If you are looking for a way to address hard water in your home, you might be thinking about installing a water softener. A water softener is a great way to address common water hardness issues throughout your house, and it can help you eliminate soap scum, spots on your dishes, crinkly hair, dry skin, and potential problems with your appliances.
You need to make sure that your water softener hardness setting is accurate. What do you need to do if you want to change your water softener hardness setting? You need to set your water softener’s hardness setting to match the GPG on your water hardness report, but you may need to make additional adjustments if your water softener is older or if your water has iron in it.
Take a look at a few important points below, and do not hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you.
How To Figure Out Your Home’s Water Hardness Level
Before you can start programming your water softener, you need to figure out your water hardness level. There are a few options available. For example, if your water comes directly from the city, you may want to speak with your city to see if you can figure out the water hardness level in your water supply. You might even be able to find this information online, but if you are unsuccessful, you may want to reach out to a representative of the water department to see if they can tell you what the water hardness level is.
If your water comes from the well in the backyard, you are going to have to test the water on your own. There are plenty of test kits you can use, and they should provide you with a water hardness level in terms of grains per gallon, usually shortened to GPG. Typically, these kits include test strips, which you will simply dip into a water sample.
Then, based on the color of the test strip, you should be able to figure out your overall hardness level. Of course, you can do this if you have city water as well, but you may be able to find the information online.
If you really want the most reliable results, you will need to find a certified laboratory that can test your water for you. While a laboratory can give you your overall water hardness level, they may be able to provide you with an in-depth breakdown regarding where the grains in your water supply are coming from.
How Water Hardness Is Determined
Before you start programming your water softener, you need to understand the overall hardness of your water itself. In general, the more “grains of hardness” in your water, the harder your water softener will have to work. Remember that your water hardness is mainly determined by your magnesium and calcium ions, but iron can also play a role in your overall hardness level.
You want to make sure that your water softener is able to remove all of the calcium and magnesium ions from your water, and that means having a reliable source of resin beads.
If the water hardness setting on your water softener does not match the water hardness level in your home, your water softener may have a difficult time doing its job.
What About Dissolved Iron?
The vast majority of water softeners are able to adequately remove calcium and magnesium from your water supply. On the other hand, if your water supply also has iron present, you may need to change the settings on your water softening system to remove iron.
You might want to invest in a test kit that can look for iron in your water supply. Then, if you find water in your water supply, you will need to change the setting on your water softener to remove any iron that might be present.
How Does Iron Impact Your Water Softener Hardness Setting?
You will need to increase the setting on your water softener slightly if you need to remove iron from your water supply as well. In general, for every one part per million (PPM) of iron, you will need to add 4 to the total hardness number. Therefore, if you have 3 PPM of iron in your water supply, you will need to add 12 to your hardness number.
If you program a higher number on your water softener, your water softener should be much better equipped to deal with any iron that might be dissolved in your water supply, as long as your water softener system has been designed to remove iron.
What If There Is Too Much Iron?
It is true that the vast majority of water softeners should be able to remove small amounts of iron from your water supply along with any magnesium and calcium mineral deposits. On the other hand, if your water supply has a large amount of iron in it, a water softener alone might not be good enough. In that case, you might need to invest in a whole house water filter that can help you remove iron from your water supply.
How Do You Set the Water Hardness Level on Your Water Softener?
So, with all of this information, how do you determine the water hardness level on your water softener? There are a few factors that will play a role. They include your overall water hardness level, the presence of any iron, and the age of your water softener. Using all of this information, you should be able to figure out the hardness setting on your water softener.
As a good rule of thumb, you should start by setting your water hardness level on your water softener to match the GPG of your water supply. For example, if your report shows you that your water hardness level is 10 GPG, then you need to set your water softener to 10 GPG as well.
What happens if you have iron in your water supply? This is where you need to add an additional buffer for the presence of iron. For example, if you have 1 PPM of iron, and you have 5 GPG of water hardness, then you need to set your water softener to include 5 GPG of hardness plus 1 PPM of iron x 4 additional GPG. This means that you need to set your water hardness setting on your water softener to 9.
Finally, if your system is older, it may not work as well. Therefore, you may have to increase your water hardness setting slightly. If your water softener is greater than 10 years old, you should add an additional point on the hardness setting to make sure it works appropriately. So, for the most recent example above, if your water softener is more than 10 years old, you would need to add an additional point, meaning that the water hardness setting should be 10 on your water softener.
Why Does an Older Water Softener Need To Be Set Higher?
What happens to your water softener as it gets older? Remember that your water softener contains resin, which has sodium or potassium ions and releases them into the water during an ion exchange process. Then, as your water softener releases these positive ions, it will remove calcium and magnesium from your water supply.
If you have a brand new water softener, it should be incredibly efficient and strong. The resin is fresh, so it should be able to hold on to all of the hard ions in your water supply, performing at its maximum capacity.
Unfortunately, this impressive capability is not going to last forever. As the resin in your water softener gets older, it is not able to hold on to those ions as well, and it might make it difficult for you to soften your water accordingly.
As a result, as your water softener gets older, you may need to increase the hardness setting of your water softener to account for its decreased efficiency. That way, you know the water softener and any resin that is left over will still perform at its very best.
Changing the Water Hardness Setting on a DROP Smart Water Softener
If you have a smart water softener as a part of your DROP water management system, changing the Hardness Setting is easy from the App. To set the water hardness, select “Devices” on the left navigation
menu and then select the softener from the devices list. You should then be viewing the Softener, Status
page. On this page you will be able to adjust your water hardness setting right above the words “Grains per Gallon”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most common questions people ask about their water softening systems include:
If you do not have the right setting on your water softener, the consequences can vary depending on the problem. For example, if you set the water softener setting too high, then you may go through too much salt too quickly, costing you more money and meaning that you need to perform maintenance more often. On the other hand, if the water softener setting is too low, then it might not be able to adequately deal with the hardness level of your water supply.
You need to make sure you stay up to date with routine maintenance regarding your water softening system. For example, when the brine tank begins to get low, you may need to restock the salt supply and give the resin a chance to regenerate. That way, you know your water softener will continue to work as efficiently as possible, providing you with softened water.
Yes, there is a chance at the hardness level of your water could change over time. It is generally not a sudden shift, but it is something that will happen slowly. Therefore, you may need to check your water hardness level again from time to time to make sure you have your water softener set to the appropriate setting. That way, you know you have safe water in your home, and you do not spend more money than you have to.
The easiest way to check this information is to test your water after you start the treatment process. Once you are confident that your water softener is working well, get another test kit. Then, test your water supply to make sure the water hardness level has come down. If you get a favorable reading, this is a sign that your water softener is working as it should.
Rely on the Water Softeners From DROP To Protect Your Home’s Water Supply
At DROP, we are proud to provide you with some of the best water softeners and water filters on the market. Combined with our app, it makes it easy for you to monitor all of the information related to your home’s water supply.
Take a look at our selection today, and contact us if you need help finding a water softener to supply soft water for your home! We can help you set your water softener’s hardness setting as well.