The Importance of Water Softening System Maintenance
Hard water—while not necessarily unhealthy—can cause multiple problems for your plumbing system. This includes hard-to-remove scaling and dry skin and hair when you shower, due to excess minerals. To combat these effects, you’ll want to consider adding a water softener system to your home.
Most water softening systems today are manufactured in order to be self-cleaning, making them a very convenient home improvement product. However, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect maintenance on this system.
Why Does My Water Softening System Need Maintenance?
In order to answer this question, we must explain how a water softener works. The system is made up of two tanks. One tank involves cold water flowing through it, which is charged. The other tank is that in which the excess hard water minerals are extracted.
What happens is that these two tanks trade the harmful minerals for something else, in most cases sodium. This process is called ion exchange. Resin beads in one of the tanks attract and hold onto hard water minerals, removing them from the water, and then softened water exits the tank and flows into the plumbing throughout your home.
Over time, the minerals can build up to the point that the ion exchange does now effectively soften your water, which is when maintenance is essential. You’ll know you need maintenance when your water begins to look cloudy, or leaves a cloudy residue behind on your dishes, shower doors, and more.
You may also notice that your faucets and bathroom fixtures have a white, flaky substance on them, much like what you would have seen before installing a water softener. Maintenance will ensure that your water softener remains in good operating condition, and will help elongate the system’s life and performance.
What is the Average Life Expectancy of a Water Softener?
Water softening systems typically last between 10 and 15 years, but with proper maintenance they can last much longer. Aside from maintenance, the lifespan of a water softener can also be affected by the mineral content of the water being softened. If the system is being used to treat extremely hard water, the system may need to be replaced sooner.
Watch for these signs that your water softener needs to be serviced or replaced:
- Your water tastes different (i.e. more metallic)
- Your soap and shampoo have a hard time lathering
- Your laundry is beginning to feel scratchy and stiff
- You notice a crusty buildup around faucets and shower heads
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