What Size Water Softener Do I Need

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Are you struggling with hard water at home? Hard water can be a real nuisance, causing all sorts of problems like soap scum, limescale buildup, and skin irritation. 

Not only is hard water unsightly, but it can also damage pipes, plumbing, and appliances. Additionally, showering with hard water can leave your skin irritated and your hair feeling flat. That's where water softeners come to the rescue.

A water softener is a perfect solution to these problems. But what size do you need for your home? The size of your water softener depends on two key factors: The hardness of your water and daily consumption. Read on to find out the right size of water softener for your home.

Water Hardness

The first is the hardness of your water. This can be measured in grains per gallon GPG. If you're not sure about the hardness of your water or you rely on municipal water supply, you can contact your local water utility company or have a water test done.

Water Hardness
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Depending on where you live, your water supply will contain a range of different minerals. The most common compound is calcium carbonate, which is usually found in marble, limestone, and chalk. Other minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc can also be present in your water supply.

It all depends on the quality of the soil where you live, as well as run off rain and floods. To measure your water's hardness, you can buy a water testing kit, request a quality report from your water supplier, or use an independent laboratory to test a water sample. The results are measured in milligrams per liter or grains per gallon.

Testing can help you discover the current hardness level of your home water supply. Home testing conducted by a water treatment company is also recommended to produce the most reliable results, helping you to decide what steps to take next. Once you know the gpg level of your hard water, you'll start thinking about the relative grain capacity that you may require from a softener.

The grain capacity is the total amount of water hardness minerals measured in grains that a softener can remove before regeneration is required. In ion exchange softeners, regeneration is necessary when small resin beads are rinsed with a brine solution, allowing them to keep working smoothly.

While some alternative types of water conditioners don't require the use of salt, most water softeners do need salt for the regeneration process. Once you have your hardness value, it will give an indication of whether your water is hard, soft, or somewhere in between. Keep this value handy as you'll need it when using a water softener calculator.

Water Consumption

Another key factor you'll need to consider is your water consumption. Once you've determined the hardness levels, compare them with your household's daily water consumption. For example, know how much water your washing machine uses on daily basis. This will help you determine how often the softener will need to regenerate and, therefore, how much salt you'll need to keep it running smoothly. Calculate how much water you use.

Water Consumption
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Analyze your water bill for the last 12 months and note the total gallons used.  If you have an unusually high or low usage month, use an average of your other 11 months to get a more accurate result. If you can't access this data, use an estimate of about 50-70 gallons per person per day.

This can help you figure out a suitable grain capacity based on your usage patterns and the hardness level of your water in grains per gallon. Also, note that the harder your water is, or the more you use it, the more frequently your softener will go through a regeneration cycle. Water softeners that regenerate more often will require a greater amount of water and salt.

Calculating Proper Water Softener Size

Once you have hooked up your water softener, calculate its size. To calculate the daily softening requirement, multiply the daily water use total by the hardness number. For example, if your family's water use is 400 gallons per day and your hardness is 10 grains per gallon, then 10 gpg multiplied by 400 gallons per day is 4,000.  This means that you'll need to eliminate 4,000 grains each day.

Most water softeners are designed to regenerate after a set period of time, which is usually about six or seven days. Regeneration means the water softener floods the machine's collected resin with brine water, sending hard minerals in the resin down the drain.

Ideally, the water softener should regenerate as needed or once per week. Regeneration after seven days strikes a great balance between keeping the resin beads fresh, reducing wear and tear on the valves, and maximizing salt use.

If your daily water softening requirement is 3000 grains, you'll need a water softener with a capacity of 21,000 grains. For a water softener of 32,000 grains capacity, you'll need about 36 pounds of salt. But when you put only 6 pounds of salt in 32,000 grains capacity water softener, it yields 20,000 grains of water.

A softener system's maximum capacity will require much more salt. Most softeners have increased salt efficiency when you lower the capacity of the tank. When you add less salt to the system, you can remove more grains of hardness per pound of salt.

Considering your water softening tank's efficiency when purchasing your system will end up saving money on salt over the life of the system. You'll have to refill tankless frequently and drain less salt into the environment. If you opt for a 24,000 GR system, your softening needs should be met with one regeneration cycle per week.

Also, note that 32,000 peak grain capacity is equal to one cubic foot of resin, 48,000 peak grain capacity is equal to 1.5 cubic feet of resin, and 64,000 peak grain capacity is equal to two cubic feet of resin.

FAQs on What Size Water Softener Do I Need

How big is a water softener?

The size of a water softener is determined by the capacity, which is the number of grains your system can remove before it requires regeneration. The most common option fall between 40,000 and 80,000 grains per gallon.

How many grain water softeners do you need?

This really depends on the size of your household and how much water you use. A family of four that uses 80 gallons per day would need a water softener with a capacity of at least 32,000 grains.

How to size a water softener?

Apart from getting the best water softener shower head, it’s also important to get the right size water softener to ensure that your system works correctly. Be sure to consider the factors like the hardness of your water, how much water your household uses, and the number of people in your home.

Final Thought on What Size Water Softener Do I Need

Getting the right size of water for your family is very important because it can help you save money along the way. If you don't know what size water softener to get, be sure to ask a professional. With a little bit of research, you'll be on your way to getting the perfect water softener for your home.

 

 

Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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