Most homes only need a 32,000-grain water softener unit or one cubic foot of resin. However, there are instances where a larger capacity of a water softener is required – a large family with six or more occupants or a large house with 4000 or more square feet. Again, in places where water is very hard (over 15 grains), a larger capacity water softener is needed.

So what size water softener do I need? Ideally, you need a water softener large enough, so it does not regenerate more often than after every three days. Again, the softener should not stay for more than 14 days before regeneration, as this might damage the resin beads. A functional capacity should regenerate after about seven days.

There are several factors that determine the capacity you need for your home. If you are wondering – what size water softener should I get? – read on to learn more.

What Size of Water Softener Do I Need?

Many factors should influence the size you choose, including the hardness of water, flow rates, water consumption, and daily water needs, among others.

Most Common Sizes

The capacity of a water softener is indicated by the grains of the hardness of water softener in one regeneration cycle. When determining the capacity to purchase, you need also to consider the salt efficiency of the softener you will buy. As such, when considering what size water softener you need, understand the capacity yielded by different resin quantities, and pick a softener with the highest sale efficiency level.

0.7 cubic foot of resin produces 15,000 grains capacity
cubic feet of resin yields 20,000 grains capacity
1.5 cubic feet of resin yields 30,000 grains capacity
cubic feet of resin yields 40,000 grains capacity
cubic feet of resin produces 60,000 grains capacity
cubic feet of resin produces 80,000 grains capacity

You can learn more about water softeners here.

What Size Water Softener Do I Need?  How to Calculate

To effectively size a water softener, you need to consider water quality and water consumption to pick a size that will maximize soft water output and minimize salt use.

For starters, you need to calculate your daily water softening requirement – how much water hardness do you need the softener to remove per day? To calculate this, you need to consider water hardness and water consumption per day.

Hardness of Water

Water hardness refers to the volume of calcium and magnesium dissolved in your water. Hardness is reported either in milligrams per liter or grams per gallon (GPG). However, most people understand GPG as it is the industry standard.

If you are wondering – what size water softener do I need? – You should consider water hardness first as it lets you properly size a water softener. If you are using a water softener with a digital programmer, you will be required to enter the water hardness value when programming. If water is coming from your well, you will have to test for hardness. However, if you rely on municipal water supply, find the water hardness value from your local water utility.

 What Size of Water Softener Is Best For Your House?

Water Consumption

How much water do you need every day? The easiest way to calculate daily water consumption is to look at your water bill. The water bill shows the amount of water you use every month. Using this information, you can calculate the volume of water you use every day. If you do not have this information, you can multiply the number of people in a household by 75 gallons. In a family of 4, you will need approximately 75×4 gallons (300 gallons of water every day).

What Size Water Softener Should I Get After Calculating Consumption and Water Hardness?

After calculating the daily spend and water hardness, multiply daily water consumption by water hardness to find the softening requirement.

In a family of four people, the daily water consumption will be 4 x 75 = 300 gallons per day.

If the water hardness is 10 grams per gallon, then the daily softening requirement will be 300 gallons (daily consumption) x 10 GPG (water hardness) = 3000 grains of hardness every day.

Most water softeners are designed to regenerate once per week. Regeneration after seven days strikes a great balance between keeping the resin beads fresh, reducing wear and tear on the valves, and minimizing salt use. Water softeners feature valves that only move when the softener is regenerating. Better yet, regenerating once per week reduces water use seeing that regeneration uses about 50 gallons of water.

If your daily water softening requirement is 3000 grains, you will need a water softener with a capacity of 21,000 grains (3000 x 7 days). If you start searching for what size water softener you need, you will see most sellers have 24,000/ 32,000/ 48,000 and 64,000 grains. From the above information, you would think that a 24,000 grains water softener will give you the water you need. However, what you might not see when you search – what size water softener for a family of 4 – is that to yield 24,000 grains, the water softener (described as 0.75 cubic feet), requires 27 pounds of salt.

For a water softener of 32,000 grains capacity (described as one cubic foot), you need about 36 pounds of salt. However, when you put only 6 pounds of salt in a 32,000 grains capacity water softener, it yields 20,000 grains of water. In this example, a 32,000 grains water softener is more ideal and more salt-efficient for use in a family that needs only 21,000 grains per week.

What Size Water Softener for Family of 4?

A family of 4 needs about 300 gallons of water per day (4 x 75 gallons).

If the hardness of water is 10 grams per gallon, then the daily softening requirement is 300 x 10 = 3000 grains.

For seven days, the family needs 3000 x 7 = 21,000 grains

From the example above, this family might get a 24,000 grains water softener, but that will use a lot of salt. Instead, a 32,000 grains water softener will use less salt and be cheaper in the long run.

What Size Water Softener Should I Get? – Conclusion

If you are still wondering – what size water softener do I need – note that you need to consider your water consumption and water hardness. Today, if you search – what size water softener do I need – you will see numerous online calculators to help you work out the capacity that is ideal for you. However, you have to consider salt efficiency and, as such, get a bigger size than you need. Again, do not pick the biggest capacity available to save on salt – slow flow rates might see the hardness (calcium and magnesium) “slipping” through the resin beads.

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