How Often Should You Regenerate Water Softener?

You have installed a new water softener, as the water you get is very hard, and to make it filtered, you have purchased a softener.

Now, you came to know that softener requires regeneration. Regeneration is more like recharging; the machine gets itself recharged or serviced to perform at its peak.

Most of the households get confused about how often should their water softener regenerate?

Well, the frequency of the water softener depends on the type of softener you have, it’s capacity or size, and the hardness level.

Some water softener regenerates themselves based on needs, and some o schedules.

You can set the schedule, after a particular gallon of water filtering your water softener should regenerate itself, or set the hours, days, or weeks.

Water softeners come with a valve that controls the water softener regeneration.

When this control valve is rolled or the knob is turned at an angle, the water softener regenerates or recharges.

Don’t worry, if you are a new water softener user, and are not getting anything, just stay there.

I will elaborate everything in detail, and make you learn at least about the water softener regeneration schedule, maintenance, types, and how often should you regenerate it.

But, before we get into the details, let’s learn about regeneration.

How Often Should You Regnerate Water Softener

What is regeneration?

Regeneration as I mentioned is more like servicing or recharging. It is the key way to tell if something is wrong with your water softener, if the regeneration is going on smoothly, that means your softener is working fine.

The water softener consists of two tanks; a brine or sodium solution tank and resin beads. The resin beads are negatively charged beads, when sodium or brine solution is flushed through them, the sodium ion is positively charged, beads capture the sodium ions.

Hard water comes dissolved with minerals such as calcium and magnesium. When hard water passes through the beads, positively charged sodium breaks the dissolved minerals in the water and sodium, and resin beads attract those minerals on it.

After a particular amount of water softening or filtering, these sodium ions are surrounded by minerals and lose their capacity of attracting more minerals to them, due to the lack of sodium ions.

Now, in regeneration, all these minerals surrounded by the resin beads are flushed and drained. New sodium solution is flushed through the resin beads, so that they can attract sodium ions on them, to capture more minerals.

How often should you regenerate water softener?

There are actually two types of regeneration; time-initiated and consumer demand.

Water softener comes with a control valve or knob, either you turn the knob to initiate the consumer demanding regeneration, or it turns automatically if it is set as time initiated.

Either one you are using; is the control valve that gets turned on to make the water softener regenerate.

Well, it can also depend on the type of water softener you are using, maybe the one you are using comes with a different setting for regeneration initiation.

Whatever it is you, you can read the user manual, and learn how to start and when to start the regeneration process.

The question here is, how does water softener know when to regenerate? Let’s learn how it goes with time-initiated water softener regeneration.

Time Initiated

In time imitated water softeners, the control valve, the culprit behind regeneration, the control valve is attached to a clock after the set time is passed, it can be days, weeks, or hours, it automatically initiates the regeneration.

You can though change the time duration, and extend the time between regeneration cycles if the water in your area is not that hard, or your consumption is lower than expected.

You can determine that by yourself or can make the professionals set it for you during the installation. The default time too can be changed, it is usually 2 am in most of the softeners.

Demand Regeneration

If you don’t know the exact amount of usage, or the right setting for regeneration, demand regeneration is the best.

It keeps a record of the water gallons passed through or filtered through the water softener and initiates the filtration after a set amount of water is passed.

In other words, it operates like your phone, if you have lots of apps running, you will have to charge your phone more frequently.

For me, demand regeneration is the best, you don’t have any need to set the time, or do anything. Let the machine calculate that for yourself.

The only downside of this can be, it sometimes initiates the regeneration in the time when you need water the most.

It could be the morning time when the set amount of water is reached, or filtered through, the softener will start regeneration in the morning. Although during the regeneration, you still can have water, it will be hard water or tap water.

Factors affecting the water softener regeneration cycle

As I mentioned, it is more than one thing that affects the water softener regeneration cycle. Let’s discuss them.

1. The hardness of the Water

Water hardness is the single most important and worth mentioning aspect that affects water softener regeneration cycles.

Harder your water is, the more calcium and magnesium it will contain, and the greater the ion exchange rate will be.

So, more frequently you will be regenerating your water, in both time initiated, and consumer demanded type of water softeners.

Thus, more salt will be required, and the resin beads may require more replenishing.

As per my experience, your water softener may regenerate on daily basis, if the water hardness in your area is unusual, well, this might look hectic but you will be getting soft water in an area where hard water consumption can put your health at risk.

2. Gallons of water

How many gallons of water do you consume per day, this is another important aspect that influences the water hardness?

If your consumption of water is high, your water softener will be regenerating more frequently than those with a lesser amount of consumption.

For larger families, it might be regeneration once in a day if consumption is more than average, with a smaller sized tank water softener.

3. Tank Size

Your water softener tank size is also influential in making your water softener regenerate more frequently.

So, it is always recommended to buy a water softener after looking at your water consumption on regular basis, if you have the right sized water softener for your family, for your higher water softening requirement, it will have a bigger sized resin tank, lesser regeneration will happen.

4. Iron Level

Sometimes, you never know what is making your water softener regenerate too often until you test your water and check it is the high iron level that is making the softener regenerate more than it is required to.

It is contamination, a mineral that can easily be treated like the way other minerals are, but if it is a high quantity, then it not only impacts your health, and make you regenerate more often, but it can damage your water softener too.

If it is high iron contamination in your water, it happens mostly when you have a private well, then you should use an iron filter that filters the water from iron before it enters the water softener. Or you can use a specialized water softener for iron removal.

5. Worn out resin beads

If you have an old water softener and have been using it for years for regeneration without the resin beads replaced, this too triggers your water softener to regenerate too often.

Yes, with time, the resin beads lose their efficiency and capability to retain the same volume of minerals.

This will obviously lead to more regeneration, as it would not be able to retain fewer sodium ion particles for exchange.

6. Old water softener

With time, the water softener gets old, and what about the regeneration frequency?

When a water softener gets old, its time between two regenerations also decreases, and it requires regeneration more frequently.

In some cases, if your water consumption requirements are high, it can regenerate more than once a day.

No matter how big or qualitative your water softener is in the beginning, it loses its effectiveness over its years of service.

Well, it would not be within 2-3 years of water softener, it can happen after 5 or 10-years.

7. Brine Tank

Brine tank efficiency can also impact water softener regeneration. If the brine tank is not working properly or clogged it would not be able to carry out regeneration smoothly.

If you forget to fill up the brine tank or empty it out on time, the entire softening process gets affected.

If there is a blockage in the brine tank, if there is a sodium bridge in the brine tank, it will prevent the water from dissolving sodium.

You know that dissolving sodium in the water is the most crucial aspect, if it does not happen, your softener will be regenerating more often.

As the result, the amount of water that passes through the softener requires, and the system will be regenerating more frequently or more often than required.

How does a water softener know when to regenerate?

It depends on the type of water softener you are using. Mostly there are two types of water softeners; time initiated and consumer demanded.

In time-initiated regeneration, the clock is attached to the valve and controls its turning.

It turns on automatically after the set hours or days pass, you can also set the time of the day for regeneration, by default it is usually 2 am.

In user demand regeneration, the softener regenerates after a set number of gallons of water gets filtered.

Most of the users prefer this water softener regeneration setting but there is a negative side of it.

Sometimes, it starts regeneration at the time when you require or need the water the most.

What to do when My Water Softener Doesn’t Regenerate?

If you are using the water softener for the first time, then you should read the user manual and under about the regeneration and its schedule.

If you find out that the regeneration is lesser than it should be or more frequently than it should be, you need to follow the mentioned points.

If the water softener is set-on on-demand regeneration, then maybe the usage or consumption of water of your home has changed.

You can reset its regeneration and its schedule. If it is a time-based schedule, then maybe you have accidentally adjusted the settings at some point.

The one thing that you keep a good check on is, the brine tank should be refilled so that the softener could resume the salt for regeneration schedule and cycle.

What’s the problem is my water softener is regenerating too often?

Most of the water softeners require regeneration once or twice a week. Or if your water consumption requirements are more than average, it can be thrice in a week.

But, the best thing for you would be to check your water consumption before buying a water softener and set it to regeneration.

If your water softener is regenerating too often then its resin beads are replenished by the new sodium ions when it has not yet become saturated with the minerals.

In other words, useable sodium will be washed and flushed off in the drain tank.

If it is happening for a long time, you should check your resin beds and see if they are worn out. Or you will be wasting too much salt, and water at the same time.


How often should you regenerate water softener is dependent on more than one thing. It is also based on the type of softener you are using, and its settings. 

If it is a time-initiated water softener, then it will automatically turn on the control knob of regeneration after the set time is passed.

For user demand regeneration, it depends on the gallons of water it has filtered. The softener records the gallons of water, and after the set gallons are reached, it starts regeneration.

Emily Davis

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