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How Long do Water Softeners Last? Tips for Extending its Life

Service Technician Inspecting Softener 0213

Whether you just moved into a new house, just bought a new water softener, or you've had yours for years, you may be wondering when you're expected to replace it. How long do water softeners last, anyway? And do they require some kind of maintenance? You want your investment to last as long as possible. So, here are some tips to extend your water softeners lifespan.

What Does My Water Softener Do?

Most of us here in Minnesota have very hard water, thanks to concentrations of calcium and magnesium. These minerals aren’t dangerous, but they can dry out skin and hair, cause spots and soap scum to build up on dishes and plumbing fixtures, make our water taste “off,” and eventually, even clog our water heater.

Installing a water softener eliminates these annoying problems by filtering the hard water through resin beads before it is distributed throughout the house. The beads trigger an ion exchange that converts the hard water into soft.

How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

Water softeners can last 10 to 20 years, depending on the type and quality you buy. On average, a single tank electric water softener could last you up to 12 years, while a Kinetico system can last as many as 20 years. However, no appliance lasts forever. If your system is 5 years old and you start to notice some of the hard water symptoms we noted above, it’s probably time for repair. However, if your water softener is 10 years of more, if might be time for a replacement. The sooner you call for a professional inspection, the better your chances of fixing a problem rather than suffering an expensive failure.

While you could install and ignore your water softener until something seems amiss, taking a few simple steps can keep it in optimal working condition and extend its life for years.

Tips for Giving Your Water Softener a Long and Healthy Life

  • Change the filter: Your owner manual will be able to walk you through this process. If you have a Kinetico water softening system, it may use an in-line filter and this will occasionally require replacement.
  • Add Regenerant: You need to make sure your softener never runs out of regenerant. Refill before water is visible in the brine drum or softener cabinet. Use high quality cube or pellet rather than rock or solar salt. It costs more, but its higher purity means less residue build-up. That will save you money in the long run.
  • If you have a single tank electric softener, you will need to flush the resin bed with water softener cleaner about once a year to retain the effectiveness of the resin beads.
  • Don’t replenish the salt supply until the tank is down to 1/3 full. When you refill, leave 4-6 inches (about 1/4 of the tank) empty.
  • When you add salt, look for any hardened “salt bridges” and remove them.
  • Don’t make the softener work too hard. The setting should be high enough to properly soften your water, but anything higher will only cause undue wear. Ask your dealer for advice if you aren’t sure especially since we have such hard water here.

With just a little effort, you can significantly extend the life of your water softener, and enjoy the benefits of soft water for many years. You can help ensure the long life of your water softener by making the right choice when selecting one for your home. Single tank electric systems are often cheaper, but may require for more time for maintenance. Kinetico water systems are engineered to provide you with quality water, all the time, and without requiring extensive and frequent maintenance.  

So, let’s hear it for water softeners. They give us clean, soft water that’s easier on our hair, laundry, fixtures, and food and saves us money on cleaning products and water.

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Tags: Water Softeners