If you have hard water, a water softener is a necessity. They’re reasonably priced and offer many benefits. Having softer water will provide you with better drinking water and make your baths and showers more enjoyable. A water softener will even help extend the life of major appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher. Hard water takes a toll on these items. It even causes a scaly buildup in your pipes and plumbing fixtures, which can lead to costly repairs.
Even if your water isn’t all that hard, a water softener will improve your hair and skin. It can also help eliminate stains on your clothing and in your sinks and tub. The question most homeowners have is this: “How long will a water softener last?” Although they are affordable, you are still making an investment in this item, and you want to know you can count on it for years to come.
The Average Water Softener Lifespan
While the actual lifespan of a water softener depends on many factors, the average system lasts 15 to 25 years. The quality of the water softener, the materials your softener uses, and how it is maintained all affect how many years you’ll get out of it. If your water softener was already in your home when you moved in, you won’t know how old it is unless the previous owners left behind some documentation. When this is the case, instead of relying on the average lifespan as a guide, you’ll have to watch for signs that it’s beginning to fail.
How Your Water Softener Works
Estimating how many years you’ll get out of your water softener begins with understanding how it works. All water has some minerals in it. These minerals come from the rocks and soil that water flows through naturally. While some minerals can be beneficial, you’ll start having problems when there’s too high a concentration of them.
When you live in the city, the water treatment plant filters your water. They remove harmful chemicals from the water supply, but minerals such as calcium and magnesium can be left behind. These minerals are highly concentrated in well water, too. In high amounts, they can cause a buildup in your pipes that will restrict your water pressure and damage your plumbing. A water softener filters these minerals out of the water you use in your home.
As the water softener ages, it won’t do as good of a job at removing minerals. You’ll know it’s time to replace your current system if you notice stains in the sinks, tubs, and toilets. Your hair and skin may feel dry, and you can experience eye irritation.
The Four Types of Water Softeners
There are four main types of water softeners available. Each has good and bad points, and each can have a different life expectancy.
Salt-and-brine water softeners are a mid-priced option that works nicely in homes and RVs. This is why they’re the most commonly used type of water softener. It includes a resin bed that draws the minerals in where the brine jet causes a reaction. This reaction results in an ion exchange in which salt ions are released in place of the minerals, and the salt in the water is hardly detectable. A high-quality salt-and-brine unit will be effective and could last longer than other options.
Some water softeners use distillation, during which the water is boiled. This process separates the minerals from the water molecules. The water vapor separates from the minerals, cools, and is safe for use. This type of softener appliance is larger, and it can cost more.
Reverse osmosis water softeners force the water through a membrane that traps the minerals, allowing only the water to pass through. This softener requires more care. You’ll need to change the filters and maintain the membrane on a regular basis.
Magnetic water softeners use a magnetic field that pulls the ions from the calcium and magnesium. This neutralizes the minerals. They dissolve in the water instead of bonding together and creating a buildup. These units are small, they attach directly to your pipes, and they don’t use electricity. Many homeowners appreciate how low-maintenance they are.
Proper Maintenance Helps
Water softeners are like most appliances. How long they last depends heavily on maintenance. Even the highest-quality water softener won’t last very long if it isn’t properly maintained. Regular recharge of the resin bed, filter changes, and inspections will give your system many more years. Having repairs taken care of as needed also helps when it comes to extending the system’s life. Your water softener doesn’t need daily attention, but having our team from Absolute Services do a routine maintenance check once or twice a year can be beneficial.
Take Care of Repairs Promptly
Promptly taking care of repairs prevents further damage to your water softener. It also maximizes its lifespan. Scheduling routine maintenance is a great first step, but you’ll want to get to any recommended repairs done quickly. Rely on us at Absolute Services in Elizabethtown for help with these repairs.
If your softener hasn’t been working at full capacity for some time, the motor could be damaged. When this happens, the water isn’t circulated properly. The motor is an independent piece and a simple fix, but it’s not something you’ll want to do yourself.
Resin beds can give out quicker than the rest of the system. This is especially true if your water is heavily chlorinated. The bed can be replaced independently of the rest of the water softener.
Your system will have bypass valves that allow you to use hard water for bigger jobs like washing the car or watering the lawn without overworking the water softener. These valves can become stuck or clogged. When this happens, hard water can enter your home. This is another easy repair we can do for you.
If your water softener has electrical problems that need to be repaired regularly, it may be time to replace the entire system. This is especially true if the same issue keeps popping up. Since the average lifespan of a water softener is 15 to 25 years, you’ll want to watch it closely once it reaches ten years of age, especially if the system is already having problems, your water is extremely hard, or you are unsure of the maintenance it has received. You want to replace an older water softener sooner rather than later. Once it fails, you could be dealing with a flooded home.
Reliable Water Softener Services
You can count on us at Absolute Services for all of your water softener installation, maintenance, and repair services. We have been helping the citizens of Elizabethtown with all of their heating, cooling, and plumbing needs since 2008. We’re a family-owned and -operated business with a focus on the highest standard of workmanship and fast service. We also provide electrical assistance and deal with garage door needs. When our expert technicians come to your home, you can rely on up-front pricing, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. We have offices in Louisville, Lexington, and Elizabeth. Contact Absolute Services today for more information on water softeners and your other household needs.