What to Look For in a Water Softener

How to Choose a Water Softener

Choosing a water softener? Here are some important guidelines and features to understand.

Household Size and Water Usage

A person typically uses 75 gallons of water per day, which means an average family of 4 uses about 300 gallons per day. If your family does a lot of laundry or takes longer showers, your average water usage could be as high as 100 gallons per person per day or more. If you live in an area with harder water or have heavier water usage, you may want to consider a higher capacity softener.

The grain capacity of a water softener refers to how many grains of hard water minerals can be removed before regenerating. Your water softener will perform more efficiently and cost-effectively when it is regenerating about once every 3 to 10 days.

Below are some guidelines for how to select a water softener size:

Hardness Water Used Per Day/Per Household Capacity
10 100 – 200 gallons 20,000 – 29,000 grain
10 200 – 400 gallons 30,000 – 44,000 grain
10 400+ 44,000 grain and higher

Regeneration Style

Another feature to understand is how the softener regenerates. Softeners on timer regeneration can be set to regenerate at a regular schedule, like every four days, regardless of water usage. Demand initiated regeneration is triggered by the amount of water used, and leads to the most efficient use of salt.

All Whirlpool® Water Softeners are energy efficient and contribute to a better environment by utilizing demand initiated regeneration with salt saving technology, so the system only recharges when necessary, saving salt and water.

Remove Additional Contaminants

In addition to softening, some softeners also remove additional contaminants such as chlorine, higher levels of clear-water iron or sediment. These features are typically found on higher capacity models.

Other Convenience Features

Additional features can make it even easier to reduce the maintenance of your water softener. These include low salt indicators, high flow valves, water flow indicators and even touch screens.

Adding a Water Filtration System

We recommend adding a water filtration system for a complete water treatment solution. These systems can help protect your family by removing harmful contaminants such as chlorine taste and odor, sediment, cysts, lead, chemicals, dissolved solids and bacteria and viruses.


Whirlpool softeners come with detailed instructions and everything to hook up to 1” NPT plumbing, including a bypass valve.  You will need the necessary connectors and enough tubing to connect from the water softener to your existing plumbing, access to 110V electrical outlet, and drain. Professional installation for select models is available at Lowe’s. Ask your local Lowe’s associate about their installation services to learn more.

Don’t Forget the Warranty

Not all warranties are the same. Look at the details to ensure coverage on parts, labor, tanks and electronics.

All Whirlpool® Water Softeners have a comprehensive customer product protection guarantee. You may also want to use Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser to keep your softener running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This keeps your softener free of contaminants, iron and hard water build up that can affect the system and reduce its efficiency.

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