Softener Frequently Asked Questions


What does the grain capacity of a water softener mean?

The rated capacity of a softener is the maximum number of grains of water hardness the unit can remove prior to regeneration.

How is the hardness of water measured?

The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). One grain of hardness is equal to 1/7000 lb. of rock. Your municipal water supply may measure hardness in mg/L or ppm. One grain per gallon is equal to 17.1 mg/L or 17.1 ppm.

How do I find out my water hardness?

You can call your municipality if you use city water.

What are the main benefits of a water softener?

  • Reduces spotting on dishes and glassware
  • Less detergent and soap required for cleaning
  • Reduces water heating energy costs
  • Makes household chores easier
  • Skin feels smoother and less dry
  • Clothes are whiter, brighter and last longer
  • Can extend life of appliances

What type of salt should I use?

A clean pellet or nugget style salt is recommended. Other types of salt are available for specialized applications. Whirlpool® water softeners typically use 20-80 lbs. of salt per month.

Why does a softener need to recharge?

The softener needs to rid itself of hardness particles that it collects as water is processed through it.

How much water does each recharge use?

About as much water as it takes to wash a load of laundry.

How much electricity does a water softener use?

As much as a digital alarm clock.

How often does my water softener recharge?

It depends on your water usage and hardness level. In a typical household, it will regenerate every 2-7 days. All Whirlpool® water softeners regenerate only when needed, saving water and energy.

How long does a softener take to recharge?

About 2 hours. Whirlpool® water softeners are pre-programmed to regenerate at 2:00 a.m., but can be reprogrammed to regenerate at any desired time.

What happens if the power goes out?

Whirlpool® water softeners come with a battery-free power interruption backup feature that will maintain the clock settings for eight hours in the event of a brief power outage. In the event of a longer power outage, the clock may need to be reset but all other settings are retained.

Does the recharge water from the softener harm my septic system?

No. Water softener recharge water should not affect septic system operation or drain field soil percolation.

Can I install it myself?

Yes. Whirlpool® water softeners come with detailed instructions and everything you need to install the unit.

Why is my water softener not using salt?

A salt bridge may have formed. This happens when the salt at the top of the unit bonds together to form a hardened crust above the water level. If your Whirlpool water softener low-salt light is flashing even though you have recently refilled the salt, this might be the cause. You can use a broom handle to gently break apart this layer of salt, carefully mixing it with the water below until all clumps are dissolved.

How do I complete a whirlpool water softener venturi cleaning?

The nozzle and venturi of your water softener are critical components that create the suction to move brine from the brine tank to the resin tank. If they become plugged, they will not function as intended leading to hard water output.

To clean these parts, first ensure that your softener is in a water soft cycle with no water pressure at the nozzle and venturi. Remove the cap to these components while making sure to misplace your o-ring seal. Remove the parts and wash in soapy water, rinsing with fresh water. Replace in correct order.