Softener Types

On a very simple basis, water softeners are classified by the amount of media or resin they hold, measured in cubic feet. The amount of resin determines the capacity of the softener. The softener can then be ordered with a timer operated valve or a 'metered on demand' operated valve.

How to select your Softener

The softener selected should have a large enough capacity for the hardness of your water and quantity of water used in your home (per day, week or month). The unit should be sized also considering that the regeneration of the unit should not occur more often than every other day. Convenience also is a significant factor in making your selection.

Timer models for instance, regenerate on a preset schedule and are less expensive. These units should be used when water use is predictable. Timer models may require manual regeneration if there are guests and obviously more water is being used. If you are going to be gone for an extended length of time, as on a vacation when little if any water is used, you would need to disconnect your softener so it would not continue to regenerate unnecessarily during your absence.

Demand control or metered valve softeners regenerate based simply on the amount of water used, instead of regenerating at a preset time. Because you don't have to worry about any of the things described above, as is necessary with the timer operated units, the metered units will use less salt and waste less water, as they do all of the "remembering" for you.

In theory, if your water is 10 grains hard and you have a 40,000 grain capacity water softener, 4,000 gallons of softened water would be produced with each regeneration. The average person, including adults and children, uses 80 gallons of water per day. If you have 4 people in your home then you would average 320 gallons of water per day. In this example, the softener would regenerate every 12 days, (4,000 gallons produced with each regeneration divided by the number of gallons of water used per day which is 320 in this case). This assumes that you have a metered valve type of softener (since a timer model would automatically regenerate on schedule whether you used the 4,000 gallons or not).

However, with a metered valve softener, 2100 gallons of softened water is the highest setting available before automatic regeneration. This should be a determining factor for sizing the unit you need.

Calculate your grains of hardness as follows: add twice the iron content to the actual hardness. Example: Actual hardness = 15 grains per gallon, Iron content = 3 parts per million, (same as mg/L, or milligrams per Liter). Twice the iron content (2x3)=6 plus the actual hardness of 15 equals a hardness of 21 grains per gallon.