Hard water is a common issue for homeowners in Tampa Bay who rely on groundwater from the Floridan Aquifer. Hardness levels over 10 grains per gallon can lead to scale buildup, residue, and reduced efficiency of appliances. Understanding your water softener settings is key to optimizing performance and removing hardness. Our water treatment professionals at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions explain the key settings and how to adjust them.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals bind to soap, reduce lathering, and leave scale and residue. The hardness level refers to the concentration of these minerals, measured in grains per gallon (gpg).
The U.S. Geological Survey classifies hardness levels as:
Soft: less than 1 gpg
Slightly Hard: 1-3.5 gpg
Moderately Hard: 3.5-7 gpg
Hard: 7-10.5 gpg
Very Hard: over 10.5 gpg
Levels in Tampa Bay often exceed 10 grains per gallon. This can lead to major problems, like scale buildup in pipes and appliances.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove hardness minerals and soften water. The softener contains resin beads which hold sodium ions. As hard water passes through the softener, the resin beads swap sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions. This exchanges hardness for softness.
Softened water then flows into your home. The resin beads periodically recharge by flushing them with a salt brine solution. This replenishes the beads with sodium ions so they can continue softening.
Key Water Softener Settings
There are several key settings that allow you to optimize your water softener’s performance. Professional installation, testing, and adjustment of settings is recommended to match your specific water conditions in the Tampa Bay area.
1. Hardness Level
This sets the grains per gallon that the softener is removing. A water test determines your water’s hardness so this can be set accurately. Entering an incorrect hardness will lead to inefficient softening.
2. Regeneration Frequency
This controls how often the softener recharges its resin beads. More frequent regenerations ensure the beads always have ample sodium ions to exchange. But it also uses more water and salt. The ideal frequency depends on water usage and hardness.
3. Regeneration Time
Softeners are preset to regenerate at 2 AM by default. Adjusting this time can minimize water usage during peak hours. Pick a time when water usage is lowest.
4. Reserve Capacity
Reserve capacity tells the softener how much softening capacity to keep in reserve. A higher reserve extends the time between regenerations. But if set too high, the beads could run out of sodium ions before the next regeneration.
5. Salt Dosage
This controls how much salt is used to recharge the resin beads during regeneration. Too little salt won’t fully recharge the beads. Too much wastes salt. The amount depends on the softener size and hardness level.
Water Softener Settings Recommendations for Tampa Bay
Tampa’s hard water requires optimized settings for water softeners to perform their best. Here are the typical settings our technicians program for local conditions:
Hardness Level: 12-15 grains per gallon
Regeneration Frequency: every 2-3 days
Regeneration Time: 2 AM
Reserve Capacity: 25%
Salt Dosage: 6-8 lbs per regeneration
These settings deliver efficient water softening while minimizing salt and water usage. However, adjustments may be needed based on your actual water conditions, usage, and softener model.
Proper settings reduce operating costs and ensure soft water flows to your home. Our water treatment specialists can test your water and configure the ideal settings during installation.
Benefits of Optimized Water Softening
Optimizing your softener settings provides:
Effective hardness removal
Soft water for bathing, cleaning, appliances
Minimized scale buildup
Improved efficiency of pipes, fixtures, and appliances
Reduced detergent/soap usage
Lower operating costs
Extended softener lifespan
Soft water also prevents dry skin and improves the properties of personal care products. Adjusting salt dosage reduces salt usage too.
Upgrade to Efficient Water Softeners
If your current softener is outdated or you lack one completely, upgrading to a new system ensures optimal settings. Modern water softeners are more efficient with advanced settings and features.
AquaLux Water Softeners from Aqua-Wise feature efficient Clack control valves. Our experienced technicians will tailor the settings for your water conditions during installation and provide service to keep your system running properly for years.
Combine With Other Water Treatment
While softeners remove hardness, additional filtration can remove other contaminants like iron, chlorine, sediments, bacteria, and chemicals:
AquaCarbonGuard - Catalytic carbon filtration for removing chlorine and other VOCs that impact taste/odor
AquaBlue - Multi-stage filtration that combines sediment, carbon, and scale prevention to protect plumbing and appliances
AquaGuard UV - Ultraviolet disinfection to inactivate bacteria and viruses
HydroClear - Ozone injection to oxidize iron, manganese, sulphur, and other contaminants
Combining the right systems provides whole home water treatment for the unique issues with Tampa Bay groundwater.
Free Water Testing
The first step in optimizing your water softener is testing your water to determine the actual hardness level and other contaminants that may be present. Aqua-Wise offers free water testing to homeowners in the Tampa area. Contact us today to get your water tested!
Discounts, Promotions, and Financing Options
Take advantage of special offers on water softeners, installation, and combination systems. Aqua-Wise provides flexible financing options to help with system purchases and upgrades. Protect your home and family from the issues caused by Tampa’s hard water.
Schedule Your FREE Water Test Today: 727-236-7161