How Do You Know When Your Water Softener Needs to be Replaced?

Water softeners are a great addition to any home, as they not only help to remove certain minerals from your drinking water, they also leave your dishes sparkling every wash and keep your pipes from getting sediment buildup. The lifespan of a water softener can be lengthened or shortened by the care and maintenance it receives over its lifetime, but unfortunately no water softener lasts forever, no matter how well you take care of yours.

A typical water softener will start to decline and become less effective after around 8-12 years even with proper care, and being left with the effects of water softener failure can be a burden, so knowing the signs to look out for is important. Here are 5 of the top ways you can tell if your water softener is in need of replacement.

Signs Your Water Softener Needs To Be Replaced

Sign #1: Residue Build Up In and Around Pipes

When your water softener stops doing its job, you will likely notice that sediment will start to form in and around the inside the pipes as well. This crusty residue, called scale, is the buildup of minerals the soft water conditioner is not able to filter out anymore due to disrepair. 

Hard water is full of calcium and magnesium, which starts to form on your faucets and appliances — If you notice buildup in your pipes, it’s time to call in the professionals to repair or replace your water softener. 

Sign #2: Dishes and Laundry Not Getting Clean

If you notice spots or mineral residue on your washed dishes, that could be a sign of a malfunctioning water softener. This is the result of the minerals we spoke of above making their way out of your tap and onto your washables, such as dishes and your laundry. Those minerals will leave hard water spots or deposits on your glass dishes as well as deposits in the laundry as well. If you notice your laundry isn’t getting as clean as it should, it could be because the soap is not lathering properly due to this mineral buildup becoming deposited in your water before making its way out of your taps and manifesting as hard water on your washables. 

Sign #3: Dry and Itchy Skin

If you notice that your skin is getting itchy after a shower, this could mean your water softener is in need of replacement. Soap scum buildup and hard water can cause skin irritation and increased dryness, an unpleasant and frustrating red flag your water softener needs maintenance or replacement. 

These are signs that your water is not being properly treated, and is not “soft” anymore. In this case, it’s time to get an expert in to see if replacement is necessary so you can get back to soft water showers and eliminate the troubles of itchy, dry skin. 

Sign #4: Bad Water Taste

Hard water has a higher mineral content than soft water, so you’ll more than likely taste them immediately if the water softener isn’t working properly. Water softeners replace the minerals in hard water with sodium ions, so you will notice when they come back all of a sudden due to the soft water going hard. 

If your water begins to taste of chalk or chemicals, you have your indication that it’s time to call in a water service professional to take a look at your water softener system. 

Sign #5: Repeated Repairs

If you find yourself calling the repairman often because your water softener keeps breaking down or giving you issues, you’re probably getting close to the time where it will need to be replaced. Regular repairs are a clear sign that the whole system needs to be replaced. Costs can add up if you need constant maintenance, so saving money by getting your system replaced is preferable in situations of regular system failure. Make sure to call a reputable water softener installer to do the job right, and always make sure you get a good warranty on your new softener as well.

Ways to Help Keep Your Water Softener Around Longer

  • Avoid salt bridges and salt mushing
  • Check salt levels regularly
  • Know what specific kind of salt to add
  • Know how to clean the brine tank or have a professional do it

Quality Installation and Service at Independent Water Service

At Independent Water Service, our installation experts can recommend and install the right water softener system for your specific needs. 

We offer free water analysis and help you choose which system works for you. Our free water analysis checks for softness, impurities and other factors that may affect your household or business’ water. We offer systems for both residential and commercial spaces.

We proudly serve Yakima and Kittitas Counties and have been your local trusted water service since 1986. Call to schedule your free water analysis and upgrade your water system for your home or business with the water experts.