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  • August 06, 2020 4 min read

    Does My Water Softener Regenerate Every Night?

    water softener regenerate at night

    Have you ever wondered if your water softener is regenerating too often, or not frequently enough? Homeowners who just installed a water softener often ask; should my water softener regenerate every night? Most water softeners regenerate (clean itself) based on need, rather than on a set schedule. The frequency of how often the water softener will recharge depends on factors like water hardness level and household water usage.

    In theory, Water softener regenerates when the control valve tells it to start the regeneration process. There are two different types of regeneration used in water softening, depending on the type of valve you have. First, let's talk about what is regeneration.

    What is a water softener regeneration?

    Water softeners work by a process of ion exchange. Hard water is passed over a bed of resin, which captures the hardness-causing calcium and magnesium ions. Over time, the resin becomes saturated and must be recharged or regenerated. Salt is used to accomplish this process of removing the minerals from the resin. This cycle refreshes your water softener so it can continue working as efficiently as possible.

    Does a water softener regenerate every day?

    Your water softener must regenerate regularly. While some softener regenerates daily, others may regenerate once or a few times a week, and some may regenerate just once in two weeks. The frequency of regeneration depends on numerous factors, for example, the volume of your tank, water usage, and hardness.

    If your tank is large and treats lots of water at a time, your water softener may need to regenerate daily. Also, if the hardness level of your water is very high, regeneration will most likely occur every day. Regeneration, in some cases, occurs once per month while some softener can regenerate more than once in a day. Experts agree that regular regenerations are the best, because they keep the resin bed active. This should be every two to three days, although highly efficient softeners may generate every day or even multiple times a day.

    Here are several factors that go into determining when your water softener needs to recharge:

    • The initial hardness level of your water: If your water is very hard your water softener may have to regenerate two or three times a week.
    • Iron presence in water: More frequent recharging is also likely if your water is especially high in iron.
    • Household water usage: Households with more people will use more water in a given period of time than homes with fewer water users. For example: if you have guests, your water usage will change and that will affect your water softener’s need to regenerate too
    • Resin tank Capacity: You can further control how much salt is used by altering the “pounds of salt” setting. These salt settings will generally need to increase as single-tank systems age because of the damage done to the resin structure. Changing these settings should be done by a professional water treatment company.
    • System Age: If you have a single tank electric water softener, it loses its capacity over time, which means it will have to regenerate more often.
    • Chemical deterioration caused by chlorine (from the municipal water supply) will also decrease capacity.
    • And lastly, the control valve that your softener has

    Can a water softener regenerate too often?

    The frequency in which your water softener recharges also depends on the type of control valve it has. We will cover this in-depth below but for example, one type has a clock, so you can set it for a specific time period — say, weekly. In this case, recharging takes place whether the resin in your tank is fully used up or not. Recharging will occur when the household water usage is low (eg. 2am) because treated water is unavailable during the regeneration of single tank water softeners. You are trying to prevent sending untreated water into the home, so you could set your system to do this in the middle of the night.


    water usage demand initiated regenerationThe first type of valve type is called “metered” and it is based on water usage. The valve uses a meter to monitor your water usage. When the pre-set threshold is reached, that triggers the regeneration process. Because demand regeneration is more flexible, only taking place when it’s triggered, it conserves both salt and water compared to a timer-controlled system.


    time initiated regenerationAs mentioned above, the other type of value is called "Time-initiated" because it is controlled by the clock on the control valve. This is typically set to have the system regenerate after a certain number of days and at a time of day with low water usage, usually in the middle of the night. This process might occur once a week, as an example.


    There is no hard and fast rule about how often your softener should regenerate. The trick is to understand how your water softener works. This way, you can easily detect when the softener is not regenerating as it should. Some water softeners work based on a timed schedule while some regenerate according to demand. To best understand which method your softener uses, you should refer to the manual or consult a water specialist.

    Note: Typically, an average-sized tank with a level of hardness between 7 to 10 grains per gallon may only have to regenerate once in 10 to 14 days.

    How long does water softener regeneration take?

    The process of water softener regeneration varies depending on the size of the water tank. However, average regeneration takes about ninety minutes.

    How often does a dual tank softener regenerate?

    The regeneration process is different (and more efficient) for dual-tank water softeners. Besides providing softer water, twin softening tanks allow the system to regenerate with soft water, so when one tank needs to regenerate, service automatically switches to the other tank. That means there is always soft water available for your use, even during the regeneration process! It also increases the life of the system while reducing both salt and water usage.


    Want to double-check to be sure your water softener is set up for optimal regeneration? Contact our water specialists! Knowing all is well will give you peace of mind the next time you hear your system regenerating, no matter how often or the time of day. Learn more about water softeners, and everything related at, Aquatell today!