How Long Does A Water Softener Last?

April 24, 2023

How Long Does A Water Softener Last?

A water softener’s lifespan depends on a variety of factors. However, if you keep up with your water softener maintenance, you should expect your unit to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.


Water softeners help eliminate the hard water minerals that affect the health of your skin and hair, reduce energy use, extend the life of appliances and plumbing, and improve the quality of drinking water. They do this through a process called ion exchange, which reversibly replaces dissolved calcium and magnesium ions with similar-charged sodium ions. There are four basic types of water softeners: salt-based, distillation, reverse osmosis, and magnetic or electric. All of them rely on the same process for eliminating the hard water minerals. Salt-based systems typically last for 10-15 years under proper maintenance and installation. On-demand controlled systems and two-tank systems tend to deviate a bit from this, but still fall into the 15 year range when properly installed and maintained. But at the end of the day, the lifespan of a water softener often depends on several factors, including how frequently it is used, how much water it treats, and the type of water being treated. For example, if your water is especially hard or has high chlorine levels, the softener will have to work harder to achieve its desired results.


Just like all of your other appliances, a water softener requires some maintenance to keep it working properly and last longer. First and foremost, regular salt refilling is crucial for a water softener’s lifespan. This will ensure that the resin beads are getting the right amount of sodium and that they’re not being clogged with contaminants from your drinking water. Keeping the brine tank clean is also vital, so it’s important to have it inspected annually by a water treatment specialist. This will ensure that your water softener is not storing salt in the tank too long, which can lead to salt bridges and poor performance. Another important service that a water treatment professional can perform is optimizing your softener’s settings. This allows your system to regenerate more efficiently, saving you money in the long run.


A water softener should be replaced once the resin bed begins to break down, and yellow fragments of resin start to get into the home. The lifespan of a water softener can be extended by occasional maintenance and regeneration. However, if these routine tasks don’t produce results or if the salt level has increased over time, it may be time to replace the softener. Luckily, the replacement of a water softener is usually not expensive and can be done by you or a professional.

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