Tips & Advice
How often should a water softener be regenerated?
Water regeneration happens automatically based on criteria that you set; either by date and time or by water usage. Check your softener to determine which setting options you have. There isn’t an exact moment to engage regeneration, it’s simply a matter of usage levels (volume of water), and adding in the variables like quality of water, the ph levels of your water source, and water hardness (grains per gallon). Those factors contribute to the frequency of regeneration. If you are using more water, clean it more often. There are specific calculations you can use to set the regeneration frequency valve, so consult your owner’s manual or website for specifics. Standard regenerations can be done weekly or more frequently if you have harder water or heavy usage. Your brine/salt tank will run dry, so stay on top of keeping it filled properly or it cannot regenerate.
What is water softener regeneration?
Regeneration is a process used in salt water softening systems to flush the filtered contaminants (calcium and magnesium primarily) out of the system. Regeneration is just a fancy term for cleaning the system. During the softening process, resin beads in the system attract and hold specific contaminants. During regeneration, brine (ok, it’s just salt water) is drawn from a holding tank and run over the resin beads to clean them and flush away the contaminants they’ve collected. It’s like flushing the toilet, but with a fancier name. The process generally takes up to two hours.
Is a water softener the same as a water filter?
Water softeners and filtrations systems are not the same thing, but they do offer similar benefits. Filters and filtrations systems are designed to remove all impurities from your water before it comes out of the tap. The filtrations system designs are different from a water softening systems, which use salt and ion-exchange resins to remove magnesium and calcium, specifically. Filters aim to get all impurities, including chlorine, and metals related to your plumbing, whereas water softeners target specific elements (calcium and magnesium) for filtration.
Is a water softener a necessity?
You don’t necessarily have to use a water softener, but it may make sense if you are experiencing annoying side effects of hard water and you want a remedy. Are your sink or dishes and/or silverware stained from elements like calcium deposits? Are you seeing limescale build up in sinks and showers? Is your skin dry and itchy? All of these could be from hard water, specifically the levels of calcium and magnesium. Removing these elements can reduce the impact on your dishes, sinks and showers, and even your skin.
How long does a water softener last?
Standard water softener systems can have a life expectancy of about 10-15 years and even longer with proper care and maintenance. Salt systems have more parts to them, like the brine tank, thus increasing the chances for failures, while saltless systems are a newer technology, but with fewer parts to them. In considering life expectancy, the amount of softening your system is doing will impact longevity. More softening means more wear and tear on the system.
Is it safe to drink water from a water softener?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to drink water from a water softener. In fact, water softening is designed to make water safer and cleaner for drinking and cooking Water softeners remove elements like magnesium, calcium, and iron making it better and safer for consumption. If you have a salt or brine tank system, your softener is basically swapping out minerals while adding sodium to the water. That may not be a tasty solution, so know that there are options other than the brine tank system. The water is safe to drink.
What type of water softener is best?
There really isn’t a best type of water softener; there are four basic types of water softening systems:alt-free systems, the most popular type, which use no chemicals, potassium or, obviously, salt. They are least effective on the hardest water.
- Ion exchangers, which swap the ions in the water with sodium or potassium ions. They’re great for reducing hardness and lime scale issues, but the resulting water contains higher sodium content, affecting flavor.
- Magnetic softeners that use magnets around the pipes to draw out the metals. The downside is the water goes back to its hard stage after leaving the magnetic field. It’s the least practical method.
- Reverse osmosis softeners remove the impurities with pressure through a semipermeable membrane. They are highly effective, but can be pricey.
What is a water softener?
Water softener is a device that removes elements, primarily magnesium and calcium (but also, iron and manganese) that make your water hard. These minerals can make water unpleasant, and even potentially harmful, for drinking, and can affect limescale build up and cause dry skin irritation. Filters and “reverse ionization” techniques are used to remove those pesky elements from your water, while some salt water or “brine” systems add trace elements of sodium as part of the cleansing process, making your water safer and more palatable for consumption. However, the salt methods can leave your water with higher sodium content, which can be undesirable to the taste buds.