How To Reset Water Softener After Power Outage?

Why Should You Learn How To Reset Water Softener After Power Outage?

It’s never a good situation to be in when you experience a power outage. In most cases, homeowners will go straight to the food in their refrigerators with the fear of having to throw out all their stored foods. Sadly, other appliances that require electricity don’t get as much attention and often end up as an afterthought.

However, when power returns and you go to check on your water softener, you realize that all the settings are back to default and you’re unsure of what to do. Luckily, learning how to reset water softener after power outage isn’t as difficult as you might’ve imagined. In fact, it is quite similar to setting up your water softener after you first purchase it.

Generally, when power returns, you will need to enter the “customer setting” mode on your water softener and put in the details that are required for a system regeneration. The details will usually depend on whether you’re programming demand regeneration or time-initiation regeneration. Keep on reading to find out more on how to reset water softener after power outage.

What Happens if a Water Softener Loses Power?

It is not the end of the world when water softener units lose power. As a matter of fact, you may still get soft water, depending on the type of water softener you’re using. Many modern and smart water softeners on the market are able to maintain their time and settings for up to 24 hours post-power outage, which means you can still enjoy soft water during this time.

However, there are some water softeners that aren’t so smart and right after a power outage, they lose their function and forget their settings. In a case like this, you will have to reset the entire system when your power has returned.

For people that live in an area that is prone to frequent power outages, it would be a good idea to have a backup generator to keep the water softener working for a few hours after the power outage. Having this backup generator buys you some time until you’re able to gain electricity in your home.

How To Reset a Water Softener

That said, let’s answer the important question: how to reset water softener after power outage? Before you learn to reset water softeners, it is important that you understand that you can’t predict when power outages will happen and quite frankly, there’s no point trying to predict when they will occur.

If the power outage is more than 24 hours, there’s a high chance that your water softener will not remember its settings. This means that when you switch the water softener back on, it will be completely out of whack, with no idea what time it is, or when it’s supposed to perform a recharge cycle.

You should be reminded that prior to jumping into the steps of resetting your water softener system, you must read your user manual first. While the information in this article is based on a general experience and knowledge of water softeners, and the reset process is accurate, the owner’s manual might reveal some things that you should know about your water softener that we won’t cover in this guide.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the four key steps to reset a water softener:

1. Resetting Water Softener Regeneration Time

The first thing to do when power is restored is to reset the regeneration time of your water softener, which is essentially the time that the system will perform a regeneration cycle. Most water softeners are unable to maintain regeneration time when the power goes out, but thankfully it’s easy to manually reset it.

What you need to do is go to the “settings” or “display” of your water softener and find the regeneration time setting. For setting a time-initiated regeneration, you will need to key in the time that you want your softener to regenerate. Generally, the ideal regenerate time is 2 am, when most people are sleeping and don’t need to use tap water.

Once you’ve selected a convenient regeneration time, enter the customer setting mode on your water softener. After entering the customer setting mode, press the “display” button and cycle through the setting until it reaches your desired regeneration time setting, and let go of the button. Next, press the “change” button so you can bring the cursor to the hour marker for editing.

Press the “change” button continuously until it reaches the hour you prefer your water softener to regenerate. Press “change” again and set the minutes and choose AM or PM and you will have set the regeneration time for your water softener.

2. Reset the TIme on your Water Softener System

Once the regeneration time is set, you will need to reset the display time for your water softener. This is crucial because if it was 10 PM at night, and you’ve just set the water softener to regenerate at 2 AM, while the water softener still thinks it’s 4 PM right now. This will result in the softener regenerating on its own perceived 2 AM, which is actually your 8 PM.

Nobody would want that to happen, especially when you’re using water at that time to shower, wash the dishes, and so on. As such, you want to make sure that the regeneration cycle happens at 2 AM, so check to see if the time display is correct, and if it isn’t, change it.

To make sure that your softener is set to the correct time, enter the customer setting mode as display or manual states on your water softener. Then, press “display” and hold it down for a good five seconds until it cycles to the “set time” message. After that, release the button and a cursor should appear under the hour and minute slots on the time.

The next thing that you need to do is press the up or down buttons to change the time and you should match it to the time on your watch. Once the hour and minute slots are of the correct time, press “display”, “update”, “confirm”, “save”, “change”, or any other button that can save this new time setting on your softener.

3. Bypass the Recharge Cycle

It is extremely unfortunate if you’re losing power while your water softener is in the middle of a recharge cycle. Thankfully, there’s only a slight chance of this happening because water softeners go into a recharge cycle approximately every 3 and 7 days and it only takes about 90 to 120 minutes from the entire day.

Even if it’s happening to you, there’s nothing to worry about because it is easy to resolve. But do expect water softeners to not resume their recharge cycle after an outage because not all of them are smart enough yet to reset their functions.

If your water softener does try to resume its regeneration process when power returns, it is unlikely that it will function correctly. As such, we would recommend you to bypass the recharge cycle and reset the water softener system to do a manual regeneration, so you can ensure that the resin tank is flushed and recharged properly.

4. Activate the Bypass Valve

Losing power in the middle of a recharge cycle will cause your water softener to not work properly and you will need to use the water softener’s bypass valve to reset the recharge cycle. When you activate the bypass valve, you will allow the water to drain from the tank as quickly as possible during a power outage.

Once power returns, the system will be functioning correctly and it can properly perform a recharge cycle. If the system doesn’t regenerate automatically, you can always set the system to manually do so. This is only possible if you have activated the bypass valve.

Bear in mind that you are only required to turn on the bypass valve if your water softening system is interrupted during its regeneration cycles. Thankfully, there are some water softeners that do continue regenerating during a power outage, so be sure to check first before resetting your water softener.

Resetting a Demand-Initiated Water Softener

As the name suggests demand-initiated water softeners regenerate according to the water usage and hardness of your house. In certain cases, you do not even need to reset demand-initiated water softeners after a power outage. If they are not in use with an electric timer, then they might keep running regardless of whether there is power or not.

Even if you do need to reset these types of water softeners for whatever reasons, the process will be fairly easy and straightforward. What you’ll need to do is to key in your water hardness and water usage into the water softener system so it can start its regeneration cycle after a certain amount of water has been used. Do follow your user manual to learn every step you need to reset your unit.

Tips to Keep your Water Softener Running Smoothly

A water softener is one of the most essential appliances that you need to make sure it’s well-maintained so that the water softener runs smoothly. Water softeners remove hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which helps you soften hard water and keep your faucets free from limescale build-up.

Hard water is generally not ideal as it can cause damage to many things in your house as well as damage to your hair and skin. Here are some tips that you can follow to make sure your water softener runs smoothly:

  • Check the water softener salt levels in the brine tank and add salt to the brine tank whenever it’s running low. If there is a low water softener salt level in the brine tank, the water softener will not work properly.
  • Clean the filters on a regular basis to make sure that your water softener is working at peak performance.
  • Make sure that every valve is open and proper drainage for the system is present. The last thing you want is to have any backed-up water flowing through your pipes and causing damage to your fixtures.
  • Try to regenerate your water softener manually if you find that it doesn’t work as well as it should.


Power outages can never be predicted and are never desirable. However, it is still bound to occur and it is crucial that you are able to reset water softener after a power outage. Resetting water softeners and ensuring that they go through a proper recharge cycle is essential for getting rid of hard water in your home.


Why is electricity needed for water softeners?

You should know that not all water softeners require electricity as there are non-electric water softeners on the market. Generally, water softeners need electricity for its regeneration process because an electric time setting is used to know exactly when to regenerate.

In the absence of electricity, your water softener will not know when to go through its recharge cycle because it doesn’t know the time of day. This is also why you need to reset time for your softener after a power outage, to make sure that it is aware of the current time.

Are there any water softening methods that don’t require electricity?

Yes. The majority of the processes of a water softener don’t really need electricity and there are some water softeners on the market that don’t use electricity at all. Most water softeners that don’t need electricity also come with two tanks, which allows for filtering and regeneration at the same time.

Non-electric water softeners go through its regeneration cycle based on a meter that turns as the water flows through it, instead of using an electric timer. This is also great for the environment as it can reduce water waste and saves salt because the regeneration is dependent on water usage. Typically, we call these water softeners demand-initiated water softeners.

Should a water softener be full of water?

Whether a water softener should be full of water or not is heavily dependent on the kind of salt and how much salt is in it. If you are using salt pellets or granular salt, then the tank should always be full with no air pockets. However, if you are using potassium chloride, then the brine tank shouldn’t be full of water.

Do I need to do anything to the brine tank when resetting my water softener?

No. When you reset your system, it will start to draw brine from the salt tank like how it typically does, so you don’t need to do anything else. However, this can be a good opportunity to check the salt levels and see if more salt is needed in the brine tank.

How do I reset my Culligan water softener?

If you own a Culligan water softener and it needs a reset, you may refer to the following:

  1. Press and hold the “REGEN” button on your unit and wait until the system beeps.
  2. Manually reset the time for regeneration as well as the days in between each regeneration cycle.
  3. Adjust the water hardness and save the changes by pressing the checkmark button.

To be absolutely sure, we would recommend you to check the user manual or speak to the manufacturer first before you do anything to your Culligan water softener.

How long can a water softener last without power?

In the absence of power, most water softeners are able to go on for a few days, even their memories are lost after 24 hours. However, they would not be able to regenerate without power, and the resin won’t be flushed and replenished.

During the regeneration cycles, not only does a water softener add more sodium to the resin, but it also gets rid of contaminants that could damage the resin beads. After some time, bacteria may begin to grow in the brine and resin tanks.

Does a water softener remove all limescale?

Water softeners work using an ion exchange process that swaps out ions like calcium and magnesium that causes scale build-up. With the use of a water softener, limescale in pipes will gradually be removed and prevent future buildup. It might take a while, but the softened water will eventually wash away the existing limescale.

What happens if I accidentally unplugged my water softener?

Many homeowners hope that accidentally unplugging their system won’t require them to go through the same procedure of resetting as after a power outage. Sadly, even if the system lost power for just a few seconds, it will need a full reprogramming.

What if my water softener has no salt?

In this case, your water softener will not be able to filter out the unwanted minerals from your water supply and will lead to issues that are often associated with hard water. You should aim to replenish salt in the tank twice per month to make sure that everything runs properly and smoothly.

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