What’s the Average Life of a Water Softener and When to Replace?

Water softeners are a very useful appliance in households. According to USGS, around 85 percent of total water in the US is hard, and water softeners are the most economical and effective way to get rid of calcium and magnesium (causing minerals) in water. Just like everything, water softeners have a life. In this article, we are going to discuss the average life of a water softener and when do you need to repair/replace your water softener.

Average Life of a Water Softener

The average life of a water softener is 10-12 years, but a high-quality water softener can work up to 20 years considering the level of hardness of water and how well you take care of it. Your water softener may need a repair before a replacement. Repairing your water system usually ads 5 more years to its life. If your water softener is 6-8 years old and shows trouble, you can opt for a repair. On the contrary, if your water softener is older than 10 years and shows trouble, replacement is the best option.

Signs for Replacement

There are some signs from which you can know that your water softener needs a replacement. Before arriving at any conclusion, you need to make sure that your water softener has no installation error, has enough salt, and all the parts are functioning according to the specifications. If you still notice the following problems, it is time to replace or repair your water softener.

stains of hard water in washroom

Hard Water Stains: You get to notice hard water stains in your bathtub, ceramics, crockery, water-using appliances, and washed clothes. Scale buildup on appliances is the most significant indicator of the presence of hard water.

Bad Taste: If your softener has completed its age, it will probably give you a bad taste of water. The reason is that the resin beads in the mineral tank are no longer working and are unable to remove calcium and magnesium from water. Calcium and magnesium make water taste bad and flat.

Reduced Water Pressure: As your softener ages, its capacity to maintain high-pressure decreases. Despite having a full supply pressure, you will get slow water in your home. You can check this by looking at the supply pressure of water before it enters the softener system.

Increased Salt Consumption: Salt consumption increases over time. After 10-12 years, salt consumption will increase, and you will notice a visible increase in salt consumption by your water softener.

hard water effects on skin

Shower Problems and Skin Dryness:You will notice that your soaps and shampoos are not making enough lather as they did with soft water. Your skin will also start to get dry, and you will have to face the dandruff problem as well. There will be a visible difference in the amount of soap consumption and lather formation while having a shower.

Slime Buildup: Another visible indicator of hard water is the slime buildup on plumbing pipes. If your pipes suddenly start to develop a crusty slime buildup around them, just understand that hard water is the culprit here, and your water softener is not working correctly.

Tips for Extended Life

You can use the following tips to not only increase the life of your softener but also enhance its functionality

Softening Salt: Make sure that your water softener never runs of softening salt. The salt has the same importance for water softener as an engine oil for your car or bike. Make sure that you do not use cheap quality salts as they can destroy the resins in the mineral tank. Do not overfill the salt as well. Add the salt when it foes below 1/3 of the tank and leave ¼ of the tank empty while adding the salt. Check the salt levels every 4-6 weeks and use the same salt every time for refilling.

General Cleaning: You must clean the water softener every 6-8 months, especially the brine tank. Instructions to wash the system are explained in the user manual.

Filter Replacement: If there are any filters in your water softener, make sure you change them on the recommended time. The filter lifespan and instructions to replace the filter are mentioned in the user guide.

prefilter for water softener

Optimum Setting: Make sure that you run the softener in an optimum setting. Putting too much workload for a long time can destroy its working capacity and parts. Just keep a normal setting for work as it minimizes the salt usage and increases the life of the water softener.


Pre-filter: Adding a pre-filter also helps in extending the life of your water softener. A filter that can filter sediment, chlorine, and other contaminants that impact the working of water softener help in improving the working and life of water softeners.

Final Thoughts

Water softeners are not a lifetime product. You will have to replace them eventually; however, you can increase the life of a softener up to 20 years by taking all the precautions explained above.

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