Updated: April 16, 2021 by Zac Harding
Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. A water system is a filtration unit that softens the water by removing the concentration of minerals that cause it to harden.
As the water travels through the system these minerals are filtered. Hard water contributes to several major issues inside your home. Using soft water helps to reduce the wear and tear on your appliances by eliminating the build-up of scale in the pipes.
Although there aren’t compulsory requirements for a water softener, one will likely be needed if your water’s hardness surpasses 7 grains per gallon.
If your house already has a water softener or you’ve recently purchased one, you may be wondering how long water softeners last and when it is likely to require maintenance.
A water softener can last between 10 to 20 years, however, the longevity can differ depending on the type that you choose and the quality. If your water softener is well-maintained it will likely last longer.
Installing your softener and ignoring its maintenance requirements will affect how well it functions.
If your water softener has only been installed for a few years but you begin to notice that the water is harder, it is important to check whether the system requires professional attention or repairs.
A salt-based ion exchange water softener has a lifespan ranging between 10 to 15 years. This type tends to be the most popular. The hard minerals and calcium will be replaced by sodium ions which are supplied by salt in the brine tank.
As such, the water doesn’t transfer any residue onto users and appliances. Using pure saltwater is preferable as it will enhance the life of the unit.
An on-demand controlled water softener shares a similar lifespan of 10 to 15 years, however, this type of softener will control the water usage before flushing the minerals once a preset amount has been used.
If you adhere to the maintenance requirements of your unit, you should expect to get long-lasting use out of it.
A dual tank water softener is designed with two tanks that regenerate according to demand.
The functionality of this softener means that you do not have to wait for the completion of the process before a supply of soft water becomes available again.
Again, this type of tank will last for between 10 to 15 years so long as it is correctly maintained. However, some can last for as long as 20 years.
How to Tell If Your Water Softener Needs to Be Repaired or Replaced
Several warning signs will indicate that your water softener needs to be repaired or replaced. You will be pleased to know that these units often display noticeable signs that they are not functioning properly.
If you begin to notice when you drink your water that doesn’t taste the same as usual it may be a sign that you need a new machine because soft water systems are meant to improve the taste rather than worsen it.
Another sign can be identified through hard water surrounding your faucets and pipes. This is likely to become the most recognizable when you are in the process of cleaning.
One of the most telling signs that your water softener requires replacing is when the water refrains from lathering up. You will likely notice this issue when you are using the shower but struggle to get the water soapy enough.
What Affects How Long Water Softeners Last?
Your water softener’s lifespan is going to be influenced by several factors. Of course, the regularity in which it is used and how it is used can affect longevity. However, those that live in a state with hard water will likely find that their softener does not last as long.
If your softener is poorly installed, it isn’t going to perform as well as you would expect it to. Ensuring that your system is correctly installed will enhance the lifespan of the unit.
It is generally recommended that you conduct quarterly checks of the system to see whether any issues need to be responded to. You should also enlist a professional to check the unit on an annual basis as a service will ensure that it is in optimum condition and they can also carry out any necessary repairs.
If your water softener is used daily, the quality of the system is going to be affected. Your water softener will be working much harder to cater to your daily demands if it is used regularly so you will likely find that the parts need to be replaced much sooner.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Water Softener
To enhance the longevity of your water softener there are many things that you can do. First, it is important to check the system regularly. Doing so will inform you of any issues that need to be responded to. It is important to follow a maintenance schedule.
Use the right type of salt and also check the salt levels monthly. It is also important to check for any leaks or salt bridges inside the tank which will affect the performance of the softener.
Your water softener will also come with manufacturers’ guidance that will inform you of the regularities in which particular maintenance needs to be conducted.
Also if possible, try not to allow the softener to work too hard. It should be on a setting that is high enough to soften your water, but having it any higher could damage the different components.
As you can see many factors will influence the longevity of your water softener and the amount of time that it lasts can differ from 10 to 15 years depending on the quality of the components and also the type of unit that you choose, although most share fairly similar lifespans.
It is important to ensure that you follow up on maintenance to ensure that all of the parts are always in optimum condition.