Two main types of water softeners are available. The appliances differ in how the control valve signals the system to regenerate. During regenerating, also called recharging, the equipment flushes out minerals that have collected in the resin tank. It uses salt in the process. Plumbers can install softeners that regenerate based on water usage. Another option is equipment that recharges at a set day and time each week.
Softeners that regenerate according to the amount of water used are more sophisticated. After regeneration, the water gradually becomes harder again as the resin bead tank fills with minerals and diminishes in effectiveness. Recharging begins after a certain number of gallons have flowed through the system. The increased level of hardness is low enough that nobody in the household should notice.
Since water usage tends to be variable, these are more efficient options than timer-based regeneration. The water never gets too hard, and the system does not run when usage was low.
One advantage here is a lower purchase cost than demand-based softeners. Manufacturers continue making these appliances so that consumers who need a more affordable option have one. Another factor some individuals consider an advantage is the possibility of less frequent recharging. Equipment that regenerates two or three times a week uses significantly more salt and water.
There are ways to modify the timing. For instance, the system can be put in an override state with the press of a button. Households might do this when everyone is going out of town for several days and the week's water use will be low.
Manual recharging also can be done by pressing a button. If guests stay at the home and increase water use, recharging could be done a second time. Some homeowners always keep the appliance on override and recharge it manually. This can be useful in a household whose residents commonly are on the road for work, for example.
Companies that sell softeners directly to consumers also install them. However, there are advantages to hiring a plumber instead.
The plumbing pipes might need adjustments during installation. Plumbers have the best skills for this work. Also, if the customers have delayed other plumbing-related projects, they can have that work done the same day without paying for another service call. A leaking faucet could be fixed or replaced, for example. Anyone interested in softener installation may contact plumbers in the area for information and quotes.