A decent water softener can function well for up to 20 years, but only with the right maintenance. Depending on the quality, certain resins used in water softeners might last the full lifetime of the appliance, while others must be replaced after 10 years.
Given that the majority of water softener resins last between 8 and 12 years, it looks like a very distant future. But ultimately, time passes, and you’ll need to switch out your old, out-of-date resin with a new resin.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about replacing the resin in your water softener in this water softener resin replacement guide, including your options for purchasing resin and the step-by-step resin replacement procedure.
What is a Water Softener Resin?
Any salt-based water softener must have resin as a component. All water softeners need resin, which serves as the ion exchange site, in order to produce soft water. It contains sodium ions, which are exchanged for minerals from hard water in this process.
The ion exchange process happens in the resin of a water softener. The resin is refilled with sodium ions during unit manual regeneration.
These sodium ions are then released when hard water passes through the resin tank because hardness minerals are drawn to the resin beads, which causes all of the hardness minerals to be removed from the water and replaced with an equal amount of sodium.
The resin begins to lose some of the salt it is carrying as a result. The resin bed eventually loses practically all of its sodium and is completely filled with calcium and magnesium. The water softener regenerates at this stage, and sodium and calcium are added to the resin tank while calcium and magnesium are drained from it.
Therefore, the resin bed won’t have to be changed every time it becomes saturated with hardness minerals and can be used repeatedly. The resin bed does not, however, last indefinitely.
Without resin beads, a salt-based softener would not be able to remove the hard water ions of calcium and magnesium from the water in your home, leaving behind soft water.
Nothing would hang onto the hard water ions and stop them from reentering your soft water since there would be nowhere for the sodium ions to wait for the calcium and magnesium ions, swap places for these ions, and nowhere for these ions to sit in while they awaited the calcium and magnesium ions.
Why Replace Water Softener Resin?
Years of exposure to chlorinated “city” water have ruined your resins, which is the main reason you should replace them. The resins “swell” and then degrade after around 10 years (although this can happen considerably sooner or a little later).
The “fines” accumulating at the bottom distributor start to impede the internal water pressure through the resin tank as they become so fractured. Typically, you “know” you need new resins when this happens.
On some systems, the fragments (“Fines”) start to enter the home and block the screens of the faucets. You will also need to replace the Bottom Distributor if resin shards have been entering your home.
Generally, a water softener resin bed might start to break in one of two ways after extensive use:
High levels of hardness or iron cause the resin bed to deteriorate and stop effectively softening your water. In this situation, your water may contain sand-like granules and the resin bed won’t be able to fully soften it.
The plastic bed starts to lose its ability to contain minerals like calcium and sodium. Ion exchange may be ineffective until the system regenerates if the resin tank needs to be refilled before the scheduled regeneration cycle.
When To Replace Resin Bed?
When there has been a significant and typically apparent amount of algae growth in the resin bed ( This problem is common in tanks installed outside ).
When there is a lot of fine sand in the resin tank. On well water, this can occasionally happen. Installing a sediment prefilter in the water line before your water softener is always advised.
You will have very low internal water pressure as a result of the tiny sand in the resin bed base. Dumping (or sucking) out all of the sand and resins is the only way to get the issue under control. It is far simpler to replace old resin with fresh resins than to try to sift the sand from your old resin bed.
When a resin tank has been sitting empty for a while and a strong resin odour is noticed. While you can attempt to clean with a light chlorine solution, it’s more likely that you’ll need to remove the resins, bleach the water softener tank (with a high chlorine solution), and then start over with brand-new resins.
A strong dosage of resin cleaning can usually be used to clean resins that have been “fouled” by iron and organics ( such as ResUp, Iron Out, Citric Acid, or Bleach ). Of course, every time replacing with fresh work.
How Often Does a Water Softener Resin Need to be Replaced?
How frequently the resin should be changed depends on a number of parameters, including:
- The hardness of your water. The resin bed will have to work harder and be subject to greater damage the harder the water is.
- Iron content in your water. The resin bed can also be harmed by iron deposits, which cause rapid disintegration.
- Presence of chlorine. Because of its chemical composition, chlorine, which is used to clean municipal or city supplies, breaks down the resin.
- Crosslinking percentage of the resin. A 10% crosslink resin has a lifespan of about 20 years compared to an 8% crosslink resin’s lifespan of about 10.
- Maintenance frequency. Your high quality resin bed is probably going to last longer if you’ve taken care of it by utilising resin cleaner and other water softener cleaners.
- Quality of resin. The new resin of higher grade lasts longer than resin of lower quality, which is more prone to algae growth.
- Height of the softener tank. Taller, more powerful tanks hold more resin than smaller tanks do. The resin bed should last longer the larger the water softener tank size.
How Much Does a Water Softener Resin Replacement Cost?
The new resin bed is priced between $80 and $120. The cost of the resin bed replacement by a professional will be an additional $200–$300.
The price of a new resin relies on a number of variables, such as its quality and crosslink percentage.
Online stores are the finest places to get high quality resin to replace the water softener resin tank. You can check over your alternatives and choose the best value offers. Additionally, the odds of finding better deals online versus in stores are higher.
Step by Step Guide on How to Replace a Water Softener Resin Bed
Before you begin, prepare the tools you’ll need for this DIY project. This will save you time and hassle.
By having all of your supplies prepared in advance, you may avoid hurried shopping visits. Below is a list.
- New resin
- Riser tube
Water Softener Resin Replacement Step-by-Step
1. Shut off the water supply, unplug the control valve from the electrical outlet, and cut the water, drain, and brine lines from the control valve in the brine tank.
2. Remove the control valve ( may require two people ).
3. Remove the distributor tube and control valve ( the two normally can be separated at the control valve ).
4. You need to either dump the water and resins out OR employ suction to remove them, depending on your situation (the size and location of your tank).
** The next best method for removing the resins from the tank when it is not possible to lay it down and dump it is to use a shop vacuum.
The resins, which are made of a non-toxic plastic, can be thrown away or sprinkled on your lawn or flowerbed. Please refrain from breaking the law if you live in a region where there is some sort of disposal “law.” Although I am not aware of any restrictions at the moment, local governments are becoming “creative” in the legislation they pass to “protect” the public.
5. If you think it requires it, you can use chlorine (bleach) to clean the inside of the tank. Use a clean toilet bowl brush with a piece of pipe to lengthen the handle if you need to clean the inside of the tank.
And now would be a good time to replace your bottom distributor and centre pipe if you plan to ( when the tank is empty ).
6. The new resins are then poured in. A funnel may be required.
A second person is always helpful to have to help the resins “flow” into the tank, although one person can accomplish it alone ( slowly ). If the diameter of your resin tank exceeds 12 “, it is advised that you fill the tank with a 4-6 inch layer of fine gravel (1/8″ x 1/4”) before adding the resins. 12 tanks on “The gravel under bedding is typically not necessary and should be no larger than or less in diameter.
If you plan to use gravel as bedding, be sure the distribution tube is in the tank before you begin adding gravel. To stop pebbles or resins from entering your distribution tube, make sure the top opening is sealed off. Rubber band and a sandwich bag made of plastic work wonderfully.
* For greater clarity ( as this step has been confusing to some customers )
The primary hole at the top of the tank and a big Funnel should be used to FILL the tank first (before adding your Riser Pipe).
Additionally, you can leave the middle Riser / Distributor Pipe out while filling the tank if only RESIN (and not gravel) is being added. After that, add a few gallons of water (using a hose, bucket, or other container) until the resin is entirely submerged (often between 50 and 60 percent of the tank’s height).
After that, you ought to be able to lower the distributor pipe through the fresh resin to the tank’s bottom. The control valve is then mounted or screwed on. It is only necessary to have the Distributor Pipe inside before filling when Gravel is being added first.
In similar circumstances, you would cover the pipe’s top hole and carefully pour “Media” (using a huge funnel) around the pipe to fill the tank.
The valve can then be mounted or screwed on without the addition of water ( manually with hose or bucket ).
7. Lastly, you will reverse the steps 3, 2, and 1.
8. After reassembly, backwash your new resins using your control valve for 10 minutes ( All control valves have some way to manually advance the valve to backwash ). It is not necessary to let the valve go through a full regeneration cycle, although you can. The resins are already completely charged.
9. Run the water in the house for a few minutes while the control valve is in the standard “service” position to empty the lines of any “stuck” air.
How to Prolong the Lifespan of the Resin Bed?
Take into account doing the following to extend the lifespan of your resin bad:
A whole-house water filter should be installed before a softener. Consider installing an iron and manganese removal filter if you have well water. Install a carbon filter that can remove the chlorine if you use municipal water. Chlorine, iron, and manganese can all harm resin.
To remove impurities from the resin bed, periodically clean the resin with a commercial softener cleaning product or iron removal chemicals. For information on the suggested cleaning schedule, consult your user handbook.
Make sure the settings on your water softener are correct. The beads swell, crack, and flush down the drain when they are over-brined.
Use a pre-filter for sediment. The majority of water softeners already have a sediment pre-filter installed, but if yours doesn’t, have one put right away. By doing this, the resin bed will not sustain abrasive damage.