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Repair or Replace Your Water Softener: What You Need to Know

You love your modern home appliances because they make your life easier and better in so many ways. But one thing you can count on — eventually there comes a time when you have to decide whether repairs will keep your appliance on the front lines or if replacement is the smarter choice. So, when your water softener doesn’t seem to be functioning at peak efficiency, how do you decide?

Let’s take a look at the typical longevity of a water softener. We’ll cover the signs your system may have a problem, what it could be, and when you should look into buying a new one.

How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

Here in Minnesota, we all have hard water, but you can still expect a quality water softener to last as long as 10-15 years. Of course, that depends on how hard your water is and how much water your household uses since both affect how hard your system has to work. That said, an older water softener is not as efficient as a new one because the system’s capacity to soften water gradually diminishes over time — about 1-2% each year.

Nonetheless, you don’t want to assume the worst. Some issues are easy fixes — needing just a couple of parts or a little elbow grease, not much money. That’s much better than prematurely replacing an expensive system.

Signs Your Water Softener Has a Problem

Before deciding if your water softener needs replacing, you’ll likely experience an issue with your system. Chances are, you’ll notice this issue in one or more ways:

  • “Clean” laundry is stiff or yellowed.
  • Your hair and skin feel dry.
  • Soap and shampoo don’t lather up nicely.
  • There’s a buildup of crusty scale and spots on the fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom.

Identifying the Issue

If you’ve started noticing signs of an issue with your water softener, it’s time to identify the problem. Here are a few things it could be.

  • The system isn’t using salt at the expected rate.
  • The system isn’t regenerating as expected.
  • A salt bridge has formed.
  • A part has failed.
  • There is an electrical problem.
  • You forgot to add salt. (Just a reminder here that following a regular maintenance routine is not difficult, and it can make a significant difference in your water quality as well as the life of your water softener.)

While it can be easy to detect that your water softener has a problem, identifying what is wrong often takes professional expertise.

When is it Time for a New Water Softener?

Repairing an aged water softener only works for so long. If you’re questioning whether to replace your system, here are some telltale signs it’s time.

  • Your current system is getting old and repairing it won’t give it that much more life. It simply is not a cost-effective solution.
  • You’re having problems — and having to call for repairs — repeatedly.
  • You want to take advantage of the latest features and innovative technologies that make water softeners smarter and more efficient.

So, is it worth the money and work to repair your water softener? Don’t guess, find out for sure. Give us a call. One of our technicians can help you troubleshoot the problem and recommend options for repair or replacement.


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