If you are experiencing spotted dish ware or if your appliances are wearing out more quickly than they should, there’s a chance your water is hard. Hard water can be found in both well and municipal water supplies. Due to ecological factors, water in Pennsylvania tends to have a high mineral content, which can lead to mineral buildup in pipes, water heaters, washing machines and other appliances. It can also be harmful to your skin and cause soap scum buildup in sinks and tubs. The good news is, you can solve all these issues and enjoy crisper tasting water, cleaner clothes, and more by installing a Water Softener.
If you’re looking for a water softener, you’ve probably noticed that they come in several sizes. So, how do you know what size water softener you need? Every household has unique water softening needs. The degree of hardness and the amount of water your family uses can determine the best size system for you.
This guide can help you learn how to size a water softener for your home.
Step 1: How Much Water Do You Consume?
The first step to determining water softener size is to determine how much water you use. In Pennsylvania, the average resident uses about 62 gallons of water per day. Nationally, the average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons per day. If your household uses a lot of water by taking longer showers or doing more laundry, you probably use closer to 100 gallons per person each day.
So, to estimate your household’s water usage, you can multiply a rough number of gallons per person by the number of people in your house. For example, a family of four where each person uses approximately 80 gallons of water per day would use about 80 multiplied by four, or 320 gallons per day.
A water treatment specialist can also help you evaluate your water usage with the most precision.
Step 2: How Hard Is Your Water?
The hardness of your water is a measure of how much magnesium and calcium is present in your water supply. There are two different measurements used to report this number. The first is milligrams per liter, which is written as “mg/L.” The industry standard for measuring water hardness is grains per gallon or GPG. When it comes to water softeners, “grains” simply means the amount of hard minerals in your water.
It is crucial to get an accurate reading of your water’s hardness. A guess may result in the wrong sized water softener, which will cost you more in salt. If you have city water, you can usually find your water’s hardness from your local water utility’s annual report. If you have a well, you will need a professional water quality test.
Once you’ve found your water’s hardness or had it tested, you can understand a lot about your water supply. If your water’s hardness is between 61 and 120 mg/L, it is moderately hard. Anywhere between 120 and 180 mg/L is hard, and upwards of 180 is very hard. If your results are given in mg/L, you may need to convert to GPG. You can convert mg/L to GPG by dividing the number by 17.1. For example, 120 mg/L divided by 17.1 equals 7 GPG. You can also use this unit conversion calculator.
If there is iron found in your water, you will need to correct your water hardness value. For every 1 mg/L of iron, you will need to add three grains to your water’s total hardness.
Calculating Proper Water Softener Size
To calculate Water Softener size, first, multiply your daily household water use by your water hardness. This number is your Daily Softening Requirement.
For example, say your family’s water use is 400 gallons per day and your hardness is 10 grains per gallon. In this case, 10 GPG multiplied by 400 gallons per day is 4,000.
This means the softener will need to eliminate 4,000 grains each day. Most water softeners are designed to regenerate after a set period of time, which is usually about six or seven days. Regeneration means the water softener floods the machine’s collected resin with brine water, sending the hard minerals in the resin down the drain.
Ideally, the softener should regenerate as-needed or once a week. This frequency keeps the resin bed clean and doesn’t put too much wear and tear on the machinery. If our example water softener needs to clear 4,000 grains of hardness each day for seven days, it will need to soften 4,000 GPG multiplied by seven days, or 28,000 grains each week.
Since we are looking to clean 28,000 grains each week, you might assume you would simply need a tank that has at least a 28,000-grain capacity. However, you’ll want to consider the efficiency of the Water Softener as well.
A softener system’s maximum capacity will require much more salt. Most softeners have increased salt efficiency when you lower the capacity of the tank. In other words, when you add less salt to the system, you can remove more grains of hardness per pound of salt.
Another matter that affects efficiency is the design of the water softener. Twin tanks, like many of EcoWater’s softening systems, tend to lower the amount of salt you need to add. Additionally, many EcoWater Water Softeners automatically regenerate, causing your system to only use salt as-needed.
Taking your water softening tank’s efficiency into account when you purchase your system, you’ll end up saving money on salt in the long run. You’ll have to refill your tank less frequently, and you’ll drain less salt into the environment.
Contact a Water Treatment Professional for Water Softener Guidance
When you’re calculating the correct size for your water softener, a professional water test and treatment solution is your best bet. Long’s EcoWater Systems can properly estimate your home’s water usage and test your water’s hardness and iron levels so you can be confident that your water softener system will work for you.
As a certified EcoWater Dealer, we can provide you with state-of-the-art EcoWater water softening systems designed to maximize salt efficiency and fitted with Wi-Fi capability for alerts about water usage and salt levels.
When you’re experiencing water difficulties, whether they be water hardness, unbalanced pH or something else, Long’s EcoWater is your trusted source for water treatment testing. We tailor solutions based on your water’s quality whether you use well or city water, and we handle everything from installation to regular maintenance.
Get a free water test today or call us at (610) 398-3737 to discuss your water softener capacity needs.