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What Size Water Softener Does My Family Need?

You’ve determined that your home would benefit from a new water softener, but which size softener is right for your family? The differences in softening systems can vary widely, and it’s crucial to select the right size so that you enjoy all the benefits that come with a system that is perfectly suited to your needs. Selecting the right size water softener ensures that enough water is softened and the minimal amount of salt and energy is required for maximum energy efficiency. Learn the differences between softening systems, what grain capacity means for your choice, and ultimately, pick the right system for you and your family.

The right water softener depends largely on your area’s level of water hardness and the size of your household. So, start by determining those two factors.

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Understand your city’s level of water hardness

One of the first things to determine is how hard your water is. You can perform a DIY test at home using soap and a clear water bottle. After mixing soap and water in the bottle, the amount of bubbles formed will indicate the hardness of your water: the less sudsy the result, the harder your water is.

You can also investigate your city’s water supply if you receive municipal water. A few major metro areas including Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are known to have some of the country’s highest levels of hard water, so if you live in the surrounding area, there’s a good chance that you’d benefit from a water softener.

How much water do you use?

Knowing how much water your household uses per month is another good place to start when determining the right water softening system. Your water bill should include a graph of your historic water usage. From here, you can determine a rough estimate of how much water your household consumes per day. If you don’t have access to this information, use this quick formula: for each person in your household, multiply by 75 and add the totals together (for example, a household of three would total to a rough estimate of 225 gallons a day).

Determine how many grains need to be removed

The next step in choosing the right size of water softener is determining how many grains to remove. A grain is a unit of measurement in which one grain is equal to approximately 65 milligrams of calcium carbonate. Water softeners are rated according to how many grains of calcium they can remove, as calcium is the mineral that causes hardness.

When purchasing a water softener system, you’ll notice the grain capacity labeled anywhere from 24,000 gpg (grains per gallon) to 64,000 gpg. Simply put, the smaller the number, the fewer grains will be removed.

If you have had your water tested and know the level of grains per gallon in your supply, take that number and multiply it by the number of gallons your household consumes per day. Using the example from above, a household of three that uses 225 gallons per day with a hardness level of 10 gpg would require a softening system that can remove 2,250 grains of hardness every day.

Since water softener units regenerate once a week, you’ll need to multiply 2,250 by 7 to get the correctly sized softener. In this case, the household would need a softener rated to remove 15,750 gpg of hardness.


What size water softener is right for a family of 4?

In general, a 32,000 or 33,000 grain water softener will suit most families of four. Does that seem too high of a number based on the formula above? It is! But salt usage also needs to be considered when purchasing a softener. A 24,000 grain softener may technically fit the needs of this family, but it will require much more salt. A 32,000 softener won’t require as much salt as the other unit, saving money in the long run.

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What size water softener is right for a family of 5?

Using the 75 as the average use of gallons per day, multiplied by five, a family of five would generally be expected to use 375 gallons per day. With a water hardness level of 10 gpg, this family would need to remove 26,250 gpg of hardness per week. Finally, taking into consideration salt use, the right size of water softener for a family of five would be a 40,000 grain softener.

What size water softener is right for a family of 6?

A family of six with a low-to-medium amount of water hardness should consider a water softener rated for about 48,000 grains.

For more information on water softening terms, please consult EcoPureHome’s glossary.

Time to select the right size water softener.

Of course, selecting the most effective water softener for your family will depend on your unique circumstances such as your water use and the levels of water hardness. But knowing how to accurately use this information to find the most efficient system for your home will bring you one step closer to enjoying a life at home with soft water. Take time to compare different models of water softeners, then make your selection.

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