. As hard water passes through the bed, each bead attracts and holds the minerals in the water that make it “hard.” This is called “ion-exchanging,” and works much like a magnet attracting and holding metals. From the water softening system, soft water (without hard minerals) then continues to flow to the home’s water pipes.

Over time, as the hardness minerals are trapped in the resin, the resin fills up and the system will regenerate or recharge to remove the trapped hardness minerals so it can start the softening process again. Demand regeneration is often considered more efficient in both salt and water usage because the system only regenerates when it meets a pre-set softening capacity instead of simply regenerating on a given day, whether it needs regeneration or not.

water softener regeneration

What Are the Benefits of Soft Water?

Soft water leads to:

  • No embarrassing stains or hard water deposits on tubs and showers
  • Quicker, easier household cleaning
  • Less spotting on dishes and glassware
  • Reduced energy bills (improved water heater efficiency)
  • Lathers better while using up to 50% less soap
  • Whiter, brighter, and softer clothes
  • Extended life of water-using appliances
  • Smoother, softer skin

What are Regeneration and Block Salt?

To complete the regeneration, the water softener requires a certain quantity of salt. For instance, HarveyArc requires 300 grams of salt for each regeneration. Salt is fully dissolved in the brine solution at the cabinet’s base. 300 grams of salt requires 0.8 liters of water, this dissolves the salt and holds it in solution. The concentrated brine is therefore regenerated using 0.8 liters of water.

As it is injected into the water softener during regeneration, the concentrated brine is diluted with more water. In fact, the brine injector operates on the venturi principle, creating a vacuum as water passes through it. This causes the brine to be sucked into the injector as it enters the water softener.

How Long Does a Water Softener Take to Regenerate?

Most water softeners are programmed to recharge from 2:00 am – 4 am when homeowners are not using water. Regeneration takes approximately 2 hours to complete. The water softener will recharge on a regular basis, depending on things like water hardness and household water use. The water softener has a reserve capacity of 20% to 25% before it regenerates; this means that it regenerates when the resin beads are 75% to 80% saturated.

How Many Gallons of Water Does It Take to Regenerate?

During regeneration, a typical water softener for a family of 4 uses approximately 35 to 65 gallons of water, depending on the size of the water softener. The motor will start and stop several times while going through regeneration, which accounts for the noise you hear in the middle of the night.

The amount of water used during softener regeneration also 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 the water that could be wasted if you keep using hard water or even damage your home appliances.

How Often Should My Water Softener Regenerate?

A water softener system’s valve regulates how frequently a water softener regenerates or recharges. The valve or “control valve” is the ‘brain’ of the softener unit, since it gives the commands as to when the softener regeneration process will occur

Your water softener could regenerate once per month or several times a day. This will all depend on the capacity of your water softener, the volume of water that is used, and the characteristics of the water being treated.

water softener regeneration

As an illustration, a medium-sized water softener that is treating water with a total hardness of 10 Grains Per Gallon (GPG) for a home with a family of four needs to regenerate roughly every 10 days. Based on an adult using an average of 75 gallons of water each day and a water softener with a 32,000-grain capacity.

How Does a Water Softener Know When to Regenerate?

There are numerous makes and models of softeners, as well as numerous types of valves. However, a water softener regenerates when the control valve instructs it to do so. There are two different types of regeneration used in water softening, depending on the type of valve you have: time-initiated regeneration and demand regeneration.

In “time-initiated regeneration”, the clock on the control valve is typically set to have the system regenerate after a certain number of days and at a time of day with low water usage (the default setting is often 2 am). This process will repeat itself no less than once per week. A water treatment professional will determine the valve’s settings based on the quality of your water, the size of your resin tank, household water usage, the number of people living there, etc. Untreated water is accessible through an automatic internal bypass feature in case there is a need for it while the system is regenerating.

With demand regeneration settings, the valve keeps track of water usage and sends the softener into “regeneration mode” after a predetermined amount of water has been processed through the softener. It’s similar to how your cell phone works; if you use it frequently and have a lot of apps open, you’ll need to charge it more frequently. Similar principles apply to demand regeneration. The more frequently it needs to backwash, the more water you’re using. For instance, your unit will require more frequent regeneration if you have guests staying at your house and are using more water than usual.

Both regeneration methods have a long history of success. Demand regeneration is frequently regarded as more effective than time-initiated regeneration in terms of salt and water usage because the system only regenerates when it has exhausted its softening capacity rather than every day, whether or not it needs regeneration (as could happen with time-initiated regeneration).

Can Water Be Used 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 be letting hard water into your home. Best practices are 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. If possible, wait until the softener has finished regenerating before doing your laundry or taking a bath.

When Should I Check My Softeners’ Control Valve?

You might need to change the control valve’s time of day if you experience a prolonged power outage that lasts longer than an hour. The internal batteries of the majority of valves are made to store the time of day for up to 24 hours. For additional information, consult the installation and upkeep manual for your softeners.


Your home, your skin, and your wallet can all suffer from hard water. Water softeners combat these effects by producing better-quality water that increases the lifespan of your appliances while also improving the appearance and comfort of your home and you.