Keeping your water softener?  Make sure to adjust the regeneration cycle.

Main point - if you keep your water softener make sure it gets re-programed correctly or you will be wasting money.  

The city is in the process of turning on the new water softening plant. I am writing this article because I have not seen a discussions about the savings those that chose to keep their softner can achieve.  The main thing to consider is that when you have a water softener, and it is programmed correctly, it brings the water softness level down to zero - even after the city softens the water, the hardness level will still be about 120 milligrams per liter (still hard on the hardness scale).  This reduction is about 60% lower than the current level if you do not have a water softener.  This will reduce build-up in the pipes and appliances of those people that do not have a water softener.  For those that do have a water softener the new level may be low enough they can live with the different feel of the hard water and the slight increase in build-up.  If they turn off their water softener they will eliminate up keep of the softener and salt costs.  

For those that want zero hardness your softener will only need 1/3 the salt that it took prior to softening.  If you don't adjust your softener it will clean itself 2.5 times as often as it needs to costing you money.  However, only the most expensive softeners will make this adjustment automatically.  The rest of the softeners need the operator or their maintanance person to adjust the cleaning cycle.  There are two common ways softeners use to determine when to clean themselves.  One is by time period.  Yours might be set for once a week.  If this keeps your water soft now, then you should be able to adjust it to once every 2.5 weeks.  If you have never set your softener correctly, keep in mind the other thing you have to consider is how much water you use.  

The other way softeners adjust their cleaning cycle is by hardness level.  Don't be confused, this is not how hard you want the water.  All the water that comes from a properly set softener comes out with zero hardness.  The hardness level that is on you softener dial is the hardness level of the water that is coming into the system.  The water coming into the system last month was about 310 milligrams per liter.  By June it should be about 120 milligrams per liter.  Adjust your softener from 310 mg/l to 120 mg/l.  This will change the cleaning cycle.  Some softener hardness dials are not in milligrams per liter.  Instead they are in grains per gallon.  In fact, all the ones I have seen have been in GPG.  310 mg/l converts to 19 gpg and 120 mg/l converts to 7 gpg.  So if your hardness dial is set at 19 now in June set it to 7.  

For those that are keeping their softeners because they want to continue to have zero hardness.  This water softening project can still save you money on the cost of salt.  It may not make up for the increase in your water bill but savings in salt will offset it some.   Make sure you take advantage.

Additional articles  

Hard Water By the Numbers

 Water Softener Calculation - this page helps you cacluate the time setting based on measurements of your current water softener. 
Hard vs Soft water; Which is better for Saving Energy  -  

Impacts on water quality on residental heating equipment - This article does have a chart on page 2.14 that compares the efficiency of water heaters based on the hardness of the water.  

Huber Heights Water to get softer - DDN 


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