How Long Does Water Softener Regeneration Take?

Hard water buildup leaves unsightly spots on your dishes, makes your laundry dull and causes dry, itchy skin. That’s why many homeowners install a water softener to remove hard minerals like calcium and magnesium.

But what happens when your water softener needs to “regenerate” to keep working effectively? Water softener regeneration is a process during which the system flushes out accumulated minerals and cleans itself.

It’s important to know how long regeneration takes so you have access to filtered water when needed. After all, the last thing you want is to be without clean water, especially if you have a large family.

So, if you’re wondering how long does water regeneration takes, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about regeneration process.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Water softener regeneration normally takes around 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the type of system and its size.
  • The frequency and duration of water softener regeneration can be adjusted based on household water usage and water hardness levels.
  • You should properly maintain and clean your water softener for efficient regeneration and to avoid damage.

Factors That Determine The Duration Of Regeneration

Here are the factors that affect how long it takes for water softener to regenerate:

A.  Size Of Your Water Softener Unit

The size of your water softener unit plays an important role in the regeneration process. The larger it is, the longer it will take to regenerate since it can process more water simultaneously and needs more time to fully recharge itself. On the other hand, smaller units require shorter regeneration times but may need to regenerate more frequently as well.

B.  Water Hardness

The duration of your water softener regeneration process depends on its hardness. If your water is particularly hard, the softener must work harder to remove minerals and the resin beads will become saturated more quickly – leading to frequent regeneration cycles and longer completion times.

On the contrary, if your water is only slightly hard, your water softener will have an easier time extracting minerals and resin beads will take longer to become saturated. This means regeneration cycles occur less frequently and take less time to complete.

C.  Regeneration Cycle Settings

Your water softener’s regeneration cycle settings can affect how long it takes to regenerate. There are typically two types of settings: time-initiated and demand-initiated. Time-initiated settings regenerate the unit at predetermined intervals regardless of water usage; on the other hand, demand-initiated regenerates according to how much water has been consumed since last regeneration cycle. Demand-driven settings tend to be more efficient while saving money on water and salt costs, though they may take longer depending on usage amount.

D. Other Factors

In addition to these variables, other things can impact how long a regeneration takes. For instance, if there is an unexpected power outage, your water softener may not be able to regenerate at all, potentially leading to issues with your plumbing system. Other potential factors include:

Clogged Components

Just like how a congested nose can make breathing difficult, clogged components in your water-softening system can also cause major issues. If the brine draw line is blocked, your system won’t be able to get the salt brine it needs for regeneration – leaving you waiting longer than usual for this process to finish.

Household Water Usage

If your system has a lot of hard water running through it, your softener may need to regenerate more often. Think of it like doing laundry – the dirtier the clothes, the more loads need washing. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect cycle duration so don’t worry about waiting forever for clean, soft water to flow again.

Quality of your resin

If your resin has been compromised due to contaminants like chlorine, it could lose capacity over time. This makes it harder for your system to perform efficiently, potentially leading to longer regeneration cycles.

Average Regeneration Time

How long does water softener regeneration take? Why does this matter to you as a homeowner?

Well, the longer and more frequent your water softener’s regeneration process, the more salt and water it uses. This can increase utility bills and add to household expenses. Furthermore, if your softener isn’t regenerating often enough, you may begin to notice signs of hard water again in your home.

So, how long does regeneration take? That depends on several factors, including the size and type of your softener, water hardness, and your household’s water usage habits. On average though, most water softeners follow a standard cycle length of around 2 hours. During this period the softener will go through a series of steps. These are:

Standard Water Softener Regeneration Cycle

  • Backwash: Water flows backward through the resin tank, loosening any debris that has built up since regeneration.
  • Brine Draw: Saltwater (brine) is drawn from the salt tank and mixed with resin beads, drawing out hard minerals while releasing clean water.
  • Slow Rinse: The softener gently rinses away resin beads with fresh water to eliminate any remaining brine.
  • Fast Rinse: Immediately flushing out the resin tank with more fresh water clears away all minerals and brine residue from its reservoir.

Once this cycle is complete, your water softener will be back to providing clean, fresh water once again. Don’t worry; you won’t be left without water during regeneration – most softeners have a reserve tank that provides household use during this time.

Comparison Of Water Softener Models And Sizes

Now let’s examine how different water softener models and sizes can impact regeneration time. In general, larger softeners require longer regenerations than smaller ones due to having more resin beads to clean. On the plus side, larger softeners have greater capacities – meaning they can handle more water usage before needing another regenerate.

When selecting a water softener for your household, it’s essential to take into account the size and needs of your family. If you have more people or use more water than usual, larger softeners might be needed; on the other hand, smaller units could work just fine if space is limited or you only have a smaller household.

Different models of water softeners have varying regeneration times, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase. Some even come equipped with advanced features like smart sensors that can detect when regeneration is needed and adjust the cycle length accordingly.

How To Shorten Or Lengthen The Regeneration Time

Sometimes the regeneration cycle for your water softener may take too long or occur too frequently, leading to wastage of both water and salt. So, let’s examine some simple methods that you can do in order to speed up or slow down this process:

A. Altering The Regeneration Cycle Settings

Your water softener’s regeneration cycle settings determine how often it initiates regeneration. By altering these settings, you can regulate both frequency and duration. Most come equipped with a control panel which makes this easy; simply navigate to the settings menu and alter your desired frequency for regeneration.

B. Altering The Frequency Of Regeneration

Another way to reduce or increase your water softener’s regeneration time is by altering its frequency. If regeneration happens too frequently, then decreasing it may be necessary; conversely, if taking too long for regeneration is desired, increasing it might work too. Before making any changes though, check your hardness level and size of your softener; decreasing frequency may not be ideal due to salt wastage and poor performance if both have hard water.

C. Upgrading To A Larger Or More Efficient Water Softener System

Have you tried adjusting the regeneration cycle settings and frequency, but are still experiencing long regeneration times or excessive water and salt usage? In that case, it could be time for an upgrade to a larger or more efficient softener system. A larger unit can handle more water volumes which reduces frequency of regeneration thus shortening time to complete regeneration. Similarly, more efficient units regenerate quickly using less water/salt thus decreasing overall regeneration duration and usage overall.

Importance Of Proper Regeneration Time

Here are three reasons why it’s essential to monitor the regeneration time for your water softener:

A. Guaranteeing Efficient Removal Of Hardness Minerals

Regeneration time is essential for water softeners to effectively filter out hard minerals from their supply. Once saturated, the resin beads inside your unit no longer filter effectively and this leads to hard water stains and damage to appliances. Regular regeneration ensures your unit works at its peak performance, giving you optimal water quality.

B. Extending The Lifespan Of Your Water Softener Unit

Regenerating your unit properly is critical for its longevity. Not regenerating properly can put strain on both resin beads and the unit itself, leading to malfunctions and reducing its lifespan. By regularly regenerating, you ensure your water softener works optimally and extends its usefulness.

C. Ensuring The Quality Of Your Water Supply

Finally, proper regeneration time is essential for maintaining the quality of your water. If your softener isn’t regenerating correctly, minerals in your supply may accumulate, affecting taste and odor. Regular regeneration of this system keeps your drinking water fresh, clean, and free from unwanted minerals.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated our article on how long it takes a water softener to regenerate. By now, hopefully you have gained insight into the factors that may contribute to regeneration time and the importance of finding an optimal balance for efficient yet effective regeneration.

Let’s review, shall we?

We’ve already discussed how the size of your water softener, its hardness and type of regeneration cycle all affect how long it takes for it to regenerate. Furthermore, we stressed the need to find an optimal balance between regeneration time and efficiency since too long may result in waste water or salt buildup while too short may leave water not sufficiently softened.


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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