How Long Do Water Softeners Last?
Speaking of lifespans, that leads many to wonder how long a water softener actually lasts.
Considering the investment that you’re about to make, this is an excellent question.
Typically a water softener will last for 5-15 years. Let’s explore the details.
Do Water Softeners Have a Lifespan?
So, how long can you count on your water softener lasting? The short answer to this question is, “it depends.”
What determines the system’s lifespan?
Several factors, including its type, how well you maintain it, and the quality of the system’s components and construction.
While it would be nice if these appliances lasted forever, you have to plan on replacing them in the future.
On average, you can count on a high-quality system lasting up to 15 years.
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Tanks
Salt-based ion exchange tanks last between 10 and 15 years. These types of softeners exchange hard water minerals, including calcium and magnesium, for sodium ions. The brine tank’s salt supplies the sodium ions.
Salt-free water conditioners last from 5-10 years, and, unlike water softeners that remove hard water minerals, these systems “condition” your home’s water.
The conditioning process involves chemical changes in the water’s calcium and magnesium.
That way, they don’t cling to surfaces and cause scale.
Dual Tank Systems
Like salt-based ion-exchange tanks, these systems also last between 10 and 15 years. In addition to having two tanks instead of one, you’ll also notice that the regeneration process for dual tank systems is different.
For example, when water regenerates in one tank, the system switches over to the other tank.
In doing so, that eliminates having to wait before getting your hands on soft water.
Lifespan Comparison of Different Types of Softeners
|Salt-based ion exchange tanks||Between 10 and 15 years|
|Salt-free conditioners||Between 5 and 10 years|
|Dual tank systems||Between 10 and 15 years|
Common Signs Your Softener is Failing
So, how do you tell the common signs your softener is failing? Here are some signs to look for:
If so, your water is leaving behind limescale.
That’s a sticky deposit that clings to faucets, pipes, and water-based appliances. Water softeners prevent minerals from binding to surfaces. So, if you notice this happening, that’s a sign that your system is falling.
Soap Doesn’t Lather
You can test to see if your soap lathers well by adding around ten drops of liquid soap into a bottle, filling it up, putting the cap on, and shaking it vigorously. Do you see suds or cloudy water? If you see cloudy water, that’s an indication that the water is hard.
Water Tastes Different
Think about when you first installed your home’s water softening system. You probably noticed that your water had a clean and smooth taste. If you start noticing that it tastes chemical-like or chalky, or minerals pass through, then it’s time for a new water softener.
How to Extend the Life of Your Water Softener
Here are some tips for adding some extra years to your system:
Add a Pre-Filter
Examples of this sediment include dirt, rust, and sand. If these sediments pass through your system, they can damage its water softening media.
Check Salt Levels Regularly
Clean the Brine Tank
Conduct Inspections Every Three Months
For example, if bridging is occurring, that can prevent your water softener from working efficiently.
When You’ll Know It’s Time for a Replacement
If you notice issues occurring with your home’s water, that could be a sign that you’re using the wrong type of salt. Other issues to check for include:
- Ensuring the softener’s hardness settings are accurate.
- Making sure the brine tank or resin bed is clean.
You can also look for other issues that indicate that it’s time for a replacement. Those issues include feeling sand-like particles in your water, the softener failing to regenerate, the regeneration process frequently happening, feeling a change in your water pressure, or the unit doesn’t stop running.
Water softeners are awesome for their ability to solve hard water issues in your home. Not only does this water taste better, but it increases the efficiency of water-based appliances.
However, if your system has been working for longer than you can remember or for more than 10-15 years, it might be time to check for issues or look for a replacement system.