Three Common Signs That an Older Water Softener Might Need to be Replaced

Daniel Goward
May 17 · 2 min read

Like all major appliances, water softeners eventually age to the point they need to be replaced. A high-quality water softener can provide 10, 20, or even more years of service before retirement, but that moment will unavoidably arrive at some point.

When a water softener degrades to the point a replacement will be merited, some common symptoms will almost always be evident. Recognizing when the time is right for a water softener replacement is simple enough in just about every case.

The Return of Hard Water Problems Can Signal the Need for a New Water Softener

As might be expected, a water softener that has reached the end of its useful life will no longer be as capable as in the past of performing its intended function. As a result, any of the troubles that hard water causes can become apparent when an aging water softener needs to be replaced. Some of those that most often become obvious early on include:

Lacking lather. Water that is overly hard and weighed down with minerals like calcium cannot generate the satisfying suds that are typical of soft water. Because the occupants of a house will so often be in close personal contact with water and soap or detergents, problems with lather induced by hard water frequently become noticeable right away.

Strange tastes. One of the most satisfying things about having a water softening system is that it greatly improves the flavor of tap water. Although water softeners introduce a bit of salt whose taste can sometimes become an issue, the removal of excess calcium and magnesium tends to contribute desirably to the quality of drinking water. Should a home’s once-pleasant tap water start to taste off, this could be a sign its water softener is failing.

Stains and buildup. The minerals that make water hard can precipitate out over time, especially in particularly hospitable situations and places. Taps and surfaces that are regularly in contact with hard water often develop scaly, ugly buildup whose presence will almost always attract notice.

A New Water Softener Can Solve Many Problems

In some cases, symptoms like these will signal that an existing water softener simply needs to be maintained or repaired. In a home with an especially old softening system, though, they can just as well point to the need for a replacement. Fortunately, having a suitable new water softener installed will normally be all that is required to do away with such problems for a decade or longer.