Just like the rest of the important systems and appliances in your home, the water softener requires routine maintenance. One such method of upkeep that water conditioners use to operate efficiently is called “manual regeneration.” Most residential water softeners are designed with a built-in automatic regenerator, however, manual regeneration is sometimes necessary.
Below, you will find some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about manual water softener regeneration.
What is Water Softener Regeneration?
Traditional tank-style water softeners use ion-exchange technology to eliminate hard minerals from tap water. Water softeners send water through sodium-saturated polystyrene beads, which absorb all the hard mineral ions, like calcium and magnesium. After sometime, the beads become too saturated to work effectively, so they need to be regenerated.
The process differs among all make and models, but the basic process involves flushing the polystyrene beads inside the resin tank with a salt brine solution, and then discarding the salt-saturated wastewater. Basically, it reverses the chemical reaction that removes unwanted dissolved minerals from tap water.
What is Manual Water Softener Regeneration?
Most traditional tank-style water conditioners have automatic regeneration devices. They either use a clock or timer, or they monitor the quantity of water in the tank (these are called “demand-initiated regeneration softeners”), in order to assess its regeneration needs. Softeners that do not have automatic regeneration technology will require manual regeneration. However, even those that do have such technology will still periodically require manually regeneration for better performance.
Manual regeneration means that you would adjust the settings yourself in order to prompt a regeneration cycle. Depending on the make and model, this is done using a hand-controlled knob that you rotate, or a dial that requires a screwdriver to turn through each stage of the regeneration process.
How Long Does a Water Softener Take to Regenerate?
Most water softeners take anywhere from 85 to 90 minutes to complete the regeneration process.
Can I Use My Water Softener While it is Regenerating?
Generally, water softeners are programmed to regenerate at the early hours of the morning when most people are asleep. This is usually between 1 and 2 a.m., depending on the make and model. During this time, you will not be able to access soft water. If you use the water during the regeneration cycle, you will get water that is not softened. Furthermore, it is strongly encouraged to not use the hot water during this time.