Most people do not know when to replace water softener resin in their water softening unit. But did you know that you can save up to $150 by doing it yourself? The biggest challenge for you is knowing the right time to replace these tiny strands of polystyrene beads and how to do so.
Does your water have scale or spots? Has there been a change in water pressure levels? Does soft water run out quicker than it should without an increase in consumption? These could all be signs that you need to replace your resin.
What is resin and how does it work?
Resin beads are tiny polystyrene spheres, which measure between 0.3mm-1.2mm, depending on the manufacturer. These beads are connected by crisscrossing divinylbenzene strands, which creates a resin net. The strength and durability of your resin will be determined by the number of links to each bead, as well as the average bead size. The best resin based water softener units feature 10% crosslink resin, while standard units have about 8%.
The crosslink points contain the ion exchange sites. These are negatively charged, and hold the sodium ions. When water is passed through the resin, the negatively charged ions will attract positively charged opposites such as calcium, iron and magnesium, which will stick onto the resin. As these elements are attracted to the resin, sodium will drop back into the water. After some time, the beads will need to be regenerated by adding sodium into the brine tank.
What may affect the lifespan of your resin?
Iron damage is popular in areas with high iron concentration in the water system. Iron consumes about four times the amount of sodium than magnesium and calcium. It can also oxidize quickly and increase its size, which will block off a big part of the resin. This will affect its ability to soften water efficiently.
Chlorine is a powerful oxidizing agent that will destroy the divinylbenzene bond, affecting the strength of your resin’s crosslink. For standard 8% resin, a concentration level of 2ppm could reduce the length of service to five years!
At 8.3 pounds per gallon and rushing through your pipes at about 8 feet per second, the impact of flowing water will wear out your resin quickly. The hydraulic force created when suddenly closing your faucets will also impact the rate of wear.
When should you replace the resin in your unit?
The factors that determine its lifespan will contribute to your decision to replace the resin. Standard resin will deteriorate between 2%-10% each year. Units will last about 10 years with 8% resin under normal family usage. Studies suggest that increasing the crosslink will help boost the lifespan of your unit. Instead of 10 years, 10% resin could last up to 20 years on normal use.
A break down in resin will result in more instances of clogging, with inefficient water softening. It will also affect pressure levels, as well as cause reduction in capacity. Once you start making changes to your regeneration cycle, you need to consider replacing your resin. It will save you time and money, as well as provide a convenient supply of soft water for your home.