How Long Do Water Softeners Last and What You Can Do to Extend Their Life

If you live in a region with hard water, you are probably familiar with water softeners. Essentially, these filtration systems reduce the concentration of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals in your water, preventing mineral buildup and improving water quality.

These mineral deposits can clog and corrode your pipes and fixtures, dry out your skin, and make your showers far less enjoyable, so it makes sense that many people rely on a water softener.

While they are certainly effective, few people know how long a water softener lasts. Whether you are considering installing a new water softener or have had one for many years, we want to help you get the most out of it. Here, we explain how long a water softener lasts and offer some tips you can follow to extend your water softener’s lifespan!

How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

The lifespan of your water softener depends on the type and quality of the specific water softener you have installed, but the average lifespan of almost any water softener ranges somewhere in the region of 10 to 20 years.

On average, an electric single tank water softener lasts about 12 years, while a more advanced system could last closer to 20. With that said, how long your water softener lasts also depends on several factors.

The following are two of the most important factors that determine how long your water softener will last:

  • The Frequency of Use – The more water you use, the harder your water softener has to work. If you have a large family and everyone takes lengthy showers every day, your water softener has to filter more water. On the other hand, if you live alone or have a small family and everyone in your household takes brief showers, your water softener will last much longer. Put simply, the more water your household uses, the harder your water softener works, putting more strain on it than if it only had to filter a relatively small volume of water each day.
  • The Hardness of the Water Being Treated – Another factor that plays a significant role in determining how long your water softener lasts is the quality of the water that flows through it. The higher the concentration of mineral deposits in the water, the higher the water hardness, and the more the water softening system has to work to filter those minerals out of your water. While these things are the most important, they are not the only factors that determine how long your water softener will last. Next, we explain some simple tips you can follow to ensure that your water softener performs well and has a long life.

How to Extend the Life of Your Water Softener

By putting in some effort, you can extend the lifespan of your water softener, saving you a significant amount of money in the long run. Not only will the following tips help extend the lifespan of your water softener, but most of them also keep your water softener running at peak performance levels. 

  • Change the Filter on Time – The owner’s manual for your water softener will explain how frequently you should replace the filter. It should also offer detailed instructions that explain the filter replacement process. By investing in replacement filters and changing them regularly, you can improve the performance of your water softener and extend its life.
  • Check the Salt Level Regularly – You should only need to refill the brine solution tank in your water softener roughly once every two months. That said, you can improve performance and extend your water softener’s lifespan if you check it more frequently. Your water softening system works much more effectively when you replace the salt as needed. Read the instruction manual for your water softener and learn how to check the salt level. With most water softener models, you can simply open the brine tank lid and make sure the salt is submerged. If you notice the salt is dry and the water level looks a little bit low, you should top up the salt. By checking on your water softener’s salt level, you follow proper maintenance protocol, keeping your water softener running at its best for longer.
  • Use High-Quality Salt – Not only should you make sure you refill the salt on time, but you must also make sure that you are using high-quality salt. Water softener salt is not very expensive, so it makes sense to spend a little bit extra on a better quality salt that helps your water softener run better and last longer. Evaporated salt pellets tend to be the purest form of water softener salt you can buy. For best results, avoid block salt, which can damage the internal components and cause premature corrosion and failure.
  • Clean the Water Softener’s Brine and Resin Tanks – If you want to get a longer life out of your water softener, take the time to learn basic maintenance skills. Draining and cleaning out the brine tank at appropriate intervals ensures that it is not filled with sludge and dirty salt. As you would expect, doing this helps your water softener perform more efficiently and keeps it running for much longer. Read the instruction manual for your water softener model and be sure to clean out the brine tank at the recommended intervals. While you do not have to clean the reservoir as often as the brine tank, cleaning the water softener’s resin tank is also important. Fortunately, you only need to do this once every five to seven years. In most cases, people hire a professional to perform this task, as it can be fairly difficult; however, the cost of having your resin tank cleaned is worth it as it can greatly increase the overall lifespan of your water softener.
  • Hire a Professional When You Notice Any Issues – As with most appliances, the quicker you address a problem, the better the chances are that you can repair it. Even minor problems left untreated can ruin a water softener. In most cases, the cost of hiring a professional will save you a great deal of money in the long run.

If you are not a handy person, you can hire a qualified technician to perform an annual maintenance check on your water softener. This service includes cleaning the brine and resin tanks, replacing the salt, rinsing or replacing the resin beads, and performing a water quality test.

Related: Quality Water Softeners – Best Picks

Final Words

If you maintain your water softener properly, you could potentially get 20 years out of it. Considering that replacing a water softener costs more than performing proper maintenance, following the tips listed above makes sense.

Not only will following a proper manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule help you extend the life of your water softener, but it also ensures that it is always running effectively and improving the quality of the water throughout your home!

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