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How Long Do Water Softeners Last? – Here is the Answer!

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

Table of Contents

How Long Do Water Softeners Last

Water in different parts of the world can be soft or hard, depending on its calcium and magnesium content. If you’re in one of those places where water is hard and is bothersome for daily use, a water softener will change your life.

Learning more about water softeners can make buying more efficient. Investing in one can be daunting, and if you are wondering how long do water softeners last, reading on can refine your decision to get one.

1. Getting a Water Softener

People who live in areas with hard water greatly benefit from a water softener. The hardness of water is due to the presence of calcium and magnesium. Their presence, per se, does not cause great dangers.

However, it can cause dryness of the skin and hair with daily use. When hard water flows through your fixtures, it causes a reaction with soap, leaving scum and clumpy suds.

Investing in a water softener is a smart choice. There are disposable water softeners that come at a lower price. Water softener installation for the entire water system at home is also possible, although this might cost higher than ready-made and disposable ones.

2. How long does water softener last?

Generally, water softeners last from 3 years to 30 years. This wide range of lifespan is due to a lot of factors. And this already considers the quality of various water softeners in the market today.

The cheaper ones may not last long, and this may be due to incompatibility. Sometimes, these disposable ones have materials that are hard to find, and replacing the entire unit is more economical than having it repaired.

High-end ones that usually entail a more complicated installation process generally last longer. They are, however, more expensive. And maintenance of these units can also be pricey. However, it is also cost-effective when you think of long-term usage. It is a great investment for household and commercial use.

As the average lifespan can decrease and increase based on several factors, these estimates are not concrete. The brand, the maintenance, and the usage will affect their lifespan. Based on the three common types of water softeners, here are their average lifespans:

  • Salt-based Exchange – this is the most common water softener in the market, with a single tank for both the resin and the salt brine. These water softeners usually last an average of 10-15 years.
  • On-demand Controlled – this kind of water softener has an additional feature of keeping track of water usage, triggering regeneration after a certain amount has been used. Like the salt-based exchange water softener, its average lifespan is about 10-15 years.
  • Dual Tank – as the name implies, this utilizes two tanks for filtration. It handles regeneration differently compared to a standard softener, and works best for an average of 15 years.

Factors that Increase or Decrease the Lifespan of Your Water Softener


The lifespan of every water softener is affected by several factors. But it is mainly affected by these two: the hardness of the water and the quantity of water being produced each day.

  • Hardness of water

The frequency of usage of the water softener is definitely affected by the hardness of the water in your area.

It is natural for the water softener to filter more mineral deposits when the hardness score is high. It means that the water softener is continually filtering harder than it would be if the water had less calcium and magnesium.

  • Quantity of water

Similar to the hardness of water, your water softener will work more when a larger quantity of water is being filtered in a day. A family of four uses twice as much water as a newlywed couple, so the water softener is more worked up.

When Should I Replace My Water Softener?


Trying to find out the single cause of damaged water softeners can be hard for those who are new to having one. Testing for hard water will help you. Here are common signs that will help you figure out if your water softener needs to be replaced, or inspected at least.

  • Your water tastes different. Users of hard and soft water can distinctively tell the difference between the two. Soft water is smoother; this is because of the increased mineral content of hard water. Drinking from tap water will help you tell the difference.
  • You will notice mineral buildup in your plumbing fixtures. It looks like a chalky substance, which is usually found around the tips of faucets, shower heads, and bidets.

This is a clear indication that your water softener isn’t doing its job anymore. This signals that the crusty buildup isn’t filtered thoroughly, and has invaded the crevices of faucets and pipes.

  • The mineral deposits get stuck up in the passages. In the long run, this can cause a decrease in water flow. If you note a change in the pace of water flow in your faucets or shower heads, check for mineral accumulation in these areas. They can be cleaned manually, but it is best to clean the water softener primarily.
  • You will notice laundry problems. Because of the high mineral content of hard water, your clothes will be stiffer than when washed with soft water. Note that hard water also damages washing machines.
  • The last telltale sign is when your soap refuses to lather adequately. If you are having a harder time using your soap in the shower than usual, it is the best time to check your water softener to see if it needs a replacement or a maintenance checkup.

Regular Maintenance Maximizes the Lifespan of Your Water Softener

Even if your unit shows signs of weakened filtration power, it might not require a total replacement. Homeowners can clean their units without the aid of a professional water softener cleaner. They can even be restored like a brand new units with this guide.

Note that cleaning and maintenance can maximize the average lifespan of a water softener. Here are simple tips you can base your routine cleaning and maintenance on.

  • Have the right water softener setting. The right frequency, duration, and timing of each regeneration cycle depend on the usage of every household. There is no gold standard setting as water hardness varies in every location.
  • Clean the brine tank when it is almost empty. This way, you won’t have to scoop out a lot of salt. Plus, moving the tank for cleaning is easy if it’s light.
  • Clean the resin tank with a bleach solution or a specific iron-removing product. This will restore your resin tank’s capacity to aid in the filtration process.
  • Choose the right kind of salt. This can make a difference in the lifespan and the efficiency of how hard water is processed in the unit.

The knowledge of how long do water softeners last is a must for all owners of one. This will help you know what type will suit your lifestyle best and if you have the time and financial freedom to maintain the unit for luxurious soft water continually.

The day you invest in a water softener is a life-changing decision. It will definitely provide a lot of benefits, especially when you have been living with hard water for the past few years.

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