In most households, a water softener is an essential part of the water filtering system, especially if you live in a town that has particularly hard water. A water softener removes minerals such as magnesium and calcium from the water supply in your home. This significantly improves the quality of your water and prevents many issues such as mineral buildup on faucets, showerheads, and sinks, dry skin and hair caused by hard water, the bad taste of drinking water, spots on freshly washed dishes, etc. But simply installing a water softener is not enough. You also need to properly maintain the appliance and replace its filter on time.
Plumbers recommend swapping out the filter in your water softener for a new one every 3 to 6 months. The exact amount of time between filter replacements will vary depending on the mineral content in your water – the harder your water is, the more frequently you will need to replace the filter. Changing the water softener filter according to the schedule will ensure that the water in your home stays soft and clean all the time.
In addition to changing the filter, cleaning the brine tank, and adding salt to the softening appliance, you need to have your softener maintained professionally at least once a year. During the appointment, the professional will clean the brine tank, sterilize the appliance, and recharge the resin inside it. They will also ensure that the settings in the softener are just right for your family size and water consumption and replace all the necessary parts such as valves and O-rings. Finally, the plumber will assess your water quality to ensure that it’s safe to consume. And if its characteristics are not ideal, they will do whatever is necessary to bring the water quality in your home up to par.
The expected lifetime of a water softener will generally depend on its type. Electric appliances usually last between 2 and 10 years, while kinetic softeners can serve their owners for over 20 years before they need to be replaced.
In addition to the general servicing and replacement timeline, there are a few signs that your water is too hard. If you notice any of the signs listed below, you need to change the filter, replace the softener, or maintain it.