Water Softener Sizing and Information

Water softener sizing is important information. You want the proper size of the softener to be certain it is the most efficient unit possible. This will result in less water and salt usage. Most of people tell us that they only add salt about once a year on average when the water softener is sized correctly. The biggest question we hear is how do I buy a water softener?

water softener sizing image

How do I buy a water softener?

Correctly buying a water softener is normally determined by the following three things:

*How hard is the water your home?

It is always best to test the hardness level before you determine what water softener size is correct. And before you buy a water softener. Most hot tub and swimming pool supply stores will test your hardness for free. Or you can send us a sample of your water and we can test it for free. If you have a public municipal water provider (City water), you can simply ask them "What is the hardest our water gets each year". Most public water supplies fluctuate in hardness levels throughout the year. You want to use the highest number so that when we set up the water softener for you in such a way that you never run out of soft water. Simple.

*How much water do you use on average?

This can be determined by your water bill. Or if you are on a private well with hard water. The amount of permanent residents can give us a good idea of average usage. Or just call and speak with a friendly water tech. They can figure it out. You don't absolutely need to check the water bill. We have a chart to decide using the amount of people in the home and a few other pieces of simple information.

*Do you have a clothes washer and dishwasher. 

If you are using the amount of permanent residents in the home to determine how much water you use. Remember to count an automatic clothes washer as 1/2 person. And count an automatic dishwasher as 1/2 a person. So if you have BOTH, then that would count as 1 additional permanent resident.

If you are ready to buy a water softener for a private residential well. Then you should try to read the additional information below to be sure you have the best information available. You want to consider everything you can for water softener sizing and information. Buying a water softener is usually very easy and inexpensive. Your new water softener system will be designed just for you. And you should enjoy efficient water softening and wonderful soft and luxurious water for many years to come. The average life expectancy for our American Made water softeners is 25 to 35 years when properly applied.

Are you on city water, or a private well?

If you are on a private well, or something similar. Such as a spring or cistern, we STRONGLY suggest you read items 7, 16 and 17 on the following page BEFORE you buy anything from anyone:


Anyone who would sell you anything for a private well without this information, can't possibly guarantee the outcome. If you have city water, or buy your water from any sort of municipal water supply, you can disregard this part.

How do I know what size is right, or what type bypass valve I need?

The good news is that we custom make each unit to order normally. The bypass will be built right in. So you don't need to worry about it. And we can put whatever size fittings you like. We even have those amazing "quick connect" systems that you just cut the line and shove the hose on. That's it! No plumbing, torches or special tools needed. So simple a cave man can do it... So if an in-home sales company tries to make this part seem complicated, you can just smile. It most certainly is not complicated at all.

FREE Water Testing

We also offer FREE water testing for the basics. If you need free testing, just give us a call. We also have paid testing for the complicated water contaminants. Paid Laboratory Testing  You can test for things like arsenic, harmful bacteria, nitrates, tannins, manganese, pesticides, heavy metals, organics etc. Our lab is certified in all 50 states. Our paid testing is VERY reasonable compared to what local labs usually charge people. And our testing is far more convenient.

Please Note:

Demand regeneration water softeners and water conditioners can generally handle 1 or 2 more people than a clock time type control valve. Because they are more efficient as a rule. If you have more than one person in the home you should virtually always have a Demand (Metered) water softener for efficiency.

Image of Home Water Softener Information for determining the correct size. 


FIRST: Ask yourself three questions






  1. Do I know how hard the water is? If not, read the info below to see how to get the answer for free.
  2. Am I concerned with chlorine or chloramines in the water? If you were not worried about chlorine smells and such before you got to this page, you probably don't need to worry about it now. You can always run the water for 10 minutes and test the UNTREATED or UNFILTERED or UNSOFTENED water with a swimming pool or hot tub chlorine tester.
  3. Do you want to add a sediment filter in front of the softener ($49 normally), to be sure you don't have dirt or sediment building up in the water softener or salt tank?
My water seems harder than normal.

If you think your water is harder than average, you may want to go up a size or two. The best thing to do is test it. We recommend you let someone independent (not someone who sells any type of water treatment equipment in the home) do the testing. If all else fails, you can always send us a sample and we can test it for free.

Our techs will be able to help you by phone as well. You will be amazed at their knowledge. And the help is FREE! Just call the number below. Many swimming pool/hot tub type stores offer free testing. If you are on a municipal water supply (City water), you can call the number on the phone bill and ask them how hard the water gets each year. It is best to ask them for the "Range" of hardness throughout the year, as many municipal water suppliers share water or get water from different sources. Then you will use the "Highest" number they give you to size the unit, so that you never run out of soft water.

Water Softener Sizing Guidelines:

These estimates are for "Demand" or "Metered" regeneration water softeners. If you decide to buy a "Timer" model instead, you may want to go up at least one size larger as "Timer" models are normally not nearly as efficient as "Demand" models.

The following guide is for people who have 0 to 10 GPG of hardness (0 to 171 PPM or MGL). For each additional 10 GPG (Or 171 PPM) you would go up at least one size. The bigger it is, the more efficient.

Families with 1-4 people: 30k grain water softener unit

Families with 4-6 people: 45k grain water softener unit

6 or more people: 60k+ grain water softener unit

PLEASE NOTE: If you think you are very heavy water users, it's always best to go up a size. It's ok to be too big, but not to be too small. A softener that is too small will use a great deal more water and salt.


If you have more than 2 bathrooms, and/or if it is a really large home, you may want to consider using a HI FLOW water softener to lower the chances that you will have reduced flow in times of heavy water usage.

How do I buy a Water softener?

To see all of our water softeners and their prices, please click here:

Water Softener Standard and High Flow Sizes

For larger sizes, please click here:

Larger Model Demand Water Softeners

If you are not sure what size you need, just give a friendly water tech a call at 800-684-0979 for assistance. They do not work on commission. And they are not allowed to ask you to buy anything, or pressure you in any fashion. Don't worry, we are the nice company who just tries to help you. Even if you never buy a thing.

Please Note: For homes with an automatic dishwasher, count the dishwasher as 1/2 person when sizing your home water softener. For homes with an automatic clothes washer, count the clothes washer as 1/2 person when sizing your home water softener.

Hardness Measurements

If you have hardness measurements listed in mg/l or ppm, that is the same thing. If they are given to you in a measurement called GPG or grains per gallon, that is a different measurement.

ppm or mg/l ÷ 17.1 = GPG (Grains per gallon)

GPG x 17.1 = ppm or mg/l

The information above that tells you what size you need for the amount of people in your home is using an average hardness of 1-10 GPG. (17 to 171 PPM)

More Water Softener Sizing and Information

Once you get over 10 gpg (171 ppm) hardness, you should go up a size of water softener. Once you get over 20 gpg (342 ppm) hard water, you should go up another size and so on, so that you know the unit will be efficient and not use too much salt and water to clean itself.

When in doubt, go up a size. It will virtually always mean more efficiency. If you are unsure at all about sizing a water softener for your home or business, simply give one of our techs a quick call for some friendly and helpful advice. Don't worry, our techs don't work on sales commission and are not allowed to ask you to buy anything. They just give you great advice! There is NEVER any pressure at WaterFiltersOfAmerica.com.

Water testing:

If you do not know how hard your water is, you should find out before making a purchase from anyone. You certainly should get this right the first time, so that you will have many great years of efficient service from your new water treatment appliance.

City Water Quality

If you are on a "City" or "Municipal" public water supply, simply call the water company that provides your water and ask them. They will tell you. Never have in home sales companies come to your home for a so called "Free" water test. They will actually be coming with a strong and relentless sales pitch as well.

Any municipal water provider will tell you right over the phone. If for some reason they can't or won't tell you, you can always send us a sample for free. Just give us a quick call at 800-684-0979 and ask them where to send the sample.

Private Well Water 

If you are on a "Private" well water supply; including spring water and cistern water supplies, that bring water into the home, you may need to have someone test the water. A couple of FREE ways to get this done without the hassle of salespeople and sales pitches is to simply send us a sample for free testing; or in many areas, swimming pool and hot tub supply stores will test for free.

If there was a chance you would ever buy a pool or hot tub, they understand you need to know what the water is like. They will generally do it for free and give you a print out of the results. Once you have those results, simply call one of our techs for advice. We also have online chat and e-mail advice if you prefer. If you decide you would like us to test for free just give us a quick call or e-mail, or click on the "Live chat" button, and we will tell you how to mail us a sample for testing.

Water Softener Sizing Warnings:

When you are considering water softener sizing and information. Remember you should NEVER use a water softener as an iron filter. That is a very common scam in this industry to get you to pay for expensive service calls in the future and to raise your salt usage, as most in home sales companies sell salt and service calls.

If you have a private well with iron in the water you should read our iron filter page. They use NO SALT at all and are virtually maintenance free. They are also chemical free. The best ones are called "Terminox™".

Don't drink the water from ANY softener:

You should not drink the water from ANY water softener as a rule, and should be wary of any sales people who say you can. Before you buy a water softener, you should consider the following. There are links on our water softener page that explain why in detail. There are also links on that page explaining why you should NEVER use a water softener as an iron removal filter.

If you want to drink the water that comes from a water softener, you can add a filter in the kitchen called reverse osmosis (4 stage model $199.87). It will make the water sodium free and remove virtually all other unwanted contaminants from your drinking water. If you know you have high chlorine going into the reverse osmosis unit, then you would want the 5 stage model ($219.87). You can find both at the top of this page:

Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems | Water Filters of America™.com

Questions? Call 800-684-0979 for assistance.

E-mail: support@waterfiltersofamerica.com

Water Softening and Sizing Information