Water softener regeneration cycle: Ultimate Guide

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Written By John Stephen
I’m John, the person behind the aquahow blog. I love to investigate water conditions and ways of building water filters. Mostly for my aquariums and home use.

A water softener uses a physics approach to make the contaminated water lighter by removing the mineral using a regeneration process. The water passes through the water softener, where the ions of calcium and magnesium minerals are replaced with sodium ions. 

What are the water softener regeneration cycle steps?

Water softener regeneration cycles run on the simple physics method where the oppositely charged particles are attracted to each other and put aside. In contrast, the remaining water is sent back to the primary water supply connection. 

The excess amount of the minerals is trapped in the process, and less dense water is released to the main pipeline. 

The efficiency of the water softener entirely depends on the anode used in the water softener. The Anode rod attracts calcium and magnesium, which is found in a large quantity in heavy water. 

These substances are harmful and the reason for several diseases. If you live in a region where the water condition is terrible, you should use the water softener to make the water lighter before you use it in the home. 

When the hard water passes through your water softener, the unique mechanism filters the water in the first step and sends the water to the compartment where the anode rod is fixed. 

The water flows near the anode rods and attracts negative charge particles such as calcium and magnesium. 

The layer of both substances is visible to the human eye when the anode is removed from the system. 

Over time the anode rod becomes contaminated with the excess amount of calcium and magnesium substance. Therefore, you have to regularly replace the anode rod to keep the water softener clean.

What are the stages of water softener regeneration?

The regeneration is also known recharge cycle of the water softener, is vital for keeping the water softener in working condition. It ensures the optimal performance of the whole system. 

The effectiveness of hard water cleaning is determined based on the water softener’s capability to remove the minerals from the water and make the water lighter as much as possible. 

Without the regeneration, the whole system would fail, and the hard water cleaning method will not work. While the regeneration cycle could be vary depending on the type and size of the water softener. The basic principle of the regeneration process is almost the same.

5 stages of a water softener regeneration cycle

1) Backwash:

Cleaning the resin bed is the first stage in the process. The resin bed collection all leftovers of the water filtration process. There will reduce a large amount of dirt, broken beads, debris, and substances that clog the resin bed over time.

When the water enters the water softener, it is directly sent to the resin bed to remove the large chunks of the easy-to-trap substances. 

Most parts of the water are filtered through the resin bed, and water is directed upwards where another layer of the resin bed filters the water. 

Any impurities in the water are removed from the water while the water is flowing through the resin bed. 

Next, the water is moved out from the tank and sent to the drain, where contaminants and mineral compounds are separated with a unique method. 

It is vital to moderate the water condition during this process. The water should not contain the resin loss.

2) Brine Draw:

Brine is saltwater placed in the tank. It is drawn from the specially made brine tank. The water flows from the container and passes through the resin bed. 

The brine is sent through the resin, where the positive charge sodium ions atoms exchange the ions of the negatively charged calcium and magnesium ion. 

These two substances are critical which produce hard water. Once the minerals are removed, the water becomes soft and clean.

The flow of the brine upward or downward is depending on the type of the model. However, most of the water softener uses upward motion to keep the heavy substances at the bottom. 

Once the water becomes lighter, it easily flows to the upward motion without any resistance. 

3) Slow Rinse:

After completing the brine draw, the freshwater pours into the resin bed to make it rinse for a while. Any trapped substances will be removed in the rinsing water. The flow of the water will be slow to exchange the ion in the process easily. 

The brine is removed during this process and sent to the draining system. Depending on the size of the tank, the rinse process may last 20 to 30 minutes at a water flow rate of 0.5 to 1.0 GPM.

4) Fast Rinse:

Once the first stage is complete, the rinse cycle now commences to the fast process. Water flowing quickly through the system will resin the bed from top to bottom. It will remove all the unwanted substances from the system. 

The force of the water allows the system to flush the excess trapped material and dirt to get out of the system and moved to the draining. 

The second resin cycle may take 20 to 50 minutes, and the water flow rate will be around 1.5 to 2.0 GPM.

5) Refill Cycle:

In the final stage, the water is again filled in the brine tank. The tank is filled with the required salt. It is used to prepare the system for the next brine draw cycle.

How long is the regeneration cycle on the water softener?

The average water softener in the shop takes about 85 to 90 minutes to compete for the regeneration cycle. In most of the case, the regeneration cycle is done automatically. 

The regeneration process is used to clean the softener’s treatment medium. 

The process reverses the chemical reaction in the system. The anode releases the trapped minerals from the water. It is directed to the drain. 

The time for the regeneration process generally depends on the size of the tank. Also, sometimes you have to run the regeneration process twice to clean the tank due to too much dirt in the water. 

If the water condition in your region is bad, there are possibilities that the trapped dirt and minerals would not get clean in a single process. 

Hence, it is advisable to repeat the process until it is fully drained.

How long does it take for a Culligan water softener to regenerate?

The regeneration process is automated using the treatment system. However, you have to be present near the water softener to moderate the whole process. The standard size water softener takes around 85 to 90 minutes to complete the auto regeneration cycle. 

Note that there might be possibilities that some of the material or substance that clogged in the tank may need manual removal. Perhaps, you have to open the tank to ensure there is no clogging inside. 

The regeneration process cleans the medium by reversing the water flow in the tank. The chemical reaction to the anode rod also reverses to disengage the minerals stuck to the rod. 

As it is released into the water, the substance is directed to the drain system. Unwanted dissolved minerals are removed, and the medium will be cleaned.

How do I know if my water softener is regenerating?

The modern water softener comes with auto regeneration technology. Read the manual to know the frequency set for the regeneration of the tank. Moderate the automated process regularly to confirm whether the regeneration process is initiated as per the set interval. 

The system will initiate at a specific interval. Generally, the default setting allows the water softener to activate the regenerating process once per week. 

Most probably, the early morning is set for regeneration. Also, ensure that the regeneration setting is active. 

Some water softener uses the demand initiated regeneration. The system keeps the record of the water cleaned using the softener. 

It is tracking the units of the water to know how your usage. When the set limit is reached, the regeneration process is initiated. 

If your region has good water conditions, the gap between the two regeneration will be extended. When the water is clean, there will be not many minerals in the tanks which need to be removed. 

Hence, the smart device increases the time for the regeneration and runs when there is an actual requirement. 

Read the user manual and understand the set limit or frequency of the regeneration process. 

Suppose you notice the system regularly performs the regeneration processor, in contrast, not activating the regeneration process for a too long period. In that case, there are possibilities of failure in the parts of the system. 

Investigate the problem before things go wrong in the system. Regeneration is a critical process and requires repair if it is not getting activated as per the set norm by the manufacturer. 

Contact the company’s support team or shop where you bought the system and ask them for the solution.

Does my water softener regenerate every night?

The regeneration process is depending on the usage and the frequency set in the water softener system. When the water level is hard and requires more filtration to make it light, the system has to perform at extensive power to keep the water in good condition. 

As a result, more trapped minerals need to be removed using the regeneration method. In such a case, the regeneration process in your system will be more frequent. 

Generally, the regeneration process is set for the morning. It gets activated early morning and completes the process within 60 to 90 minutes. 

How much water is discharged from a water softener during regeneration?

The amount of water they use during the regeneration process is depending on the size of your tank. The water softener needs a water reserve capacity of 20 to 25% to activate the regeneration process. 

It means the resin beds would have around 70 to 80% water in the container. It is estimated that approx 35 to 65 gallons of water is used during the regeneration method. Check the manual given by the manufacturer to get the exact number of water requirements.

How do you manually regenerate a water softener?

The manual regeneration of a water softener depends on the type of model. Some model comes with the easy hand knob. When you turn the knob at the specifically indicated angle, the regeneration process is turned on. 

On the other hand, other models require the tools to turn the hard screw to the specific degree to instruct the water softener to begin the regeneration process. 

Once the manual regeneration process is activated, the water softener would flush the water out in the resin beds. It will have a salt brine solution. 

How do I set the regeneration frequency on my water softener?

The modern water softener comes with an easy solution to reset the regeneration frequency. Some come with a digital display to reset the regeneration frequency. In some models, the mechanical switch is given to turn the knob to the regeneration process whenever you find the hard water is not filtered. 

You must moderate the auto regeneration process.

How do you regenerate a Culligan water softener?

Fin the “Regen” button on the device. Press and hold the button for about three seconds. It will initiate the regeneration process. The beep sound will be produced when the regeneration is activated. 

Users are given manual control to set the desire regeneration time. Use the plus and minus buttons available next to the regeneration button. You can increase or decrease the day using these buttons and set the frequency.

How much water should be in the brine tank after regeneration?

Once the regeneration process is complete, the brine tank may have around 6 to 10 inches of water. Also, note that the water may not be visible if there is a salt level higher than the water level. 

Can you regenerate water softeners too often?

Yes. The frequency of water regeneration can be reset manually depending on the water condition in your region. The water softener needs a reserve capacity of 20 to 25% in the tank before activating the regeneration. 

If the regeneration is performed too often, then the hardness of the water level is too high. You have to recharge the water softener too often to keep the water lighter.

Why is my water softener continuously regenerating?

There are two possibilities of continuous regeneration in a water softener. When there is a high amount of hard water, the water softener needs regular regeneration to remove the minerals trapped in the tank. Failing to do that would result in hard water directing to the home. 

The whole system would fail drastically.

Low water pressure in the supply is another reason why the system is stuck to the regeneration mode. 

Moderate the regeneration process and water quality to understand the cause of the problem. Check default settings to confirm that you have not set the wrong frequency to the regeneration.

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