A water softener is an essential appliance in many homes. Installed in the utility area or garage, it filters heavy minerals out of the water reducing wear-and-tear on pipes and increasing home water safety. Whether you had it installed or moved into a house with it already in place, water softeners are appliances with a lifespan like any other machine. You can keep it clean and replace a few parts to extend its life, but eventually, your home will need to replace the water softener unit.

The question is: when is the right time? Here are the top six signs that your water softener is ready to be replaced.

Change in Water Pressure Means Time to Replace Your Water Softener

When a water softener starts to go, it may change how water flows through your taps and the effective pressure you experience. Watch for changes in water pressure if your machine is nearing its lifespan. Your softener is connected directly in line with your pipes, running through the softener, filters, water heater, and then on to your taps. If your machine is no longer offering resistance or has become badly clogged, either might change your pressure.

Soap Stops Lathering

Hard water is extra minerals floating in the water. These minerals bond with the water molecules and prevent soap from activating in the water. This reduces lather so you’ll see fewer suds and your clothes, dishes, and even skin can feel wrong when the washing is done. You may notice things feeling less clean and washing differently, less effectively, as minerals seep back into your water.

Water Taste Changes

The taste of water is influenced subtly by its contents. Many people find local, city-provided, hard water tastes slightly bitter. Alternatively, hard well water sometimes tastes sweet or even metallic. You may find it leaves both your tongue and skin feeling drier than normal. Soft water can feel slippery and taste either a little sweet or bland in comparison.

However, if you’re used to the taste of softened water and your taste changes, it may be a sign your water softener is failing.

Laundry Quality Decreases

Keep an eye on your laundry. The soap lathering problem isn’t just when you wash your hands or dishes. Hard water doesn’t lather as much in the washing machine either, which can leave both mineral and soap residue on your clothes. You may find your clothes stiff or even smelling sour after coming out of the wash. Check on your water softener to discover if it is still working properly.

Return of Water Scale on Taps and Tubs

When your water softener is working, you shouldn’t see ‘scale’ or rings on your taps or on your drinking glasses. When they start appearing, it may mean your system is failing. Watch for white chalky rings and splotches on your taps, sinks, tubs, and dishes fresh out of the dishwasher. These are sometimes called water spots, water rings, or scales. They are heavy minerals like calcium and magnesium left behind after water evaporates.

If you see the scale, your softener is no longer removing the minerals.

Age of Your Water Softener

If your water softener is near a decade old – or older! – then it’s probably time to plan a replacement. The age of your water softener combined with any other signs of failure is a sure indicator that it’s starting to fail.

When in Doubt, Replace Your Water Softener!

Good regular maintenance like cleaning and parts replacement can extend the life of your water softener, but, eventually, you’ll want to install a new unit. If your system is showing signs of failure, contact us! The team at Advanced Water Softening can inspect your unit and help you plan your maintenance and/or replacement services.