Water softeners last between 10 to 15 years. A major determinant is the quality of the water softener you get. With a good system and proper maintenance, the lifespan of your softening system can go up to 20 years.

It is advisable to inspect your water softener after every 5 years. After 10 years, there may be telltale signs that the performance of your system is declining.

You will have to replace your water softener system eventually. It may take 10 years or 20 years, depending on the frequency of usage and maintenance practices.

What Affects the Lifespan of Your Water Softener?

Water softening systems are designed for daily usage. But like any other machine, smooth operations may be affected by various factors. For water softeners, these factors include:

  1. Quantity of hard water processed – The amount of water treated is a major determinant of the lifespan of your system. Treating copious amounts will lead to a reduced life expectancy. A larger family that uses a lot of water will realize that their water treatment system degrades much more quickly.
  2. Frequency of use – The frequency of operation also affects the lifespan of the water softener. Frequency is largely affected by the level of minerals in the water. With more minerals, the water softener works harder to deliver quality water.

Signs That Your Water Softener Is Not Working Properly

There will be clear evidence that your water softener is failing. Visible signs include spotty dishes, soap scum on bathroom walls, and stiff laundry.

Some more significant evidence includes:

Change in Drinking Water Taste (Calcium and Magnesium Factor)

Change in Drinking Water Taste

There will be a considerable change in the water taste when the system degrades. Hard water is alkaline due to the presence of calcium and magnesium. The water takes a chalky nature and tastes distinctly different. When this happens, it is an indication that your softener is not working effectively

Problems With Soap Lathering

Problems With Soap Lathering

Soft water lathers easily. When your water softener is failing, the water will take longer to lather. Again, this is a result of minerals such as calcium that make up hard water.

To confirm whether your water softener is working, you can fill a container with 10 drops of liquid soap. Go ahead and shake the bottle vigorously. The water turns cloudy if it is hard water.

Scale Formation in Pipes and Faucets

Formation in Faucets

Hard water contains minerals such as magnesium. When passing through pipes, there are chemical reactions that lead to mineral buildup. For instance, visible crusty deposits mean mineral buildup, and it’s time to check your softener.

How to Make Your Water Softener Work for Longer

There are ways to extend the life of water softeners. There are simple steps you could take to ensure your water softener runs seamlessly, including topping up the system with salt.

Apart from this, you will need to do take care of the following:

Regenerant

A water softener needs the regenerant to work effectively. It is a type of salt responsible for the running of the softener. Look at the instruction manual to check the regenerant needed. In most cases, it is best to avoid block and rock salts. The use of salt pellets like evaporated salt pellets and solar salt pellets is recommended.

Resin Bed

It is also known as the brine tank. Clean the resin bed every two years. When the water softeners become older, you should clean it annually. The dangers of not flushing your brine tank regularly include limited performance of the softener.

Filters

A filter is crucial in removing any dirt, sediments, or debris in your water to avoid that pollutants damage your water softeners. Replacing and fitting filters can be taken as a DIY project. You only have to follow the instruction manual on your softener. A typical filter will cost you between $20 to $50.

Regular Checks to the Salt Level

Do checkups after every 3 months. Low salt levels adversely impact the performance of your water softener. The salt is useful in regenerating the softeners. Without an adequate salt level, your system will work too hard and eventually stop producing soft water. It is recommended that you top up the salt levels when the tank is 1/3 full.

Inspecting the System

If possible, check your system after every 3 months. Regular inspections mean that you will arrest any potential situation that may affect your water quality. For example, check for crusts in the brine tank as well as levels of salt.

Our Final Thoughts

So, how long do water softeners last? That depends on several factors, including the amount of water treated, the quality of your water softener, and frequency of use.

In an ideal situation, a softener will last close to 15 years before you need a new water softener. Watch out for any signs of system degradation to arrest any failures early enough. Choose the most suitable softener for your needs and do regular inspection and maintenance to guarantee maximum life for your softener.

About the Author

Paul Morton

Paul is a retired plumber who now spends hours on home improvement projects. From fixing toilets to leaking pipes in crawls spaces, there is nothing Paul can't do or wouldn't try. Paul was running his own plumbing company and is our expert in regard to all types of water filtration systems.

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