7 Signs You Need a New Water Softener or Filter

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Pentair Water Solutions
Pentair Water Solutions


7 Signs You Need a New Water Softener or Filter

In an ideal world, every glass of water you pour is crisp, cool, and completely odor-free. But home water filters and softeners require maintenance just like any powerful appliance.

Don’t wait until your system goes kaput to start shopping for a solution. Here’s how to tell if your water filter needs replacing.

What Is a Water Softener?

Water filters and softeners both tackle water quality in unique ways. Maybe you have a water filter already, but you don’t have a water softener. Are you wondering, “do I need a water softener?” We’ve got the 101 on water softeners so that you can expect better water and longer-lasting appliances.

While water filters reduce contaminants like treatment chemicals and heavy metals, water softeners are treatment systems that provide optimal hard water solutions. Salt-based water softeners swap calcium and magnesium ions from hard water by replacing these ions with sodium ions from the salt in the system. Water softener alternatives, also called water conditioners, can prevent hard water scale and buildup by conditioning the water instead of exchanging ions for a salt-free option that creates zero waste water.

What is Hard Water?

“Hard” water isn’t actually solid. Hard water is simply water that contains high levels of dissolved minerals and solids like calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper. Hard water can look and taste bad, and it can also cause major problems for your home and budget.

7 Signs You Should Replace Your Water Filter or Softener

To decide if your water filter or softener is out of date, or if you need to buy a filtration or softening solution for the first time, watch for these telltale signs of home water issues.

Scale Buildup

As you use hard water during your day in your sink, in your tub, and throughout your home, minerals like calcium and magnesium can remain long after the water evaporates. This process leads to telltale stains and residue that will leave you reaching for the vinegar.

As the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) notes, you may also notice film on your glasses and dishware, even after a fresh cycle in the washing machine. Leave these stains and spots behind when you equip your home with a water softener.


Does your tap water smell funky? Do you detect a slight chemical smell when you shower? Chlorine and hydrogen sulfide are two common chemicals that can cause your water to have a noticeable odor.

If your existing water filter isn’t equipped to handle these chemicals or a smell is still lingering, it may be time to upgrade and replace your old water filtration system with a whole house water filter.

Faded Laundry

Have you noticed that your laundry seems to have faded fresh out of the dryer? Maybe it’s scratchy to the touch, and doesn’t smell as good as it once did.

Soaps and detergents bind to the minerals in hard water and make them less effective. This effect is noticeable when you wash your hands and experience fewer suds, but one of the clearest signs that your softener isn’t properly treating hard water is faded and stiff laundry.

Dry Hair & Skin

Another clear sign that your whole house water filter may be at the end of its lifecycle? Consistent dry skin and hair. Your body naturally produces an oil called “sebum” that coats your skin and hair in a thin protective layer, but showering in chlorinated water can remove part of this protective layer and potentially leave your skin irritated and your hair brittle.

If you sometimes feel like you’ve been swimming in a pool instead of showering in soothing water, the answer might be a new whole house water filter or specialized shower filter.

Low Water Pressure

One of the greatest hazards of hard water is the damage it can wreak on your plumbing and water-based appliances. As the USGS reports, the mineral scale that hard water leaves behind can slowly clog your pipes and appliances like your dishwasher or hot water heater over time, making them less effective. Hard water can cost you a small fortune in early appliance replacement.

Unfortunately, you can’t climb into your plumbing to check for scale buildup. Something may be amiss if you notice consistent low water pressure in your shower or faucets.

High Energy Bills

According to the USGS, your water heater can lose efficiency when calcium carbonate deposits collect over time. When it takes more power to heat your water, you can expect your energy bill to climb.

If you notice an energy spike in the dead of winter as you’re heating your home, it’s likely not cause for concern. But if you see a pattern of higher energy bills, it might be time to change your water softener.

Expired Water Filter

Are you not sure how often to change a water filter or softener? The most obvious clue that you need a replacement is right on the packaging or user manual. When you notice signs of water quality issues or your water tastes “off,” track down your water filter or softener’s manual and locate the expiration date.

An important note: you might replace some filter or softener systems faster depending on the concentration of chemicals or minerals in your water profile. When a system reduces a higher quantity of contaminants than average, the filter media can fill up and expire in less time.

Unlock Better Water With Pentair Water Solutions

At Pentair Water Solutions, we have the ideal water treatment solutions for your unique home water challenges. We can help you reduce your home of signs like hard water residue, chemical odors, and faded laundry whether your existing system isn’t working anymore or you’re in the market for the first time. Explore our water filter and water softener options.

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