Water Softener Size: How Big The Water Softener Do I Need?

What Size Water Softener Do You Need?

For Households to get hard water, it is essential to buy a water softener.

For starters, it is hard to adjust with the hard water, even though you use mineral water for drinking and hard water for other users.

They face many health issues such as dry skin, skin rashes and irritation, and many other like.

Water softener helps you treat that hard water and make it used not only for drinking but for regular household use.

Suppose you step out and go in the market to buy a water softener, but you don’t know the right size for it?

What would you do, you will end up buying one which is either bigger than your needs or fall short of your needs?

So, how would you know the size of the water softener do you know?

This is where we are going to help you. To make you decide the right size of water softener, the one that falls right on your everyday water consumption requirements.

What is Water Softener Capacity?

If you have been using a water softener, you might have that softener that comes with a different capacity Limit.

What is that capacity, and would you determine what capacity softener do you need?

Softener capacity depends on the type of water softener you are using. If you are using an ion-exchange salt-based water softener, the capacity determines how much hardness a water softener can remove before the regeneration process.

Regeneration is a process when gathered minerals and contaminations are flushed off, and the salt runs through the resin bed, refreshing all over again, for active removal of water hardness or calcium or magnesium ions.

So here the water softener capacity is directly linked to your water consumption. If you are a big family, you need a bigger water softener to meet your bigger water demands.

So, you can ask, how it matters in the size of a water softener for a home, you can still use water after regeneration.

Actually, it is the regeneration that provides you with soft water. If your water softener has stopped regenerating, you would not get any soft water.

If you run out of water, and your water softener is degenerating, in some cases you will get hard water, and if there is no direct valve you will get no water at all.

So, water softener capacity determines the capacity of water in one regeneration cycle. In some water softeners, the regeneration is automatic.

The machine senses the level of water and runs the regeneration process when there is enough water for use. And if it is manual, then you will have to manually operate it.

What Size Water Softener Do You Need?

Now, you might think of buying the biggest-sized water softener available? Right, stop, don’t spend your hard money just like this way.

Bigger the size of the water softener, the bigger the price it would be.

Why not you buy the right size, the size that fits your needs, and without spending you high, falls right on your requirements.

In my view, these are five things that determine the right side of the water softener for your home, as well as your business.

  • Water hardness
  • Water consumption
  • Water softening requirement
  • Total Grain Capacity
  • Salt Efficiency

I will be discussing every point in detail, and help you learn them in a better way so that you pick the right size.

Water hardness Level

Keep in mind, check your water hardness level using a water kit. Don’t take a wild guess, guess might lead to improper sizing, and the result would be your loss.

ither you will buy an oversized water softener or one that runs short of your requirements.

Water is classified as soft, moderately hard, and soft based on its calcium carbonate dissolving.

Softness level is measured in PPM (Parts per Million), MG/L, and GPG (Grains per gallon). Grains per gallon is what we mostly refer to and use as a standard.

So, what should you do is buy a water kit, or borrow it from anyone, because every household uses them, it ‘s not a big thing? You can buy it, it would not cost more than $20, I guess.

Test your water and measure the calcium level using a water kit. Match the water calcium level to the following chart to learn the hardness level.

  • Soft: 060/MG/L or 0-3.5 GPG
  • Moderately hard: 61/120 MG/L or 3.56-7.0 GP/G
  • Hard: 121-180 MG/L or 7.06-10.51 GP/G
  • Very Hard: > 180 MG/L or >10.51 GP/G

Water Consumption

Now comes the second part, the water consumption. Check the water consumption of your home, for the last few months and make note of total gallons.

There can be fluctuations between seasons and months, so take an average of the last six months.

According to experts and USGS officials, on average one person consumes around 75-80 gallons of water in 24-hours.

Suppose you are five people in the family, multiply 80 by the number of persons you have in your family.

If you think your consumption is higher, you can multiply the number of persons by 100 gallons too. For 5 persons, it would be 400 gallons.

Calculation or water softener requirement

Now you know the total consumption in gallons, hardness level, you can use the water softener calculator.

The formula is pretty straightforward, multiply the hardness by gallons per day. For example, if you have 5 persons in the family using 80 gallons per day, it will be 400 gallons per 24-hours.

Now, multiple the total gallons by water hardness, suppose water hardness is 8, then it would be 3200.

That means the water softener you are going to be should be big enough to remove 3200 grains in 24-hours.

Example= water hardness x total gallons per day

Total grains to be removed= 8×400=3200 grains per day

Total Grain Capacity

Water softeners come with the indication of how many grains per generation they can remove from the water. On average, you will see 24000, 32000, 48000, and 56000.

Now you know the capacity of the grains, taken from the water you use in 24-hours, and the hardness level in your area, you can easily determine the grain capacity water softener.

For instance, in our example, the total grain capacity per 24-hours was 3200 grains.

For one week it is, 22400 grains, in that case, a 25000 or 28000 grains capacity water softener would be a good pick for your family.

Now you learn the right size of a water softener for your home, there are a few more things you should pay attention to before deciding the right size.


It depends on the type of the water softener, its size, and degeneration method.

On average, a good-sized water softener with a dual tank can cost around 2000-2500 dollars. Plus, the installation cost can be around 200-300 dollars.

Don’t forget the salt cost, for regeneration. Some states ban salt-based water softeners to reduce the consumption of salt, and if that’s you, get ready to pay more.

If you run a small business or a big family that can’t survive with the water regeneration process. You may go with a dual tank water softener.

These softeners continue producing soft water even when degeneration happens, when one tank goes offline, the second tank still provides softened water.

Regeneration Frequency

Regeneration is like maintenance or servicing same as the way you get your car serviced after 10000 miles drive.

Water softeners are no different, they are like any other mechanical device. During the regeneration process, mechanical parts of the softener have to work.

If you have a metered water softener, then it will automatically sense the water level and denigrate when there is enough water available, so that you never run short of water.

On average, a good-sized water softener, regenerate once a week, and the water grains removal marked, from which the softeners are identified, also show per week capacity of grains removal.

Undersized Water Softener Problems

If you have purchased an undersized water softener, surely it will not cater to your soft water consumption requirements.

After a certain level of usage, the unit will be bypassed by the hard water, if you have a direct valve installed.

And the hard water will make its way through your plumbing, making you consume hard water, even without you being noticed.

One more thing, a water softener way too small will require frequent regenerations.

You will have to flush off all the impurities gathered by the system more often, as for collecting the impurities, the system is smaller than the required one.

Oversized Water softener problems

Well, in an oversized water softener case, there is nothing as big as in the case of undersized, except you more than what you should.

If you had calculated it better before, you could have saved your hard-earned money, as in the extra spent, you are not getting the extra advantage.

The same water softening could have been done using the smaller size compared to the one you purchased.

What is the salt requirement for a water softener?

Salt requirement and efficiency are directly related to the number of grains to regenerate.

For instance, if you are a family of 5 persons, consume 80 gallons per day, and your water hardness level is 8, the total grains your water softener needs to be removed is 3200.

For one week, in one cycle regeneration, it is 22400 grains regeneration.

To regenerate 22400 grains, you at least require 5 pounds of salt. Around 2.6 pounds of salt regenerate 13000 grains, for 27600 grains, you require 8 pounds of salt.

What Size Water Softener for A Family of Four?

Calculating the right water softener size is a really head-spinning task.

It is really difficult to first learn the water hardness level, then monitor the consumption of water by one person in the last 24-hours, and then multiply it all with the time regeneration happens.

Leave it all, if you are an average American family of four, you will go right with a 32000 GP softener, provided your water hardness level is not extreme.


In this post we tried to answer ‘what size of water softener do I need’. In this post, we tried to pen down all the required information a consumer requires before giving a final thought to a product.

It’s not that hard to determine the size of the water softener, it depends on four factors we tried to elaborate on in our post too.

  • Water consumption
  • Water hardness
  • Determining the right capacity

I am sure if you read through this guide you will end up finding the right product that surely will fall right ton your regular water consumption requirements.

Emily Davis

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