How Can Water Softener Resin Beds Go Bad, And When Do They Need To Be Replaced?

Water softeners are incredibly handy at helping you avoid issues relating to hard water.

Softeners are usually easy to manage, but the resin bed within a water softener does need monitoring to ensure that it works as effectively as possible.

How Can Water Softener Resin Beds Go Bad And When Do They Need To Be Replaced

In this article, we look at what exactly a resin bed is and when it needs to be replaced. Let’s get started. 

What Is A Resin Bed?

Resin beds are a key component of a water softener, as they house the all-important resin beads. Resin beads are the tiny beads that create the softening process, also known as the “ion exchange”. 

The ion exchange happens when the minerals that cause hard water enter the water softener and come into the contact with the beads.

The minerals will bind to the beads and when this happens, the minerals will be taken from the water and will exit the tank. 

When we speak about the resin bed, we are referring to the resin beads as a whole and the area where they are contained. 

Can A Resin Bed Go Bad?

This all depends on the water softener that you have, as well as the water quality in your home and how much wear and tear your softener is subjected to.

Certain resin beds can last as long as the softener itself, while others might have to be replaced every decade or so.

However, damage is always possible. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common ways that a resin bed can be damaged. 

  • Iron in Your Water: Iron in your home’s water supply can be a danger to the resin bed, as it coats the exterior layers of the beads. This prevents other minerals from attaching to the beads, which lowers the efficiency of your water softener.
  • Chlorine: This is the largest perpetrator when it comes to the degradation of a resin bed. Chlorine can destroy the glue that holds the resin beads together and render them ineffective. Most municipal water contains some chlorine, but too much can greatly reduce the lifespan of your water softener. 
  • Water Hammering: This is the force of the water that flows through your plumbing whenever a faucet is turned on. Too much water hammering can damage a resin bed when the water shoots directly into the tank. 

How Do You Know That A Resin Bed Needs To Be Replaced?

An easy way to spot that your resin bed isn’t effective anymore is if you start experiencing issues associated with hard water in your plumbing, including the following:

  • A Buildup of Scale Around Faucets and Pipes
  • Water Tasting Unpleasant or Unusual
  • Soap Not Lathering
  • Issues With Laundry
  • Hard Water Staining
  • Iron Staining

If you experience any of these problems, it might be time to check the resin bed of your water softener.

Preventing Resin Bed Damage

There are ways to maintain the integrity of your resin bed for longer, so let’s take a look at how to do so.

  • Yearly Maintenance Schedule: Get your water softener serviced by a professional to keep your resin bed in good condition. They’ll tune up the softener in general as well as check for any problems with your resin bed.
  • Water Filtration System: Install a water filtration system to ensure that no premature damage comes to the resin bed of your water softener. A filtration system can remove any contaminants that can cause issues, including the aforementioned iron and chlorine that can get into the system. 
  • Clean The Resin Bed: Cleaning the resin beads is necessary to maintain your water softener and the beads themselves. You can do so without having to open the tank, but make sure to check if the beads look discolored or flaky beforehand. If they do, you will need to clean them with an iron-removing chemical. You should also make sure that you only clean the resin bed when the salt in the softener brine tank is running low. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, our guide has helped you learn a little more about resin beds, including how they can become damaged and what to do to protect them.

Your water softeners are sure to last for years to come with a little bit of effort and help from our top tips! 

Mandy Anderson
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