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Replacing Your Water Softener - What You Need to Know

Dec 11th 2018

Should I Repair or Replace My Water Softener?

Water softening systems are worthwhile investments that eliminate all of a home’s hard water troubles. How long is a water softener good for and how can you tell if a water softener is working properly? A high-quality softening system will last between 10 to 15 years. But if your water tastes funny or you’re seeing those awful hard water spots on the glassware, it’s time to take a closer look.

When water softeners are properly installed and maintained, they can operate for years with minimal maintenance. If you notice a change in the quality of your water, it’s in your best interest to have your softener periodically serviced by a water treatment specialist.

Cleaning the brine tank, using the right type of high-quality salt, making sure hardness settings are accurate, and simply checking that an outlet is working, are steps homeowners can take on their own to help ensure their system runs smoothly.

If routine troubleshooting doesn’t work or safety issues are a concern, call for service. An expert can diagnose serious problems indicating it’s time for a new system, or identify simple solutions such as adding more salt to the brine tank or clearing blockages and control valves. When you’re not able to find the cause of a system gone awry, don’t ever leave it to chance. Addressing the problem immediately can help avoid costly future repairs.

How to Tell if Your Water Softener is Bad

If you’ve invested in a softening system, it’s likely because the water in your home is hard-- and hard to live with. But as with all appliances, sometimes things can and do go wrong; water softeners are no exception. Homeowners often ask: “How do I know if my water softener is working properly?” The signs you need a new water softener can leave you scratching your head.

Does your skin feel dry and itchy and your hair lost its luster? Does your water no longer feel soft and your appliances have scale build-up? Are your shower doors accumulating soap scum and it’s nearly impossible to get the water spots off your glasses and dishes? Is your softener over a decade old? If you’ve answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, your system may need an upgrade or repair.

To identify issues with your softener, it’s to your benefit to learn how your system works. Hard water is simply water containing a high content of calcium and magnesium minerals. Water can be softened by filtering the hard water through resin beads.
When the minerals in hard water flow through the resin bed, it’s through a process called an ion exchange.
During the ion exchange, hard water minerals trade places with the soft ions on the resin beads, resulting in softer, more desirable drinking water. Over time, the exposure to chlorinated water can damage this resin, causing it to fragment and restrict water pressure through the resin tank. When blockages occur, not only is water pressure affected, clarity and quality of the water also suffers.

Water Softener Resin Cleaner or Resin Replacement?

Water softener resin life can be shortened by the harshness of city water. Although resin beads are routinely recharged with salt and normally have a lifespan as long as the softener itself, if you’re noticing sand-like particles floating in your water, it’s likely the resin will need to be replaced.

To keep your system from getting clogged, water softener cleaner may be used every few months to flush the resin bed. But even so, after several years, heavily chlorinated water will take its toll on softener efficiency. Damaged resin loses its ability to fight hard water, and as the resin breaks down it causes the softener to lose capacity.

When a softener becomes polluted with the deposits found in hard water, using the manufacturer’s recommendation as a guide is a safe bet in purchasing the best water softener resin for your system. Clean or replace a water softener resin bed as soon as there’s a problem will avoid a lapse in your home’s softened water.

Replacing Your Water Softener- What You Need to Know

You’ve cleaned the softener, checked the salt, the outlets, the brine tank and the resin. Your water still isn’t up to par and your system is old. It’s probably time for that upgrade. Lucky for you, a water treatment company can get you set up with the latest technology in water purification.

High-efficiency water systems using upflow technology cut down on salt and water usage and regenerate using the exact amount needed- creating much less waste than antiquated systems. The right softener for your home will save you money in the long run. Less waste means lower energy bills and more money in your pocket.

Not only will a new upflow system save you money, it produces the best tasting (and smelling) water. When shopping for a new water softener, look for a long warranty—on the tank itself as well as on control valves. Manufacturers with quality products will offer outstanding warranties, providing homeowners with much-needed peace of mind.

Getting Set Up

Naturally, you’ll want to get the most value for your money when making this type of investment. Deciding which softening system is right for your home can be overwhelming, so using a water softener buying guide can be useful when doing comparison shopping.

Narrowing down your options by enlisting the help of a skilled professional can save you a lot of hassle even if you’re a handy DIYer. A pro can assess your water, guide you through proper sizing, explain the difference capabilities of each system, and get you set up with exactly the right system for your home.

Hard water isn’t just a nuisance. It can lead to costly repairs and a shortened lifespan of major appliances. From stains on tubs to mineral deposits in your pipes, foul-tasting water, and dingy clothing, it’s hard to put a price on soft water. A high-efficiency water softening system will wash away all your hard water troubles for years to come.