Can I Use Water While My Softener Is Regenerating?




How much a water softener regenerates or recharges, is regulated by a water softener machine valve. The valve or "power valve" is the brain of the softener unit, since it provides the orders as to when the cycle of regeneration of the softener will take place. But first, let's think about WHY regeneration is happening.


Why does a water softener regenerate or backwash?


The hard water is moved through a bed of softening material called resin in ion-exchange water softeners.  When the minerals of hardness in water come into contact with the resin, the resin becomes drawn to the minerals of hardness and locks them in.  


The water is "soft" with the hardness of minerals embedded in the resin and separated from the surface  Over time, resins from water softeners get fully coated with minerals of hardness and need to be washed. This is to make the device "regenerate" or ready to start the softening process again.


What happens during the regeneration process?


The water softener fills the resin with brine water during the recycling process, thus "cleaning" the minerals of hardness off the resin, and sending them down the drain.


The water softener resin is now clean and ready to soften water once more. This cycle is repeated roughly weekly, allowing your home to have reliably soft water, depending on the water use.


How does a water softener know Watertech Reionator with Triton Valvewhen to regenerate?

There is a wide range of labels and models of softeners–and a number of different types of valves, too. But when the control valve tells it to start the regeneration cycle a water softener regenerates. Based on the type of valve you have, there are two main forms of regeneration used in water softening: time-initiated regeneration, and demand regeneration.


1. Usually, the clock on the control valve is set in "time-initiated regeneration" to make the device regenerate after a certain number of days and at a time of day with low water use (default setting is always 2 am). This cycle will at least repeat itself once a week, at least. A water treatment specialist can decide the settings of the valve depending on the water quality, the size of your resin tank, the use of household water, the number of people living there, etc. Untreated water is accessible via an automated internal bypass mechanism when there is a demand for water while the device is regenerating.


2. In demand regeneration settings, the valve keeps track of water use and sends the softener into "regeneration mode" after the softener absorbs a specified amount of water. It's kind of like your mobile phone–if you have a lot of open applications and you're using your phone a lot, you're going to have to charge the phone more often.  Regeneration by demand functions in the same way. The more water you use, the more likely a backwash will be needed. For instance, if you have visitors staying at home who use more water than usual, your unit would need to refill more frequently.


For several years, all forms of regeneration have functioned well.  Regeneration of demand is also considered more effective in both the use of salt and water as the system regenerates only when it has used up its softening potential rather than necessarily regenerating on a given day, whether or not it requires regeneration (could happen with time-initiated).


When should I check my softeners’ control valve?


If you experience a prolonged power outage (over an hour in length), the time of day on the control valve will have to be reset. Most internal batteries of the valve are designed to maintain up to 24 hours of day time. 

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