How to set a water softener timer for regeneration in 10 seconds

Setting up a water softener involves programming the control valve that comes with all salt-based water softener systems, such as a traditional-style water softener, cabinet-style water softener, or a twin tank water softener). In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to set up a water softener timer from start to finish.

How to set a water softener timer

The water softener timer is located on top of the unit. The valve is mostly set to help the system regenerate effectively. The water softener timer is also known as a control valve.

Before setting a timer, it is important to know how your water softener works.

Regeneration is the most critical process in a water softener. After a certain amount of time, an ion exchange water softener must regenerate. Thanks to the new model of water softener, there is a way you can program it so that the system regenerates on its own when you are asleep or out of the house.

The residential water softener has two different types of control valves. This include

  • Timer

This type of control valve is set to regenerate on a specific day. When the preset day arrives, the system will automatically regenerate itself regardless of the amount of water treated. It is the eldest control valve.

  • On-demand or metered 

This type of control valve is set to regenerate when the specific amount of water is softened. It counts the amount of water softened and regenerates when the preset number of gallons has been processed. Most modern water softeners come with a metered control valve because it is economical.

Both the on-demand and timer control valves have to be set up properly so that you will be able to get softened water all the way through.

When you want to set a water softener timer on, specific information is needed. This information helps to set the system appropriately to provide softened water throughout. The information required includes:

The capacity of a water softener

This is the size of your water softener. The water softener has a capacity that varies from 15,000 to 100,000 GPG (gallons per grain).

The size that you require depends on the amount of water you consume. The more water you consume, the larger the water softener you need.

A standard residential water softener has 1 cubic foot of resin which is capable of softening 32,000 grains. A large home of six people or more, with a water hardness of greater than 15, will need a water softener with a large capacity.

Hardness in your water

The hardness in your water is some calcium and magnesium in your water.

It is either measured in GPG (grains of hardness per gallon of water) or PPM (parts per million of minerals).

To know the hardness present in your water, you can test your water at home using a water hardness test kit or send it to the water department to provide a detailed report.

If you do test at home using a water hardness test kit the numbers you get should be in either GPG (grains of hardness per gallon of water) or PPM (parts per million of minerals)

For example, if you find the water hardness level is 25GPM to convert it to PPM multiply GPM by 17.1=PPM

1GPM=17.1 PPM.

If your water has

3 grains –slightly hard

3-7 grains- moderately hard

7-10 grains- hard

10-15 grains- very hard

Above 15 – extremely hard

The number of household consumption.

It is the amount of water each person in the house consumes. The average amount a person consumes in a day is between 70 and 110 gallons. This includes water for bathing, flushing toilets, cooking, and drinking.

So if you have five people in a household in a day, you will consume 500 gallons.

5 people multiply by 100 (the amount of water each person consumes in a day).

Once you know your water softener capacity, the hardness of your water, and household consumption, you are ready to program your water softener.

How to set a water softener timer control valve

As said earlier a timer control valve is set to regenerate a specific day.

Let’s calculate using the below example

Number of people =5

Per day water consumed =500gallons

Water softener capacity=30,000 GPG

Water hardness-25GPG

Your water softener will treat 30000/25 = 1200 gallons of water.

To know a specific day to regenerate, divide 1200 gallons by 500 to get 2.5 days. (Learn how much salt you need for regeneration).

So your water softener needs to regenerate after two days in the above example. Also, the number can vary depending on the amount of salt you are using per cubic meter to regenerate.

Most people will wonder why they don’t regenerate after two and a half days. Another thing you need to consider before setting the control valve is reserve capacity. You need to leave a margin so you won’t run out of softened water before regeneration takes place.

How to calculate reserve capacity in the example above we have a family of five each one consumes 100 gallons so subtract 100 gallons for each person

5×100=500 gallons

Our 30,000 water softener capacity is supposed to regenerate after treating 29,500 (30,000-500= 29,500)

29500/25=1180 gallons

1180/500=2.36 days.

If you are using a water softener that has a timer control valve, you will set it to regenerate after 2 days whether you have consumed water or not.

How to set a water softener on-demand control valve

The on-demand control valve is set to regenerate when a specific amount of water is treated. You need to feed some data into the electronic control valve. This includes:

  • Number of people in your household
  • Hardness in your water
  • Water softener capacity

For instance, let’s say you have a water softener with a capacity of 30, 000 GPG, the number of people in the household is 5, and the water hardness of 25 will treat 1200 gallons of water (30000/25). When the system treats 1200 gallons, it will regenerate on its own.


Remember to set the reserve capacity. Leave a margin so that you won’t run out of soft water before regeneration takes place. You can decide to set the reserve capacity to 70 gallons per person


1200-350=850 gallons

So if you have set the reserve in your control valve (using the example above), the system will regenerate after it has softened 850 gallons of water.

How to set a water softener to regenerate

As previously stated, most water softeners are set to regenerate on their own. The device work by monitoring the amount of water used or the number of days and deciding whether it is time to shut down and regenerate.

But in case you forgot to put salt into the brine tank, you need to regenerate your system manually.

In another case, if your water softener does not have an automatic regenerator, you have to regenerate manually.

How to do a manual regeneration

  • Make sure your brine tank is clean.
  • Put in the required amount of salt.
  • Go to the control valve and press or hold the regenerate button