Water softeners improve the quality of your water by removing the excess minerals that increase the water hardness level. Water can be softened using ion-exchange systems. The value of these water treatment solutions means you should always have one in your home or business, especially if you live in an area with higher water hardness levels.

Like most appliances, water softeners experience issues that eventually lead to failure. How long does a water softener last? Well that depends on many factors, and it is important to be able to identify them to ensure you maximize the life expectancy of your system. 

Water Softener Life Expectancy

Water softeners have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. The number of years varies depending on the build quality of the water softener you buy, the materials used to soften the water and the system’s maintenance over its life span. 

Factors That Affect the Life Span of a Water Softener 

Water softeners are not meant to last forever, but they can last for a long time if they are well taken care of. Here are some factors that affect the life span of your water softener:

Water Use 

The amount of water you use in your home daily affects the number of times your water softener has to regenerate. If your home’s water use is higher than average, your water softener will have to work harder to keep up with the demand. This impact will directly shorten the life span of your water softener. 

Water Quality 

Water hardness levels indicate the amount of calcium and magnesium present in the water. Water hardness varies depending on where you live. If you live in an area with high water hardness levels, more salt will be required to soften the water, resulting in more regeneration. Your water softener may not last as long as other systems in areas where the water doesn’t require extra treatment. 

Maintenance and Upkeep

The maintenance and upkeep of your water softener plays a significant influence on how long it lasts. Rust and other debris may accumulate in your system if it’s not cleaned or checked regularly.

As part of your regular maintenance, you may need to replace the resin beads, use a water softener cleaner in the resin tank and remove salt bridges. Sediment, sand, iron, chlorine and other substances can cause problems with your water softener. You can add a prefilter to remove those contaminants from your water supply. 

Professional inspections and maintenance are also necessary to prolong the life of your system. A professional will ensure your water softener is clean and functioning well, and they will identify and repair any issues before they cause further damage. 

Installation Quality 

To ensure your water softener operates well and lasts long, consider the quality of your installation. While it’s possible to install the system yourself, getting it professionally sized and installed is the best way to ensure you have the suitable equipment for your needs. A poor installation can shorten the life span of your water softener. Properly sizing a system involves many considerations, from calculating your softening requirements to understanding water softener grains capacity as well as flow rates.

The Type of Salt 

The salt you use for your water softener can be impacted by various factors, like your water usage, the type and size of your system or how hard your water is. It is important to use salt that best suits your system for better performance and longevity. 

Common Signs of Water Softener Failure

If you’re having issues with your water softener, there will be indications that your system is failing. Here are a few common signs your water softener is reaching its life expectancy: 

Soap Won’t Lather Properly 

When your water softener no longer works, your soap won’t lather properly. If you’re struggling to make the soap frothy when showering or washing dishes, you might need to examine your system because this is a sign of water hardness. The excess minerals react to soap and reduce its cleaning capabilities. 

Laundry Issues 

Hard water causes laundry discoloration and makes your clothes feel rough against your skin. If you see powdery residue left on your laundry after a wash, your water softener might have an issue. Hard water can also damage your washing machine and other appliances due to mineral buildup. 

Water Pressure Change 

Low water pressure can suggest that your water softener is not operating at its peak. Decreased water pressure can indicate a buildup of sediment and other minerals. It could also indicate deterioration of the resin beads. 

Buildup Around Faucets 

Hard water can cause buildup around your faucets, which will increase the time you spend cleaning them. If the buildup is white and chalky, that suggests your water supply has high calcium levels. If the water also has high iron levels, the residue may be a rusty or yellow hue. 

Dry Skin and Hair 

Hair and skin dryness is one of the effects of hard water. When your water softener is failing, the hard water makes it challenging to rinse away the soap from your skin and hair, causing dryness. The excess minerals can also stick to your skin and absorb your natural oils and moisture. Exposure to hard water can also damage your hair. The buildup of minerals creates a cast that prevents moisture from penetrating your hair.

If your skin or hair starts to feel itchy and dry and there’s no other apparent cause, it might be time for maintenance or possibly a water softener replacement. 

Ready to Replace Your Water Softener? 

If you’ve been noticing any common signs of failure, such as low water pressure or a change in water quality, your water softener may no longer be working as well as it used to. 

At Culligan Water, we have state-of-the-art water softeners with unique patented technology that increases efficiency. Our water softeners include features that fix hard water, alert you of malfunctions in the system or any changes in water quality, and make necessary adjustments. 

Contact us for a water softener replacement. Our professionals will determine your water hardness and find a system that best suits your needs.