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If you live in an area with hard water, investing in a water softener can be a must. Not only do water softeners make the water more drinkable, but they can also spare your pipes and plumbing appliances from undue wear and tear. Additionally, installing a water softener can be a great solution to ongoing problems with your laundry or your dishes.

It’s important to note, however, that water softeners, like all plumbing systems, can sometimes present issues of their own. Some of the most common concerns have to do with the resin beads.

Basically, water softeners are filled with thousands of tiny resin beads, which together make up the resin bed. As hard water enters the softener, the minerals and other types of hard sediment bind with the resin beads, and are then removed from the water before it starts down your faucets.

In other words, the resin bed is a critical aspect of a well-functioning water softener. Sometimes, though, the resin itself can cause minor problems, which may require troubleshooting from a professional plumbing company.

At Carter’s My Plumber, we are proven experts in water softener installation in Indianapolis and beyond. Our team is always happy to provide insight into proper water softener maintenance and upkeep.

Water Softener Installed

Addressing Common Issues with Your Resin Tank

The important thing to understand is that your resin bed does much of the hard work, capturing iron and other hard minerals and ensuring a soft, clean, drinkable water supply. Over time, the resin beads themselves become depleted, leaving your softener with a much smaller capacity. (In other words, it won’t work nearly as well or nearly as effectively.)

Thankfully, your softener is designed to go through a regular process called regeneration. While the settings for regeneration can vary from one unit to the next, most units regenerate on a nightly basis.

As your water softener ages and your resin bed is depleted, however, your unit will need to regenerate more often to maintain soft water. And sooner or later, the bed will be so depleted that regeneration no longer helps, which usually just means the entire unit needs to be replaced.

The good news is that this won’t happen for a good many years. In some cases a resin bed can last for a full two decades, though high chlorine content can reduce its lifespan.

There are also some simple steps you can take to extend the useful life of your resin bed, specifically by configuring your unit to regenerate more frequently. A professional plumbing company can help you with any issues related to water softener resin beds, or about any other common water softener problem you’re experiencing.

Additional Questions About the Water Softener Resin Tank

How do I know if my water softener resin is bad?

Generally, resin will last for at least 10 years, depending on water conditions. Really the only way to tell when your water softener is going bad is to be observant to your water quality becoming harder and harder. If your water softener isn’t working as effectively as it once did, and it’s getting up there in years, the resin should definitely factor into your troubleshooting efforts.

Why is resin coming out of my water softener?

Your unit should have a water softener screen, or membrane, which holds the resin beads in place. If they start to come out and you see them in your faucets or shower heads, that points to an issue with the membrane. It could be that the membrane is broken and needs professional repair, but it could also mean that you simply need to change your salt level. Too much salt in the salt tank may cause loose resin beads. Also be on alert for lower water pressure, a common symptom of loose resin beads.

If you do experience resin beads in your plumbing, we recommend that you call a plumber to resolve the issue before you run any more water, simply ensuring that the issue does not spread any more than it needs to. You might also wish to use the bypass valve to ensure that when you do run water, the softener is not involved.

Can water softener resin be cleaned?

Something else that homeowners should know is that there are professional-grade cleaning products that can rehabilitate your resin beads, ultimately helping your resin bed to last longer and your regeneration cycle to be more effective. A trusted plumbing company, like Carter’s My Plumber, can administer these products on an annual basis.

Calling a Plumber to Troubleshoot Your Water Treatment Equipment

There are several things you can do to extend the life of your water softener, specifically the resin bed. Annual cleanings can help maintain the quality of your drinking water, as can calibration of your regeneration cycle. The best way to learn more about these proactive steps is to consult with a professional plumber.

At Carter’s My Plumber, we are always happy to answer questions you might have about the water softener installation cost, ongoing maintenance, replacement, and more. If you’re in the Indianapolis area and need help coping with the levels of iron in your water, give us a call!

More Frequently Asked Questions

How long does water softening resin last?

According to our plumbers, water softener resin should be replaced every seven to 10 years depending on water quality. (See also: How long do water softeners last?)

When should water softener resin be replaced?

Again, we’d recommend that you replace the resin every seven to 10 years, give or take.

Can water softener resin be cleaned?

Yes. We use a product called Resin Cleaner yearly, and recommend it to all homeowners.

How often should you clean your water softener resin tank?

We recommend that you clean it once a year to avoid sediment buildup. (Same with cleaning sediment buildup from your water heater.)

What can I use to clean my water softener resin?

We recommend a product called Resin Cleaner.

What happens when resin goes bad?

When resin goes bad you will lose water softness feeling. There are ways to test for this, but the best bet is simply to call a professional.

How do you test resin in a water softener?

The only real test is the level of water hardness that comes out of your pipe or faucets.

Can I replace the resin in my water softener?

Yes you can, though ultimately the resin bed will become so degraded that you may need to replace the entire water softener unit.

What color should water softener resin be?

Resin has a orange reddish tint color. If you start noticing brown water, that’s likely an unrelated issue.

How do you regenerate resin in a softener?

The softener regeneration mode will clean the resin beads with new fresh water. This is something you can set up to happen automatically.

At what temperature does resin soften?

There is no certain temperature at which resin softens.

How much resin does a water softener need?

This varies by the size of the unit, the number of plumbing fixtures in your household, and more.

Are water softener resin beads dangerous?

While you wouldn’t want to ingest them, they are certainly not hazardous to the touch.

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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