How Long Do Water Softeners Last? Water Softener Lifespan

how long do water softeners last

A water softener is one of the worthy investments for your home.  It not only extends the lifespan of your appliances but reduces energy usage and prevents you from various health issues such as dry skin and hair, rashes, and many others.

When investing in hard water solutions for your home, not only you but everyone asks, for how long does the water softener last?

Because a water softener is an expensive investment, and no one can afford to replace it with a new one every other month or year.

Plus, not only purchasing, the installation and plumbing costs are expensive enough to make you think twice before buying any water softener.

In this article, we are going to help you learn the average lifespan of a water softener.

We also make you learn the common causes that shrink the lifespan of your hard-water solution, plus some suggestions to make you get the most out of them.

What Type of Water Softener Do You Have?

The most imperative point to learn how long water softeners do last is to know which type of water softener do you have?

Is it an ion-exchange salt-based water softener? Or do you use a water conditioner that electrically changes the water composition to make it useable?

Electric water softener which works on ion exchange salt-based method lasts around 10-years easily if nothing is broken.

It also depends on the quality of your water softener, in some cases, I have seen the same ion exchange salt-based water softener lasting for around 20-years.

If it’s a water conditioner, electrical water softener which changes the chemical compassion of water and is installed in the main supply of your water line, it can last for around 20-years easily, unless there is an accident or something unfortunate happens.

also read: Water Softer Size

Water Softeners Life Expectancy

Water softeners are the same as any other mechanical products you use. They are the same as your kitchen appliances, home appliances, and many other electrical or electronics appliance you use on regular basis.

They are constantly exposed to hard water, constantly working to provide you soft water, which surely increases the lifespan of your other appliances, pipelines, and many others.

During the softening process, the water softeners are constantly to calcium, magnesium, and many other minerals which make them wear out and reach their end.

Unfortunately, they wear out faster in some cases, they are designed to stand the test of time, and if you take good care of them, they do stand.

But in most of the cases, as per our experience, as per the statistics, they last no more than 15-years.

If you are very cautious, take good care, use them as per recommendation, it surely enhances the lifespan for around 20-years.

One more thing, it’s not like once you install the water softener, and do regeneration, they last as per mentioned lifespan, around 15-years.

In my personal experience, there are some cases where consumers install the softener, and within 1-2 years, they noticed the gradual change in the water taste, and upon testing, revealed that they were consuming hard water.

So, if you feel any change in the water taste, you must use the water kit to learn the GPG hardness of your water.

Keep in mind, as you consume your water every day, it is possible that the gradual change in the water taste, would not be felt by you.

Experts recommend that even after installation of the water softener, you should probably check your water hardness every six months, or once a year.

When Should a Water Softener Be Replaced

You must learn how long a water softener lasts, but the more important is to know when your water softener is failing, or about to run out.

The signs if you see in your water taste or colors, make you learn your water softener is running out.

What I love about the electrical and mechanical gadgets is they give you some indication before they wear out and need to be replaced.

In some cases, you might see that you installed a new water softener and within a few days, suddenly the water begins to turn hard again.

Well, this might be because there is some malfunction, or you forgot to add salt in the brine tank.

If you have been using a water softener for ages, and now it gradually begins to provide hard water, this is where you can learn, that’s the end and you need to replace it now.

But, let’s learn the most important and not overlook signs that your water softener is wearing out.

Soap Does Not Lather

The most common sign of hard water is difficulty in lathering. You will see either the soap would not leather at all or will take a greater amount of time to get the leather you want.

You will see that the soap you are rubbing on your body is not lathering at all, if you see that, check your water examine again, or do it at your home using a water kit.

Laundry Issues

If you find your fabrics scratchy, stiff, and uncomfortable in wearing, that can be due to hard water issues. Though you can use a water softener to fix that issue temporarily.

It is not a long-term solution, for a permanent fix, you use a water softener, either to fix it right now if it can be, or replace it with a new one if you can’t fix it or it can’t be fixed.

Crusty Build Up in your Pipes

Hard water comes dissolved with minerals such as Magnesium, calcium, and many others.

If your current water softener is not working you will start to see these minerals in your faucets, pipes, or your glassware will start to develop spots.

You will have to clean up those build-ups, or your other appliances or gadgets will also suffer at the same time.

The Water Tastes Salty

If your water softener is not working properly, the first sign would be its taste. Most of the consumers though don’t drink soft water, even though it is safe for drinking, they like mineral water.

But if you drink water softener produces soft water, and if the water softener is not functioning properly, you will taste it salty.

Well, if you have installed a new water softener, it might be because you over-filled the water softener brine tank with the salt, or the brine tank is not working properly, it is not replacing mineral particles with the sodium in the right proportion.

If it is a malfunction due to the reason I mentioned, you need to clean the water softener, or brine tank and then refill it with the salt.

If you are using your water softener for ages, and now you check its taste is salty, or muddy, maybe it is because your water softener is wearing out and reaching its natural death.

These are some major signs you will start to witness if your water softener is wearing out, or it needs to be replaced.

Now, I am going to help you learn how to extend the lifespan of your water softener. These recommendations or what you call them tips are my personal checked and used, and they provide me the required results.

How to Make Your Water Softener Lifespan Longer?

Some considerations or recommendations are very obvious but obvious things are hard to remember and more than often we neglect them.

In a water softener case, it is the mixing of cleaning material in your water softener system to remove the build-up or for maintenance.

Plus, you should always remember the date or time to top up your brine tank with salt.

But, here comes some additional, or not so obvious recommendations on what people if following get the most out of their water softeners.

Prevent Salt Bridging and Salt Smushing

I would like to explain both the terms to make readers learn better about them, for better prevention of both these issues, commonly surfaced if you use your water softener softening hard water with high GPG level.

Soft bridge forms when hard crust appears on the brine take that creates a space in between the water and salt.

It will prevent salt from dissolving in the brine tank, and without the brine tank functioning properly, the resin beads will not be able to soften your water.

The most common reasons why this hard crust form is a high level of humidity in your area, wrong salt selection, and swift temperature changes around you.

If you use the right type of salt and keep the maintenance, you would not see any crust build on the top. If it is already created, you can break it by pushing the top of the brine with a broom handle.

Salt smushing is another issue consumers have to face using a water softener. You know that salt mixes with the water particles by removing the magnesium and calcium, but in smushing method, the dissolved salt recrystallizes and forms a sled on the bottom of the brine tank.

This Thick layer keeps the salt away from the brine, preventing regeneration or even the initiation of the softening process. Draining The softener, removing all the salt, replacing it with fresh salt can be the right fix.

To prevent all the mentioned problems, you should use high-quality salt pellets. Which surely reduces the problems, especially smushing.

I see many people overfill their brine tank with salt, always half-fill the brine tank, prevent the old salt from sticking to the walls of the tank is surely going to double your benefit, and prevent all the issues.

Resin Beads Cleaning

Once a year you are required to clean the resin beads, electric softeners require flushing with the softener cleaners. This really refreshes the resin beads and keeps them working in peak conditions.


Change the filters as per your manufacturer’s recommendations. You get a detailed guide in a CD or book form that helps you guide through manually changing the filter.

Or you can hire experts, but changing the filter is not a big issue, you can easily do it yourself.


Regeneration is the most important, and essential process to make your device work in its peak conditions, and for as long as possible.

This too you can see in your manuals what kind of salt is required in that particular type of water softener.


A water softener is an excellent addition to any home. But it is expensive and if not maintained well, it can stop functioning, leading to producing hard water all over again. If are maintained well, and used properly, they can easily last for around 15-years.

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines if you are not sure how to maintain the wall. You get a detailed instruction guide to help learn your system better and to get the most out of it.

Emily Davis

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