When Should Water Softener Resin Be Replaced?

Water softener resin is an important component of a water softening system, as it is responsible for exchanging the hard minerals that make up your water for sodium ions. Over time, these resin beads will become exhausted and stop being able to exchange hard minerals for sodium. It is important to regularly check and replace the resin in your water softener to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Water softener resin
Water softener resin

In general, water softener resin should be replaced every three to five years. There are a few factors that can affect how quickly your resin will need replacing, such as the hardness of your water and the amount of iron present. If you have hard water or iron-rich water, then you may need to replace your resin more frequently. Additionally, if you are using a high amount of water on a daily basis, then this could also cause your resin to become exhausted faster.

How To Know When Your Water Softener Resin Needs To Be Replaced?

Hard Water Staining
Hard Water Stain

Hard Water Staining: One of the most obvious signs that your water softener needs replacing is if you notice hard water staining on your sinks and other fixtures. Hard water can leave behind a visible residue, so if you suddenly start to have buildup on your faucets and tubs, then it could be time to replace the resin in your softener.

Iron Staining: Iron staining can take place if the water entering your home has high levels of iron. If you notice reddish-brown or yellow stains on your fixtures and appliances, it could be a sign that the resin in your system is not functioning correctly. The resin will become clogged with iron deposits over time, making it less effective in removing calcium and magnesium. If you are seeing signs of iron staining, it is a good indicator that you should replace your water softener resin immediately.

Rotten Egg Smell
Rotten Egg Smell

Rotten Egg Smell: Another indication that it’s time to replace your water softener resin is a rotten egg smell coming from the tap. This odor is caused by sulfates that are released as the resin ages and breaks down in the tank. If you notice this smell, it means that the resin beads have become oversaturated and need to be replaced with fresh beads.

When Should Water Softener Resin Be Replaced?

When Should Water Softener Resin Be Replaced
Water Softener Resin Be Replaced

Water softener resin is a critical part of the water softening process. It helps to remove calcium, magnesium and other ions from hard water, making it softer and more suitable for use in your home. As with any filter or component, however, the resin will eventually need to be replaced.

When It Has Been Damaged By Chlorine:

Water softener resin beads have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced periodically. One telltale sign that the water softener resin needs to be replaced is if it has been damaged by chlorine or other chemicals in the water. Chlorine can interact with the plastic beads, causing them to degrade over time and lose their ability to soften hard water. If you start to notice signs of discoloration or cracking in your resin beads, it’s time to replace them with new ones. Additionally, if the resin has been exposed to chlorine for an extended period of time, it can become saturated and unable to soften any more water. In this case, replacement is also necessary. To prevent damage from chlorine, make sure your water softener’s resin beads are replaced on the recommended schedule. Doing so will help ensure that your water stays free of hard minerals and contaminants.

When It Has Been Coated With Iron:

If your water softener has been exposed to high amounts of iron, the resin beads may become coated with rust particles. This is known as iron fouling and it can occur when there is a lot of iron in your water supply. Iron fouling affects the efficiency of the softener by reducing its ability to remove hardness from the water. If you notice that your water has a red or orange tint, it may be time to replace the resin beads in your softener.

When It Has Become Worn Over Time:

Water softener resin can last up to 20 years. However, it is important to have the resin inspected and replaced if necessary. Over time, the beads in the resin tank will wear down due to water flow and sediment buildup, reducing their effectiveness at softening water. This can lead to a decrease in water quality and an increase in mineral deposits in your plumbing system. Signs that the resin needs to be replaced include hard water, salty taste in the water, and increased scale buildup on dishes and fixtures. If these symptoms are present, it is recommended that you have a professional inspect your system and replace the resin if necessary.

When It Has Been Damaged By Phosphates:

Water softener resin can be damaged by phosphates. If there is evidence of phosphate contamination in your water, then it is important to replace the resin as soon as possible. This will help mitigate any further damage to the system and ensure that you are able to continue receiving softened water from your system.

If Your Water Characteristics Have Changed:

If you notice changes in the characteristics of your water, replacing the resin may be necessary. These changes could include increased hardness, an increase in iron levels, a decrease in sodium content, discoloration or a decreased flow rate. It is important to monitor your water quality closely and replace the resin if these changes occur. This will help prevent scale and corrosion from forming in your pipes, fixtures, and appliances. Not only does this help keep your water supply safe for drinking and bathing, but it also helps prevent costly repairs down the road. If you are unsure if a resin replacement is required, contact a local water treatment professional to evaluate your system. They can recommend the best course of action to ensure your water supply is healthy and safe.

How To Replace Resin In Water Softener?

Shut off the power supply
Shut off the power supply

1. Shut off the power supply to the water softener, if applicable.

Drain the water softener
Drain the water softener

2. Drain the water softener tank using a garden hose or bucket until all of the water has been removed. Make sure to save any brine solution that has built up in the bottom of the tank for later use.

Remove and discard
Remove old resin

3. Remove and discard the old resin.

4. Rinse the tank with a solution of one cup of household bleach and two gallons of water to remove any debris that may have built up on the walls or bottom of the tank.

Thoroughly rinse again
Thoroughly rinse

5. Thoroughly rinse again with clear, fresh water.

6. Pour the new resin into the tank, making sure to evenly distribute the resin around the tank.

Add any saved brine
Add any saved brine

7. Add any saved brine solution back into the tank and fill it with fresh water until it is about two inches from the top of the tank.

8. Turn on the power supply and allow time for the system to regenerate before using it again.


What does water softener resin replacement cost?

The cost of replacing water softener resin depends on the size and type of system you have. Generally, a 25-pound bag of salt-based softener resin will cost between $15 and $20, while a 50-pound bag can range in price from $25 to $35. It is important to note that most water softener systems require a minimum of two bags to properly regenerate the system.

Will a water softener remove hardness from pipes buildup?

No, a water softener will not remove hardness from pipes buildup; it only reduces the amount of minerals in the water. The primary way to eliminate mineral buildup is to replace the resin inside your water softener. This should be done every 3-5 years or as indicated by manufacturer instructions. It’s important to note that if you wait too long to replace the resin, it can clog the system and reduce its effectiveness.

Should I Turn Off My Water Softener When I Go On Vacation?

You should not turn it off if you plan to be gone for more than a few days. The resin beads in your water softener are designed to remain full of salt, so shutting off the system will cause the beads to become ineffective. If you’re going away for an extended period of time, it’s best to keep the system running on its normal settings.

What Happens If My Water Softener Runs Out Of Salt?

If your water softener runs out of salt, it will not be able to produce soft water. Hard water can cause a buildup of calcium and magnesium deposits on fixtures and appliances, leading to reduced efficiency. Additionally, hard water is known to dry out skin and hair more quickly than soft water does.

Should There Be Water In A Water Softener Brine Tank?

Yes, a water softener brine tank should contain some amount of water. The purpose of the brine tank is to store salt that has dissolved in the water used for backwashing. When the timer initiates a regeneration cycle, it pulls in this salty water solution and flushes it through the resin bed.


Water softener resin should be replaced after about five to eight years of use. This timeframe can vary depending on the amount and quality of incoming water, as well as how often the system is used. The most reliable indicator for when to replace water softener resin is a decrease in the water’s hardness level, which signals that the resin is no longer able to trap calcium and magnesium ions. Other indicators that the resin needs to be replaced include higher salt usage, a decrease in water pressure or flow rate, and an increase in hardness levels. If you suspect any of these signs, it’s best to act quickly and replace the resin before it causes any permanent damage.

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