Water softeners, like everything else, will eventually break down and stop working. It depends on the type you purchase and the care and maintenance of it during its lifespan.
Typically, they will last between 10-15 years, and depending on all factors, they will last longer or stop working sooner.
Water Softener Lifespan
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Water Softener Lifespan
Salt-based ion exchange will normally have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. As long as they are installed and maintained properly, they do not deviate that much from the 10-15 year lifespan.
If they are not maintained properly, it will severely shorten this lifespan and create issues after the very first salt refill that is needed. Or issues will surface after a year or two of not maintaining properly and cause added maintenance and costs that could have been avoided that will shorten the lifespan significantly.
On-Demand Controlled Water Softener Lifespan
An on-demand controlled water softener will end up having a 10-15 year lifespan due to being so similar to salt-based water softeners.
They will not deviate much from the 10-15 year lifespan either under proper installation and maintenance.
When these are maintained properly, they will have the second-highest efficiency of water softeners along with longer than 15-year lifespans. If mistreated, they could last as little as 3-5 years.
Dual Tank Water Softener Lifespan
The dual tank water softener will have a 10-15 year lifespan. It will have a little deviation from the 10-15 years because it is a salt-based water softener, it just has an extra tank so that water can always be used.
This will be the most convenient set up for water softeners that you can get. When maintained properly, you will get closer to the 15-year lifespan if not 20-25 years lifespan.
This is because of less stress on the system throughout its life. If treated poorly with no maintenance other than calling someone in to get it working again, you can expect a 3-5 year lifespan.
How Long do the Resin Beads Last in a Water Softener
The resin beads will normally last 10-15 years. Chlorine and iron can kill the resin beads early as well if there are excess amounts in the water.
This can cause the resin beads to have a shorter lifespan than the 10-15 year expected lifespan.
In full maintenance and care, you can have the resin beads last 20-25 years, but if one mistreatment happens, you can kill off your resin bed and all the resin beads with the first cleaning after having your system.
What Impacts Water Softener Lifespan?
There are different pieces that affect water softener lifespans. One of the biggest aspects of determining lifespan is the frequency of use. This is caused by how hard water you have before softening it and how hard the system must work.
The other biggest aspect for the lifespan of the water softener is how much water is needing to be treated. If there are only two people in a household, the water softener will have a longer lifespan than for a household of 8.
The last aspect that is within an individual’s control to extend the lifespan of a water softener is going to be care and maintenance. By doing this you can extend it well past the 10-15 year average.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Water Softener
There are some things that we as individuals, can do to prolong the life of water softeners. The first is to make sure the filter is being changed that the water softener you purchased uses.
The third is to use high-quality regenerant and never let it run out of regenerant. This way there will be less residue buildup. A couple of other things that can be done is refill the salt supply properly, check for salt bridges, and do not overwork the water softener.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answered
How Long do Rainsoft Water Softeners Last?
Rainsoft has different customer reviews for how long their systems last. Some only a couple of years before breaking down and some lasted over 20 years.
As for finding something very specific on their website, you will not find anything, and they will point you towards a limited lifetime warranty that you can only look at specifics if you have purchased a product from them before.
When reading customer reviews, these warranties seemed to have customers pay out-of-pocket for part failures that were meant to be covered by the warranties that come with the purchase.
If purchasing, I would ask to see the limited lifetime warranty and ask for time to read and review. I imagine since most water softeners generally last 10-15 years that the lifetime warranties they have go away after 5-10 years.
How Long Does a Whirlpool Water Softener Last?
On Whirlpool’s website, they say that the average lifespan for their water softeners is 10-15 years. Now with this, they give different warranties that support only parts of the water softeners. The original one-year full warranty that they have can be extended to 5 years if purchasing water softener cleaner as directed in the warranty page and the product is registered.
There is a limited 10-year warranty on the tanks for the water softener and a 3-year limited warranty on the electronic control panel. While this is not as enticing as a lifetime warranty, it is clear and upfront, which is worth more.
I imagine by continuing to use the water softener cleaner as directed in order to continue the full warranty for 5 years, it will keep the water softener working longer than the 10-15 year average.
Here is the Whirlpool Warranty PDF.
How Long Do Water Softener Salt Blocks Last?
Salt blocks will last differently based on the brand you buy along with the quality of the salt for the block. People will have mixed results and, depending on your water usage, are going to need to be put in more regularly than others.
Salt blocks can last anywhere from 8-10 days up to 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the quality and the brand you buy. It is not suggested to use salt blocks unless your water softener specifies to use them, and the blocks are specifically designed for your water softener. If you do have one specifically designed for blocks, make sure they are submerged all the way for the water softener to work correctly.
How Often Should A Water Softener Be Replaced?
A water softener should be replaced every roughly every 10-15 years. This is because of how long most of them last, but this is based on how much it has been used and worn down during its service life.
If your water softener is still working well after 15 years, then there is no need to replace it yet. You will just need to be aware that it may end up needing to be replaced soon if your water changes or if anything changes with your water softener.
When it comes to how long a water softener lasts, there are four main factors that will end up determining the lifespan.
The first is how frequently it regenerates. The second is how much water it needs to soften. The third is the type and brand that you get for how the system is designed and installed. And lastly and the biggest factor is care and maintenance. With great care and maintenance, you give yourself the best chance, no matter everything else involved.