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How to Reset a Water Softener after Power Outage

Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

There are several things that could happen to your water softener in the event of a power outage, which is why we’re here to prepare you by explaining what to expect in such a situation and how to reset your water softener when things go wrong.

We’ll go through everything you need to know about resetting your water softeners, including the typical situations that require it and a step-by-step guide on how to handle that task.

Reset a Water Softener
Reset a Water Softener

What Situations Require Resetting a Water Softener?

Water softeners are pretty straightforward. Water that contains heavy minerals comes into the resin tank, the heavy minerals get removed, and soft water leaves the tank. There’s a lot more to these devices, but in essence, it’s as simple as that.

The most complex part of these devices and the thing that requires an internal computer is the regeneration process that replenishes the resin in the main tank by using the salt from the brine tank.

There are two types of regeneration – timer and metered regeneration. A timed regeneration process starts at the same time every day, whereas a metered regeneration process only starts once a certain amount of water has passed through the tank.

Because of the complexity of the regeneration process and the dependence on an internal computer, this is where things can go wrong and block the device in certain situations – requiring you to reset it. Typically this happens after a power outage or during maintenance procedures.

Power Outage

In the event of a power outage, most water softeners will reset their regeneration settings, and the internal system won’t be able to tell the time properly or measure the water quantity in order to start the regeneration process again.

Most water softener models won’t be able to start working until all of the proper settings are punched in and the internal computer knows what it needs to do next and when.

If the internal system is stuck, then you’ll need to program the settings again.

Maintenance Procedures

Certain maintenance procedures might also cause the internal system to go into standby mode. This will generally only happen if the maintenance in question requires the softener to be unplugged for an extended period of time.

If that happens, you’ll be required to reset the water softener, so it can start working without issues. In the next section, we’ll explain how to do that step-by-step.

How to Reset Your Water Softener

Reset Your Water Softener
Reset Your Water Softener

Resetting water softeners is a bit tricky. Almost every water softener brand is different when it comes to how their settings and reset procedures work, so there’s no one universal guide for all of them.

However, while we can’t give you detailed instructions for every model, we can tell you what to look for in your system and how to start it back up again.

Step-by-step Guide on Resetting the Water Softener Yourself

  1. Turn off the water softener and then turn it back on again. A lot of the time, the system will freeze up once an unexpected power outage hits it. Switching it off and then on again or pulling the electrical plug out and putting it in again is a good way to wake it up.
  2. Factory settings. Your display screen should be just above your main tank or at least around it somewhere. Find a menu that’s labeled “settings” or ”options,” and try to find the factory reset button. This should automatically set up the regeneration process for you without you having to input everything manually. If you don’t have a factory reset button on your device, then continue with the next step.
  3. Find the SET option. You’ll either have a menu or a button that says SET, which should open a menu once it’s pressed or held down for a few seconds. The menu should contain the internal clock or the quantity measurement of the water softener.
  4. Timed Regeneration Reset – The internal clock of the device will probably be reset, so you’ll need to set it up again to be in line with your clock. Once the internal timer is set up again, you should go ahead and set the regeneration time for whenever you want it to happen. We’d recommend setting it to go off in the middle of the night when the device won’t be in use, but that’s entirely up to you.
  5. Metered Regeneration Reset – Most water softener models come with several settings that you can choose from when it comes to how much water can pass through the tank before the regeneration process starts. Pick one of the options presented to you. Of course, it’s possible that your model has only one setting for how many gallons it can soften before regenerating the resin tank. If there’s only one setting for metered regeneration, all you need to do is turn the device off and back on again)
  6.  Hit the Confirm or the OK key in order to lock in your new settings.

If you’ve successfully completed the steps we’ve described, your water softener should be able to continue softening water. All that’s left to do is to try it out by turning on the faucet and checking to see if the water is softened.

There are generally two ways of checking if the device is working properly. The first way is to buy a water testing kit and see if the water that’s coming out of your faucet has a high mineral count.

The second way is to wash a glass with the water and wait a few minutes. If the hard water leaves visible stains on the glass, that indicates that the water softener still isn’t working properly. However, we recommend the first method as it’s more secure and precise.

Call a Professional

In the event that the water softener still doesn’t work even after you did everything, then we think it’s time to throw in the towel and call a professional so that they can tell you what to do.

As we’ve said already, different brands have different settings, and honestly, a lot of models are a bit too complicated and difficult to program yourself.

Most water softener companies have helplines that you can call when you need help setting up your system again. This isn’t an issue that would require a professional to come to your home, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be charged for the call.

Can a Water Softener Get Damaged From a Sudden Power Outage or High Voltage Surge?

Before we conclude the article, let’s get this out of the way. Regardless of which button you press or hold down while trying to reset your settings, you can’t do any damage to your water softener. The worst thing that you can do is either lose all of your saved settings or set the regeneration timer to start in the middle of the day.

As for the potential damage that could come from a power outage, again, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed. The worst thing that can happen is that the outage happens in the middle of the regeneration process, and the brine stays inside the resin tank for longer than necessary.

If that happens, all you need to do is run the regeneration process again once the device is on, and all of the salt will get flushed from the tank without any issues. If the regeneration process isn’t starting, then there’s probably brine still left in the hose that connects the brine and the resin tanks.

To solve that issue, get a bucket, detach the hose from the salt tank, and empty the brine from the hose into the bucket before pouring it back into the brine tank or simply throwing it out. You might also consider detaching the hose from both ends, emptying it, and then running some warm water through it to make sure that there’s nothing left inside before reattaching it again.

And finally, while power outages are not dangerous, power surges are. They’re dangerous for most devices, and water softeners aren’t excluded.

A power surge happens when there’s an unexpected spike in voltage, which might result in the internal circuitry getting fried unless you have some sort of surge protection.

In the event of a power surge, the reset procedure is still the same. However, if the device is unresponsive or can’t be reset using the above-mentioned process, then it’s very likely that something got damaged.


Resetting your water softener is only necessary in the event of a power outage or a maintenance procedure.

What you need to do in such situations is turn the water softener off and then on again. Then you can go ahead and set when you want your regeneration process to run. After that, all that’s left is to hit “Confirm,” and you can use the water softener again.

If you experienced a surge rather than an outage, then you might have some internal circuitry damage. The reset procedure is the same; however, if the system doesn’t want to reset or even turn on, then we’d suggest calling in a professional so that they can assess the level of damage.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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