What Does Water Softener Regeneration Sound Like?

You confirm whether your water softener works perfectly by testing its ability to convert hard water into soft. But before that, if you want to know whether it is working correctly, it can be confirmed with the sound it generates while performing the process.

You may assume the water softener is communicating with you via those sounds and informing you about using salt in the resin tank in a proper way and further refilling the salt whenever required.

What does water softener regeneration sound like?
What Does Water Softener Regeneration Sound Like?

Let us dive further to know what kind of noises come from the water softener and what they mean.

Interested, let’s go!

Is the water softener regenerate loud?

Many moving parts are inside the water softener for its mechanism. For instance, noise mainly comes from the mechanical motor and water flushed speedily during the process.

The water softener also has moving propellers and gears, giving a “Clicking” sound.

It may lead to a misunderstanding that there might be some problem with the water softener. In reality, the water softener is simply undergoing its duty of converting hard water into soft.

What does water softener regeneration sound like?

A typical water softener passes through several steps during the entire process of regeneration. Let us go through each step one by one to study the sound they make and help you conclude whether your water softener is working ideally or not.

What does water softener regeneration sound like?

Since each step gives out its unique sounds, it will be easy to understand where the regeneration step has reached when the system gives out that typical sound.

💧Step 1: Brine Tank Filling

In this step, the sound emanating from the system is the typical sound of water filling any container. In this step, the brine tank is filled with water to interact with the salt from the tank and dissolve it to form a brine solution, which further flushes and refills the resin bed.

💧Step 2: First Backwash Cycle

This step will emanate the sound of gushing water at high speed to remove the debris and sediments from the resin beads to fluff up the resin and prevent them from getting pressed together.

The first backwash cycle step is the loudest to let you know that the regeneration process has started. This step takes around 10 minutes to complete the cycle.

💧Step 3: Brine Draw

If you hear the sound of trickling water quietly, ensure the system is at the brine draw step. The brine draw step is the most less-noisy where the system removes all the minerals from the resin bed. 

Since it takes sufficient time to remove the minerals from the resin bed, this step takes a long time compared to the first backwash cycle.

💧Step 4: Brine Rinse

The brine rinse step gives away a sound similar to the brine draw step – water trickling quietly. This step involves removing the brine with clean water used to remove the hard minerals.

The brine rinse may take about 30 minutes, based on how your water softener is programmed.

💧Step 5: Second Backwash Cycle

Again, in this step, you will hear water gushing speedily. This step ensures that the remaining salt is removed from the resin bed to fluff it again, which helps to remove minerals uniformly during the next regeneration cycle.

Time taken in the step is about 5 minutes, and the sound is loud.

💧Step 6: Fast Rinse

The same water gushing sound continues in this step. This step takes only two minutes, but the sound is loud.

💧Step 7: Brine Tank Refilling

This step is similar to the first step, brine tank filling, with the sound of water filling any container. The brine tank refilling is the last stage of the regeneration process. The time involved in this step depends on the size of your tank. You can hear the sound till the required level of water gets filled.

How do I know if my water softener is regenerating?

The surest method is to check the softness of your water. If the softness is up to the mark, you can confirm that your water softener regenerates correctly.

Some standard tests to verify the softness of water are:

  • The amount of lather it generates when interacting with water. If the lather produced is high, the water is soft.
  • Check for the quality of your clothes after a wash. Soft water would not leave any stains, nor make the clothing rough or stiff feel when you wear those.
  • You don’t notice mineral, limescale, or slime deposition in your pipes, faucets, toilet, tiles, and sinks. This observation indicates soft water flows throughout your plumbing system.
  • The taste of water is something you are familiar with, and identify what you are drinking as soft water.
  • Bathing with hard water will leave you with rough hairs and itchy skin.

The other method to identify whether the softener is regenerating is to have an ear to the sound it gives during the regeneration process. Keep note of all the sounds we noted earlier to ensure the system is working as it should be.

How often should a water softener regenerate?

A typical water softener should regenerate every 12 to 14 days. Alternately, if you know the number of gallons used previously for the regeneration process, then the regeneration should be done based on that.

How often should a water softener regenerate?

Some factors affect the frequency of the regeneration cycle:

  • Water Hardness.
  • Iron content in your water.
  • Your water usage.
  • Resin tank capacity.
  • Your system’s age.
  • Any deterioration caused due to chlorine or oxidants.

Why does my water softener keep making noise?

As we discussed earlier, the noise may be simply because of the operation of the water softener system, as it is composed of moving parts like gears and impellers.

However, deposition of calcium or magnesium on the intake valves, loose gears, and any other mechanical issues may be the reason for the water softener to make noise.

Some of the reasons are:

  • Clogged valves – high-pitched stretched noises
  • Sticking pistons/valves, broken gears – banging/clunking noise
  • Broken gears, failing motor, worn gears/valves – grinding or ticking noise
  • Cracked gears – moaning or squeaking noise
  • Low salt – some water softeners are equipped with an alarm and call out when salt quantity is low.
Why does my water softener keep making noise?

Other rare reasons may be as follows:

  • Improper installation.
  • Overloading of water softener.
  • Poor maintenance.
  • Low water pressure.
  • Improper balance.
  • Lacks ventilation.
  • Substandard quality of salt.
  • Incorrect grounding.

Different Types of Water Softener Regeneration Cycle and Its Sound

Today, the majority of water softeners have four regeneration cycles. Some have three, and the electric water softeners have two cycles. Let’s understand what kind of noise is occurred for all the different types of water regeneration cycles.

Different Types of Water Softener Regeneration Cycle and Its Sound

💧Four-Cycle Regeneration

  • In the first cycle, a loud sound occurs as water flows speedily into the resin tank and flushes it. The noise lasts for about 10 minutes, as this step takes that much time to complete.
  • The second cycle is the brine draw cycle which lasts for about 90 minutes. In this, the noise is lower due to the quieter water flow.
  • The third cycle also is a backwash, preparing the resin for ion exchange after rinsing the brine solution out of the resin. This cycle is comparatively shorter than the first backwash but loud.
  • In the fourth cycle, the resin is rinsed quickly, and then the water softener is switched to service mode. The noise is of flushing water.

Since the noise for the last two cycles is the same, it’s tough to differentiate between them. Read further to understand the different sound water softeners makes.

Different Kinds of Water Softener Sound and How to Evaluate 

It’s interesting to know what noises a water softener makes and how it will help you understand what’s going inside the system.

The familiar sound is a humming noise. It is when the pump circulates the brine solution flow through the machine. Whenever you hear a hissing noise, you must understand that the salt is low in the softener. When the timer motor goes bad, the softener gives out a clicking noise. If you hear a grinding noise, it is due to some blockage in the fan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 Why is my Culligan water softener making noise?

Ans. The noise is due to the regeneration process of the water softener. The sound may be that of flowing water or a motor running.

Q.2 Does water softener make noise when regenerating?

Ans. Yes, it’s normal for any water softener to make noise while regenerating, as it has gears, impellers, and motors that are responsible for the noise.

Q.3. Why is my water softener hissing?

Ans. Whenever the salt level goes low in any water softener, it will give out a hissing sound.


I hope, I have been able to explain what does water softener regeneration sound like in a easy way.

It’s obvious for any water softener to make noises. It is because of the regeneration process when the mechanism is fully operational. The inner part of the water softener comprises gears, impeller, motors, etc. which make the noise.

As the water is flushed towards the resin tank and mixed with salt, the water flow and cleaning of resins also add to give out sounds, some loud some quiet.

It’s important to monitor a water softener regularly, to keep it performing well and give your soft water continuously.