Setting softener regeneration cycles for low maintenance
In general, water softeners should regenerate every 3-7 days (or more frequently if your water is much harder than average).
Older or more basic level soften systems will have a regeneration timer, which sets the control valve to activate regeneration in set periods. Newer or more premium systems will have auto-modulating regeneration systems with sensors and microprocessors. This allows them to regenerate on-demand and maximize salt consumption efficiency.
Both types of regeneration systems usually allow for user programming. As you live with your softener, you’ll begin to get a sense of the optimal regeneration cycle for your needs.
(If your water softener is still new, head over to our page on water softener installation tips).
How do I set the right regeneration cycle for my water consumption habits?
Most water softeners have four regeneration settings. These are cycle frequency, cycle time, cycle length, and salt quantity.
Cycle frequency is probably the regeneration variable that homeowners will adjust the most. It determines how often the resin bed in the mineral tank is renewed with salt.
You’ll want to set this at a frequency where the resin bed is replenished before it becomes saturated with hard minerals, but not so often that you’re wasting salt. This is likely to be in the region of 2-4 days.
Cycle time is the time of day when regeneration/backwashing occurs. This should be set to a point in the day when water demands are at a minimum (such as during the night).
However, the regeneration cycles of some softeners can be noisy, so it’s important to take into account whether the noise will disturb sleep (if, say, the softener is fixed to a wall adjoining a bedroom).
Not all water softeners have a manual cycle length option, but if your system does, it can be an effective way to fine-tune efficiency.
Cycle length determines the length of the backwash, similar to how you might select the length of a dishwasher or laundry machine cycle. Shortening the regeneration cycle will mean that your softener is available to do its job for a higher proportion of the day.
However, setting the cycle too short may result in an improbably cleansed resin bed.
The final of the four major cycle settings controls how much salt is dosed per regeneration cycle. This option is relevant if you feel that your system isn’t adequality demineralizing your water.
Adding more salt into the brine that covers the resin bed should give the softener performance. At the same time, increasing the salt dosage will mean more frequent refills.