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How Often Should My Water Softener Regenerate?

How Often Should My Water Softener Regenerate?

Do you know how often your water softener regenerates? Does it regenerate every night? How often SHOULD it regenerate? What determines the frequency of regeneration anyway?

To fully understand today's blog and video, it's best to have an understanding of what water softener regeneration is. In case you don’t know, check out my YouTube video here first.



In a water softener brine tank, salt and water is used to make brine. The brine is used to recharge or regenerate the media beads.The more water you and your family use, the more often your water softener needs to regenerate the media.

Most modern water softeners are the metered water softeners (or demand initiated type) which means they measure how much water you use and regenerate based on their settings.Once you’ve used up their capacity of soft water and start getting into the reserve capacity, they schedule a regeneration based on the next REGEN time setting.


The other type of water softener is a time clock water softener, which is exactly as it sounds. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a time clock water softener you need to do more calculations to determine best settings. I say "unfortunate" because those water softeners are not very efficient.

As water usage often varies in households, you end up either regenerating too frequently to make sure you have enough soft water between regenerations, or not often enough when you have higher demand because you’ve suddenly used more water due to more people being in the home or more water usage or for other reasons.

You can tell if your water softener is metered or time clock by looking to see if there is a cable running from behind the valve into the valve -- that likely means it’s metered. Most electronic water softeners will indicate water flow through the valve, so just run some water to see if that is the case with yours.


To calculate your REGEN settings, you’ll need the following information:

  • Hardness in grains per gallon (gpg) [parts per million (ppm) divided by 17] 
    --> 12 Iron in ppm = 1.5
  • Number of people in family --> 4 people
  • Manganese in ppm --> 0.5 ppm
  • Softener size --> 40,000

If you’re investing in one of our HUM water softeners, which are all metered and come pre-programmed, you just need to calculate the compensated hardness number as follows:

  1. Hardness in gpg (grains per gallon) – example: 12
  2. Multiply the Iron in ppm (parts per million) by 4 – example: 1.5ppm x 4 = 6
  3. Multiply the Manganese in ppm by 6 – example: 0.5ppm x 6 = 3
  4. Tally up #1-3 to get Compensated Hardness – example: 12 + 6 + 3 = 21
    Then just enter the Compensated Hardness Number (i.e. 21) for hardness in your water softener settings and you’re done!

Now based on your water usage, your water softener will regenerate either based on your usage or every 14 days, whichever comes first.

If you have a Time Clock water softener, you’ll need to do a bit more calculating. Check out the step-by-step calculation tips in today's blog video below!

After watching the blog video, you will see there is significantly more involved to correctly setting up a Time Clock water softener compared to metered water softener.

Either way, you need to know your water chemistry to setup your water softener to make sure it operates efficiently. Ideally, if your water softener is sized correctly, it will regenerate every few days but at least once every 14 days. If this is not the case, check out my troubleshooting tips below.


  • If it’s programmed correctly but it regenerates every night, it’s too small.
  • If yours is a metered softener and suddenly it’s regenerating far more often than usual be sure to check for leaks in your household plumbing --especially a toilet that doesn’t shut off.
  • Not regenerating at all? Maybe the meter has stopped working. 

Have more questions? Need further help with your water softener installation or maintenance? Check out our extensive how-to video playlists at GarytheWaterGuy,com or reach out to us here.  



Click here for your next video on water softeners and I’ll see you there!

Video Transcript