As a Tucson resident, you should know that Arizona has some of the hardest water in the country. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg), with anything over 10.5 gpg considered “very hard.” Tucson tap water is off the charts, typically around 12.0 gpg or higher.
The best way to combat hard water is to install a water softener. But how long will this system last before you need to replace it? How can you ensure the longest lifespan possible? Find the answers to your questions here.
What Do Water Softeners Do?
Having excessive calcium and magnesium in your drinking water isn’t dangerous, but these minerals can dry out your skin and hair, cause chalky residue on your plumbing fixtures and dishware, and make your water taste funny. Installing a water softener combats all of these problems.
A water softening system removes minerals from the water, softening it to below 1.0 gpg through a process called ion exchange. This is done by filtering water through a negatively charged resin, which attracts positively charged calcium and magnesium particles. Soft water is then left to flow to your faucets and plumbing fixtures.
How Long Do Water Softeners Last?
The exact lifespan depends on a few factors:
- Water hardness: The harder your water, the more your water softener must work, which may shorten its lifespan.
- Water usage: The more water you use, the more frequently your water softener turns on. This could make it wear out faster.
- Water softener installation quality: A properly selected, sized, and installed water softener should last well over a decade with minimal repairs needed.
- Water softener maintenance: Taking proper care of your water softener can help it last years longer.
- Brand/features: Single-tank electric units average 7-10 years. Kinetico’s twin-tank, non-electric systems typically last 15+ years.
Signs it May be Time to Replace Your Water Softener
Water softening systems tend to give out gradually, not fail all at once. So keep an eye out for these signs that your water softener may be nearing the end of its life:
- Off-tasting tap water: Your water may develop a funny taste for several reasons, but sometimes, a failing water softener is to blame.
- Scaling on your plumbing fixtures and dishes: Hard water spots on your faucets, showerheads, glass shower doors, coffee pot, and plumbing appliances are a sign that your water softener isn’t doing its job.
- Stiff clothing: Hard water leaves minerals on your clothes, making them stiff and scratchy. Rather than using fabric softener and ignoring the problem, consider adjusting, repairing, or replacing your water softener.
- Lack of lather: Are your soaps and detergents having a hard time lathering? This could mean dissolved calcium and magnesium are getting through your water softener.
- Dried out skin and hair after showering: Do you experience itchy, irritated skin and limp, lifeless hair despite using more soap and shampoo than usual? These problems are associated with hard water.
- Change in water pressure: If you notice lower water pressure than usual, your water softener or plumbing lines could be obstructed. Schedule a water softener repair to address the problem.
If you’re still unsure whether you need a new water softener, reach out to Kinetico Quality Water. We can inspect the system and analyze your water to determine its hardness. Depending on what we find, we may recommend maintaining, repairing, or replacing your water softener.
If the time has come to install a new system, we have you covered! Kinetico Quality Water softeners are among the best on the market, with hybrid softening/filtration units, non-electric softeners, and single or twin-tank models available. Our knowledgeable team will help you understand the differences between each option and properly size and install the system you choose. For more information about installing a high-quality water softener in your Tucson home, please contact us at (520) 293-6687.