What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

The miscalculation of water softener efficiency and requirements may waste your money when it comes to “what size water softener do I need?” As we all know that water softeners come in different sizes, require different amounts of salt and regeneration. 

Before buying the rightly sized water softener, you need to understand the concept of salt efficiency of the water softener and how to integrate this with the correct sizing model. Sometimes, it happens that the properly sized water softener consumes large amounts of salt to soften it which becomes costly. 

what size water softener do i need?

Whereas with an efficient model, you save a huge amount in terms of salt consumption. This article will help you how to size a water softener. 

What Size Water Softener Do I Need? Things To Consider

Daily softening requirement, water hardness and water consumptions are the key factors one should sort out before buying the water softener. First measure the amount of your daily water consumption. Then select the softener to remove water hardness accordingly. 

Let’s go deep down to understand this further.

Water Hardness

The hardness of water depends on the presence of calcium and magnesium in your household water. In terms of calculation, we use two different terms to measure the water hardness. They are

  • Milligrams per liter written as mg/ L 
  • Grains per gallons written as GPG 

Whereas the grains per gallons is the industry standard term to measure the hardness of water. The term “grains” simply represents the hard minerals present in the water. 

The accurate size of water softener systems largely depend on the accurate measurement of water hardness. To check the city water hardness, your local water utility’s annual report will be helpful. But choosing softener for well water, we recommend the professional water quality test. 

The water hardness between 61 and 120 mg/ L is considered moderately hard, between 102 to 180 mg/ L is hard and above 180 is extremely hard. To convert the mg/ L results into GPG, simply divide the mg/L value by 17.1 and get the water hardness in GPG. 

For the presence of iron in water, be careful when calculating hardness value. You need to add 3 grains to the overall hardness value for 1 mg/ L of iron. 

Water Consumption  

Water consumption is the second most factor when it comes to sizing a water softener perfectly. It seems difficult to figure out but actually it is not. The average water consumption per day decides the daily softening requirement respectively which helps in proper sizing of water softener. 

The easiest way to figure out the monthly water consumption is to check the water bills and then take out average water usage in terms of per day. Another way is to multiply the number of family members by 75 gallons per day. This will surely give you the right estimate of water consumption per member.     

How To Size A Water Softener

As far as the proper sizing of water softener is concerned, it is pretty easy to figure out with the right calculation of water usage and water hardness. 

To find out the daily softening requirements, the following example will help you out. 

Let’s assume, your home water hardness is 10 grains per gallon and water usage is 500 gallons per day for a family of 6 people. The daily softening requirement would be 5000 grains per day. The properly sized water softener is also compatible with tankless on demand heaters.

Hardness = 10 grains per gallon 

Everyday Water Consumption = 500 gallons per day

Everyday Softening Requirements = 5000 grains per day

Furthermore, the water softeners are designed to regenerate after a particular time period which is usually once a week. 

In the regeneration process, the hard minerals flush off from the resin beads of your water softener system with the collaboration of brine water. Moreover, the hard minerals go down the drain making the resin clean to soften the water for further use. 

The regeneration cycle mostly relies on water utilization to ensure the consistent soft water and repeats weekly. Usually there are two types of water regeneration widely used to soften the water. They are

  • Time Initiated Regeneration: This type has a clock featured on the control valve that is pre-set to start regeneration after a certain period of time at a certain time, especially when the water is not in use. Generally, the default time is 2 am. As a result the regeneration starts automatically at low. 
  • Demand Regeneration: The valves monitor the water utilization and automatically turn on the regeneration mode when the prefixed amount of water has been gone through the softening process. 

Choose The Softener To Match Your Conditions  

The local water condition and the water consumption help you to sort out your water softening needs. Moving further, the perfect water softeners are sized to meet different demands for softening. Besides, the water softener regenerates either weekly or on demand as per your choice. 

In addition to this, the weekly regeneration is a superb way to maintain balance. Consequently, the resin bed remains fresh and does not depreciate the valve greatly. Likewise, the parts of valves in any water softener are removable but move only when the regeneration process is going on. 

Another perk of weekly water regeneration is to lower the water usage. Almost 50 gallons of water is being used in the regeneration process. Some softening system use salt to soften the hard water.   

We can not ignore the efficiency of water softener when buying a softener system to get rid of water hardness. The efficient softening models make sure that less amount of salt should be used in the regeneration process only when needed. Thus you save ample bucks. So, do not forget to consider the efficiency factor when going to decide. 

Let’s try to understand this in more detail. If 3000 grains per day is the softening demand of a small family, then a softener with the capacity of  21,000 grains to soften the hardness once in a week will be recommended. This is the point where we misunderstood the fact. 

Commonly, the sellers recommend 24,000, 32,000, 48,000, 64,000 grains capacity water softeners. As a matter of fact keeping the above scenario in mind, it seems that the 24,000 grains system is the ideal choice when it comes to 21,000 grains of total softening capacity. 

But they do not reveal the fact that the 24,000 grains system uses 27 pounds of salt in order to regenerate fully. This massive amount of salt to complete the softening process is costly. The correct description of  24,000 grains capacity is 0.75 cubic feet, expressing the amount of resin the system has. 

For 1 cubic foot system, if you consume 6 pounds salt, this will ensure 20,000 grains of softening capacity. It is true that one cubic foot system is comparatively expensive than a 0.75 cubic foot unit but the saving in salt balances this cost difference within no time. You buy less salt, lug the least amount of salt and similarly least salt is being discharged to the environment. 

Efficiency Water Softener Guide For High Salt

To save a massive amount of salt and maximize the salt efficiency, it becomes important to understand the capacity of softening water through different quantities of resin.  These capacities make sure the highest possible salt efficiencies. 

0.75 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 15,000 Grains Capacity

1.0 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 20,000 Grains Capacity

1.5 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 30,000 Grains Capacity

2.0 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 40,000 Grains Capacity

3.0 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 60,000 Grains Capacity

4.0 Cubic Feet of Softener Resin = 80,000 Grains Capacity

Daniel Adley is a seasoned and skilled plumber with over 20 years of experience. Specializing in repairing and optimizing water appliances for large buildings, offices, and homes, he has a keen eye for efficiently identifying plumbing and maintenance issues. With a passion for his craft, Daniel brings extensive knowledge and expertise to every project, ensuring reliable and effective solutions for his clients.

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