How to Set Water Softener Hardness Level: All You Need to Know

Installation of the water softener will help tremendously with common issues with water hardness that a lot of people in the US have to deal with. 

Softening your water will help prevent buildup of scale and help eliminate problems with soap scum, spots on dishes dry skin and hair as well as appliances that don’t perform properly and more.

However, to succeed in softening your water you must ensure that the water softener’s hardness setting is correct. In this article I’ll discuss the aspects that impact the hardness setting for your water softener as well as the best settings to determine the hardness setting.

What Factors Affect the Water Softener Hardness Setting?

There are three elements that determine the way to determine your water softener’s hardness setting: the size of the grains of hardness that are present in your water and the presence of iron and the time of your water softener’s operation.

Water Hardness

It’s crucial to know the water hardness prior to setting up the water softener. The greater the amount of hardness that your water has the more hard the water softener’s ability to function.

You must ensure that your system is set to handle the hardness that the water you drink contains. This will ensure that the resin will eliminate all magnesium and calcium that are present inside your water. If the hardness of your water is lower or higher than the softener you have set to, it could not be able to do its job.

Is There Any Iron?

Many water softeners are capable of eliminating dissolved iron from your water. But only if they are programmed correctly.

I suggest conducting a water test to determine ironas as well as magnesium and calcium. Kits for testing iron are inexpensive, simple to use and provide results quickly.

Once you’ve determined the amount of iron is in your water You can determine the setting for your softener’s hardness. For each PPM (part per million) of iron Add 4 , to total number of hardness. So, if your tests reveal that your water has the amount of 1 PPM (part per million) iron, you should add 4 to your total hardness number. If you have two PPM of iron, then add 8 to your number of hardness and so on.

The addition of a harder number in your water softener signifies that it is equipped to handle dissolving iron, so long that it is able to handle the load to handle it initially.

It is important to know that when your water’s iron content is high, a typical water softener might have a difficult time removing it. In fact, the iron could cause damage to the softener. I suggest purchasing another iron removal device when you’re suffering from an iron issue that is major.

Lifetime of the Softener

If you’re running an older softener for your water, it is likely that you’ll need to increase the setting than when you purchased a new system.

Water softeners have an adhesive resin that retains sodium ions and release them into water through the process of ion exchange. The resin then exchanges sodium ions into hardness minerals, which in turn softens the water.

A brand new water resin is reaching its best in terms of performance and efficiency. It can hold on to the ions of hardness and function until it reaches its maximum capacity. As a resin gets older as it ages, it loses the capacity of holding on to these Ions which could alter its capacity to soften the water you drink.

This is why you’ll need to raise the hardness setting on the water softener to be able to account for the decreased effectiveness. This will ensure that the resin still performing the way it did when your water softener was brand new.

What Can I Do to Determine the Hardness Level of My Water?

There are a variety of ways you can determine the hardness of the water you drink.

The most straightforward method is to conduct this the soap test. Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap liquid in an empty plastic water bottle and fill it up all the way to its top by adding water. Shut the bottle and shake it. If, following shaking, you can see bubbles in the water the water is soft. If there aren’t bubbles, and instead a milky layer has developed on the surface the water, it is quite hard.

For more information about the level of your water’s hardness it is possible to purchase an at-home test for hardness it determines the water’s hardness in grams per gallon (GPG). This test makes use of strips of test that you put into a sample of water. The strips’ color will change to determine the degree of hardness.

The most precise method is to employ the services of a accredited laboratory. Once you’ve posted the water sample the laboratory will test the water and provide a thorough analysis of the water’s hardness, measured in grains per gallon (gallons) and parts per million (PPM) or milligrams per Liter (mg/l).

What is the Level My Water Softener’s Hardness Setting Should Be Adjusted to?

If your water does not contain iron that’s dissolved, you’ll need to know your water’s hardness rating and a buffer to measure the hardness dependent on how old the water softener to figure out what you need to make the softener’s hardness.

The table below offers some ideas on how to choose your water softener, depending on the hardness of your water and the iron content and the time of the water softener’s.

Frequently Answered Questions

What Happens When My Softener is Not In the Correct Position?

If your softener’s setting isn’t properly set, you could have one of two issues.

If a level of water hardness is set to high to match your real water’s hardness the softener won’t replenish too frequently. This means that salt will be consumed more quickly, and you’ll end up spending much more on maintenance than you actually need to.

If your softener’s hardness is set way too low for the actual the hardness of your water, the softener will not be properly set-up to handle the water and will not completely eliminate the problem of hardness. You’ll spend more than you’ll need to spend on items like shampoo and other cleaning products.

Does the Hardness of Water Change?

Yes, water hardness does fluctuate, however it’s generally an ongoing process, and not an abrupt increase or decrease. The degree to which your water hardness alters in any way, and at what degree, will depend upon where you live and what’s happening in your area that could impact on the hardness of your water. 

Construction activities in your area could alter the hardness of your water, therefore it is recommended to check your water’s hardness once annually or so, and then adjust your softener according to any changes that you notice.

Hardness is Measured in Parts per Million or Grains per Gallon?

Both. Grains per Gallon a measure for hardwater and the number of parts per million, or milgrams per liter measure the exact amount of magnesium and calcium minerals present in soft or hard water. If your water is one PPM in hardness it means it has one unit of hardness 1 million units.

PPM and mg/L have the same measurement, and 5 PPM is equivalent to 5 mg/L.

How Can I Tell the Setting of My Water Softener is Correct?

If you are looking to confirm that your water softener making soft water, then the simplest way to do it is check the hardness of your water following treatment. Make use of an at-home water quality test kit that tests for hard water. The kit should show that you have softened water.

If your tests reveal that you are still experiencing hard water, the softener’s settings may not be set correctly. But, water softeners can be complex, and there are a myriad of reasons to not be receiving softened water from your system. It’s crucial to ensure that your softener is working exactly as it should and to identify the potential problems as they arise.

Can Water Softeners Be Unable to Maintain Their Hardness Setting?

Yes. A power interruption or several surges of power in your home could cause the water softener system to stop working and return to basic settings for water softening that were programmed when you bought the unit. Even a small interruption to power could cause the system to be unable to set its settings.

I’d suggest taking note of the setting for your hardness and then reviewing the unit regularly from intervals to ensure it’s functioning according to meet your needs. This is especially crucial when you are experiencing the time change twice a year, with the intention of making adjustments for the present time. If you aren’t aware the settings you’ve programmed in advance are gone and your system isn’t aware of it, it could be generating more frequently than it is supposed to or perhaps not enough to create softened water for your home.

Why is It Important to Check that My Water Softener is Set up Properly?

The hard water you get from it is not harmful and nothing dangerous will happen if the water softener’s settings aren’t in order. However, you’ve put money into this kind of treatment for your water and it’s only natural that you be looking for it to perform.

If you’re paying for the machine, but it’s providing the hard-water to your house and you’re not sure why, you might as well had it not been purchased initially. You can adjust water softener hardness to ensure that you’re using less salt per renewal as well as ensuring that you are always able to accessibility to water softeners on a daily basis.

What Should I Do if My Softener for Water is Making Use of Too Much Salt?

The excessive amount of salt utilized could be due to having adjusted the water softener’s hardness excessively high. There are other possible causes also, like the brine tank’s float not properly set. Verify to ensure that the float isn’t high up inside the brine tank which could lead to excess water and a large amount of salt getting dissolved and washed away.

The water softener may need too much salt since you’re using lots of water inside your home. Make sure you do not have any appliances running continuously, such as toilets and water heaters, which could be the reason behind your frequent use of salt in basic water softeners.

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