How Long Do Water Softeners Last

How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

How Long Will Your Water Softener Last?

Why do you need to know how long do water softeners last?It could improve the taste of your water, make your skin healthier and so much more.

Some of you may be confused as to what a water softener is, or even how long do water softeners last? If you have just moved into a new house and are looking into installing a water softener or looking to replace an older model, you might want to consider your water softener’s lifespan. Even if a water softener is a home product that you never thought you needed, it never hurts to learn just what these devices do, how long they last, and the simple measures you can take to improve their longevity. 

Water Softener, How long do water softeners last
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What Does a Water Softener Do?

For people who don’t know the term “hard water,” the concept of a water softener seems odd and unnecessary, but in mineral heavy areas, they are sometimes very crucial to your health, comfort, and hygiene. Some areas with high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, or other minerals create what is called “hard water,” which has the potential to dry out your hair or skin, lead to a build-up of soap scum or cause spots on dishes and plumbing units. Hard water can even impact the taste of your water, and over time, can clog up your water heater. 

A water softener helps eliminate these issues, and saves you from the sometimes expensive annoyance of keeping up with maintenance problems that hard water can cause. Water softeners work by filtering the hard water through resin beads, an ion exchange is triggered through this process, converting the hard water to soft before it is dispersed throughout your home. 

Signs you Water Softener Might Be Malfunctioning

Before we delve into how long these devices are supposed to last, let’s explore the obvious signs that you might need to start looking for a replacement:

  • Change in your water’s taste: This is a sign that might be the easiest to spot because softened water has a very distinct difference in taste in comparison to hard water. If you drink water daily, this will be a hard sign to miss. 
  • Crusty pipes: If your pipes begin to develop a crust due to the build up of the minerals in your water, this is a clear sign that your water is not being properly softened, and these harsh minerals are not being properly filtered. 
  • Soap no longer lathers: If your water is not properly softened, then the expected chemical reaction that you’ve come to associate with soap (its cleansing bubbly quality) will be noticeably absent, and your soap will be much harder to rinse off than it should be with a working water softener. 

How Long Do They Last?

The most common estimate for the longevity of a water softener is up to, approximately, 20 years, this of course, is if the device is well-maintained throughout its use. This also is heavily dependent on the quality and type of softener that you purchase, an electric single tank softener averages around 12 years of quality use, while systems like Kinetico might range up to the desired 20 year lifespan. 

It’s not always easy to tell when your water softener is in need of a replacement, however, but if it is at least 10 years old, you can never be too safe and calling for a professional inspection to give the device a rudimentary once-over, might help you gauge when you should consider investing in another. Checking with a professional is always the best method to fix any problems that might be occurring, and save you from having to fix a more expensive failure in the future.

The resin beads housed in the softener also have the typical lifespan of 20 years, which is very convenient, and you rarely will have to replace the beads unless you are replacing the device itself. This, however, is not always the case, and if your local water has high concentrations of chlorine or iron your water softener resin has a significantly shorter lifespan. If you need to replace the beads, but the unit is still in relatively good condition, contact a professional before attempting to do any self-maintenance. 

Unlike the resin, the salt used in the water softener must be replaced far more frequently. The resin beads gain their utility from their sodium ions, which are produced by salt that is manually added to the brine tank of the softener (a separate tank from where the beads are housed). This salt must be refilled every two to three months, and can be in either coarse or pellet form, easily available at any grocery store. Each refill requires approximately two forty-pound bags, but this is also dependent on the type of water softener that you buy. 

Tips to Lengthen the Life of Your Water Softener

  • Do not refill the salt supply until the tank is the only ⅓ of the way full. You should also leave a quarter of the tank empty when refilling.
  • Do not set the water softener higher than you need to. Making the softener overwork can cause needless wear, and your settings should be adjusted according to what is strictly necessary for your water quality. 
  • Add regenerate to brine drum instead of rock or solar salt. It’s a more expensive investment, but there will be less built-up residue in the long run.  
  • Change the filter in your softener (these instructions are highly dependent on your type of softener, that it is best to use your owner’s manual as a guide). 
  • For electric single tank softeners, flush the resin bed at least once a year with softener cleaner to maintain the effectiveness of the resin beads. 

In Conclusion

Water, Water Bottles, Water Softener, How long do water softeners last?
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Water softener system might seem like a complex part of your home to tackle, but with the right up-keep, and ample research into the best water softeners, they can be part of the stress-free home routines you engage in every few months. As long as you are knowledgeable about this device in your home and know what to look for, you will rarely have to worry about it, and will be able to enjoy softened, pleasant tasting water for up to twenty years!

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