How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

The main purpose of water softener is to remove hard water minerals from your water.  Water softener does this through an ion exchange process where minerals like calcium and magnesium are replaced with sodium or potassium.

Water softeners are really effective when it comes to removing these minerals and other contaminants from your drinking water. Soft water provides many different benefits like for example:

  • It helps you save on soap and detergent
  • Soft water doesn’t cause the limescale buildup
  • Cleaning your home becomes a lot easier
  • Water softener removes bad elements from your water and more
Water softeners can last for a really long time, but they have to be properly maintained and if some problems do occur, they need to be serviced as soon as possible. 

A well-maintained water softener should last 20 years. There are some factors that you can take into consideration if you are trying to decide if your water softener is near the end of its life.  When your water softener starts to be less effective, the water in your home will start to get harder and the contaminants that your water softener previously used to block are going to slowly start to get into your drinking water.

So, if you notice any changes in the taste of your water, the color or the odor, we suggest that you call your local technician and have your water softener examined. 

These things can also occur if your water softener is damaged, so before you decide to buy a new water softening system, we recommend that you first check if your older one can be repaired/improved. You should watch out for things such as:

  • Stiff and scratchy clothes after you wash them
  • Hard water stains appearing on your water-based appliances, countertops, etc.
  • Water tasting worse than it usually does.
Water softener lifespan also highly depends on the quality and the type of water softener you purchase. Single tank electric water softeners last around 10 years and dual tank water softeners can last 20 years. Standard water softeners that can be found in most homes last 15-20 years. Their lifespan can be longer if you properly take care of your water softener and if you repair it when any problem occurs.

How to maintain the water softener?

Unfortunately, water softeners require regular checks so that they can keep working properly over a longer period of time.  Here are some things you need to watch out for: Check the salt regularly  You need to refill your brine tank approximately every 2 months, but you should check the brine tank more frequently just in case. Check if the salt is wet and covered in water. If it’s dry, then you need to refill the tank with new salt. Clean your brine tank The best time to clean your brine tank is when it’s nearly out of salt. If the tank is dirty, then the salt is going to look like sludge. You can use detergent, brush and water to clean the tank. Once this is done, rinse the tank and refill it with salt. Watch out for salt bridges Salt bridge is just a layer of crust that separates the water and salt in the water softener’s tank. If you spot a salt bridge, just break it up, because it prevents your water softener from working properly. A few other signs that something is wrong with your water softener:

  • The soap doesn’t lather properly
  • Scale buildup in pipes, bathtub and other drains.
  • Frequent water softener regeneration
  • The sudden change in the water pressure

How you can extend the life of your water softener

Other than frequently maintaining and servicing your water softener when it’s necessary, you can also do a few more things to extend the life of your water softener:
  • Use the right salt for your water softener (Check your water softener’s manual and see what type of salt they recommend you to use)
  • Check for leaks or any other problems with your water softener like salt bridges.
  • Use a prefilter to handle other additional water problems that your softener wasn’t meant to solve, such as iron, chlorine or other contaminants.