You visit your water softener downstairs to see whether it’s time to fill the brine tank with salt.

You don’t appear to be adding salt as often as you formerly did.

If your water softener regenerates less often, it’s possible that the hardness setting is incorrect.

How do you know what the proper hardness setting for your water softener should be?

For every part per million of dissolved iron in your water, you should increase the hardness setting on your water softener by 4.

You may need to increase the hardness setting on an older water softener since the resin loses effectiveness over time.

A new water softener should ideally be tuned to the actual hardness of your water, and it will take care of the rest.

The hardness setting on your water softener may sometimes need to be adjusted to a value different than your real water hardness since not all water is the same and not all circumstances are the same.

Your Water Softener Has To Be Aware Of A Few Factors, Including How Hard Your Water Is.

Naturally, the hardness of your water should be the setting for your water softener.

If you need to remove iron from your water, your water hardness setting must be increased.

An older water softener may need a setting that is somewhat higher than your real water hardness.

Your water softener needs to understand how much hardness is in your water in order to keep soft water for your house.

What Does My Water Softener’s Hardness Setting Mean?

The hardness setting informs the water softener how many gallons of water it can utilize before it has to renew its water softener resin.

The resin within a water softener can only remove so much hardness from your water before it needs to be regenerated.

The majority of electric water softeners utilize the hardness setting in your water softener to not only determine how often the softener needs to renew but also to regulate the quantity of salt required to regenerate the resin inside of its tank.

Depending on your specific water condition, the salt dose may need to be manually adjusted on certain more simple water softeners.

Check your user handbook for instructions on how to set the salt dosage on your water softener.

This salt dosage is relatively simple to adjust yourself.

Setting The Hardness On A Non-Electric Water Softener Is A Little Trickier.

A mechanical disc will be used by a non-electric water softener to keep track of when it needs to renew since it lacks an electric computer to do so.

If your water situation is constant, using a measuring disc has the advantage that you never have to modify the setting.

However, well water or city water may alter with time, and there may come a point when your non-electric water softener’s meter disc will no longer renew your water softener often enough to provide you soft water or it will regenerate more frequently than necessary, wasting salt and water.

Although it is uncommon, you may need to have a water softener expert update the meter disc if your water situation changes.

If your water source changes, your water hardness may also.

When Must I Adjust The Water Softener’s Hardness Setting?

To establish the amount of hardness in your water and enter the hardness number into your water softener if you want to install a new water softener yourself, you must utilize a water hardness test kit.

Although many digital water softeners have a battery inside of them to maintain your programmed settings, eventually this battery will run out of power, and if there is a power outage, you unplug your water softener, or if your water hardness changes, you might have to enter the hardness of your water again.

Although it varies from water softener to water softener, setting the water hardness on a digital water softener is often relatively straightforward.

For thorough information on how to adjust the hardness on your water softener, see your owner’s handbook.

If Your Water Contains Iron, You Must Change The Hardness Setting.

If you operate your water softener correctly, it may also perform an excellent job of eliminating dissolved (ferrous) iron from your water in addition to hard minerals.

If you want to know how hard your water is, you need test it first.

Then, you should check it for iron.

An iron test kit is really easy to use and provides a result immediately.

As soon as you know how much iron is in your water, you should double your hardness value by 4 for every PPM (Part Per Million) of iron.

Add 4 to your hardness number if your iron test kit indicates that you have 1 PPM of iron, 6 if it indicates that you have 1.5 PPM of iron, and so on.

If your water softener has the potential to do so, it should have no trouble eliminating dissolved iron from your water by balancing the hardness level that you set into it.

A separate iron removal system can be a better approach to handle the iron in your water if there is too much dissolved iron for a normal water softener to handle.

An Older Water Softener Could Need A Slightly Greater Hardness Setting Than A Newer One.

A water softener’s tank contains water softener resin, which enables it to remove the hard ions from your water.

A water softener is really simply a huge tank that your water passes through without properly working resin.

To the naked eye, new water softener resin seems a small, smooth bead, but up close, it resembles a ball of yarn with many crevasses all around it that trap the hard ions in your water.

These crevasses become less distinct and less effective in holding hard ions as water softener resin ages.

Your water’s hardness can still be removed by the water softener resin, but not as effectively as it formerly could.

You will need to adjust the hardness setting on your water softener to more fully regenerate the resin in order to remove hardness as well as it did when it was fresh since the resin loses effectiveness as it ages.

Think of it as an old sponge that needs to be rung out more completely to absorb the same quantity of water as a fresh sponge since it doesn’t absorb as much water as it once did.

When Should I Check To See Whether The Hardness Of My Water Softener Is Still Accurate?

Generally speaking, it is unlikely that the hardness of your water will change much for a very long time, although this might vary greatly depending on where you live and what is happening in your neighborhood that can have an impact on the hardness of your water.

If there is significant activity in your area that could affect your water hardness, you should check your water hardness to determine whether you need to adjust the hardness setting on your water softener.

New construction miles away from your home could alter the hardness of the water that is coming into your home.

Your water softener may lose its preset hardness setting if there are power outages or even minor delays in your electrical supply.

Your water softener may be regenerating more often than necessary or possibly not frequently enough to provide your house with soft water if it loses its programming.

To be sure there hasn’t been a change in your water’s hardness that would need adjusting the hardness setting on your water softener, I recommend checking your water’s hardness around once a year.

You can quickly determine whether your water’s hardness has changed by utilizing a simple water hardness test kit, and you can then alter the hardness setting on your water softener as necessary.

How Can I Determine The Hardness Of My Water?

If you hired a reputable water treatment business to install your water softening, they need to have tested your water to determine the appropriate kind and size of softer for you, and they ought to have recorded the findings of the test on your receipt.

A straightforward water hardness test kit makes it easy to check your water’s hardness even if you installed your water softener yourself or have misplaced the installation paperwork.

View This Little Video To Learn How To Measure The Hardness Of Your Water.

Water Hardness Test Strips – How To Test For Water Hardness? – Health Metric

How To Change Water Hardness From Parts Per Million (Ppm) To Grains Per Gallon (Gpg) And The Other Way Around.

Simply divide the water hardness in parts per million (PPM) quantity by 17.118 to obtain the hardness in grains per gallon (GPG), or vice versa (GPG).

Simply multiply the quantity of water hardness measured in grains per gallon (GPG) by 17.118 to get the hardness measured in parts per million (PPM) (PPM).

You may also use this simple water hardness conversion calculator, which you can access by clicking HERE to open in a new window.

Can I Check To See Whether My Water Has Iron?

To determine the amount of iron in your water, you don’t need to send a sample to a laboratory.

In only a few minutes, a cheap iron test kit will accurately tell you how much iron is in your water, allowing you to use your water softener to remove the iron to make up for the hardness in your water.

Depending on your water hardness and a few other factors, what setting you should use for your water softener.

Here Are A Few Examples Of How To Figure Out The Ideal Hardness Setting For Your Water Softener.

Simply utilize your water hardness and the hardness buffer of 20% of your water hardness depending on the age of your water softener if your water does not contain any dissolved iron.

Even while not all water softeners need to be adjusted higher just because they are older than ten years, water softener resin may degrade with time and a modest buffer adjustment may be required.

Keep in mind that we increase our hardness setting by 4 for every 1 ppm of iron in your water.

Water Hardness (GPG)Iron PPMAdd to hardness for ironAge of water softenerHardness buffer based on ageDo the mathSet your hardness (GPG) to:
5.52Less than 10 years05+2=7
51.04Over 10 years15+4+1=10
51.56Less than 10 years05+6=11
528Over 10 years15+8+1=14
101.04Less than 10 years010+4=14
101.56Over 10 years210+6+2=18
1028Less than 10 years010+8=18
102.510Over 10 years210+10+2=22
20.52Less than 10 years020+2=22
201.56Less than 10 years020+6=26
202.08Over 10 years420+8+4=32
202.510Over 10 years420+10+4=34

Recognize What Is In Your Water!

You may quickly verify that your water is devoid of hard minerals.

Find out whether there is dissolved iron in your water!

Check your water’s total dissolved solids!

Learn more about the water you use!

In Summary!

You may just need to tune the hardness to the precise hardness of your water since a modern water softener will operate extremely effectively.

You may need to set the hardness setting a little bit higher than the real hardness as a water softener ages and its resin loses effectiveness.

When your water softener is new or if your hardness is low, add 3 to your hardness setting for every 1 PPM (Part Per Million) of dissolved iron in your water (less than 10 Grains Per Gallon).

If your water is very hard or if your water softener is more than ten years old, add 4 to your hardness setting for every PPM (Part Per Million) of dissolved iron in your water. is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate marketing initiative created to provide websites the opportunity to make money from advertising by promoting and linking to

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Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.