Picture of Refurbish Your Water Softener and Save Big $$$
This Instructable will cover how to refurbish your old water softener to run like new for the fraction of the cost of replacing it with a new one.

My water softener quit softening quite sometime ago and I just never had the extra money ($600+) to go out and spend on a decent one. I had a feeling there had to be a way to fix this thing without having to buy a new one. Finally after conducting throurough research. I came across a few websites that talked about how the resin beads wear out after years of use. This peaked my interest so I called one of the overpriced water softener salesman and got the low down. Sure enough it was confirmed, the resin goes bad after a certain amount of time and usage. I have a generic G.E. softener and it is typical of this brand.

I knew I needed to conduct more research. After a while I finally found a couple of places that sold just the resin beads. Not only that but it was a very reasonable price, compared to buying a new system. qualitywaterforless.com The stuff I bought was only $95 for a cubic foot and they had free shipping. They were supposed to provide instructions and a funnel tool, but somehow I didn't get them.

Only one place gave the actual instructions on their website Ohio Pure Water
of how to replace the resin . The instructions were not for my model but worked out well enough that I got through the process and it seems to be universal.

It is actually very easy to do, so easy in fact I will show you how to do it in this Instructable.
Ifixitall1 month ago
Chlorine breaks down the resin. Can be prevented by either plumbing a carbon filter ahead of the softener, or by adding 1/4 cu ft of granular carbon on top of the resin bed.

Two tanks in succession- 1st could be a birm filter, for removing rust. Rust fouls resin . Could be calcite- corsex, for removing sediment.

When replacing resin, be sure to leave about 10-12" of space in the tank, don't fill the tank to 100% with resin beads.
Resin comes new in black and gold, color is not usually an indicator of wear.
Put some beads in your palm and use a finger to "smear" the beads, you'll see them break apart if they are worn out.
Worn out ( broken down) resin beds will significantly reduce water pressure.

When repcing the riser, do so before adding beads, just put tape over the top of the riser, not good to "grind" the riser tube down in.
TruthHunter4 years ago
From the Ohiopurewater.com site, I found the following

tank sizes.
9 x 48 = 1 cubic foot
10 x 54 = 1.5 cubic foot
12 x 48 = 2
13 x 54 = 2.5

...So now you know how much to order!

I am confused as to what I have There are 2 tanks in series. One is obviously
calcium and Magnesium, but what it the other? Could it be for sulfur? Something
has stopped working as the sulfides have gotten really bad. It can't be for
the Tannins as the water has always been pretty brown. The price we pay
for nice weather in florida is horrible well water.
from what ive read all you have is a twin tank softener nothing more nothing less. now what is INSIDE each tank is purely a fact that the installer should have informed you of:)
Mr. Rig It (author)  TruthHunter4 years ago
That is all beyond my Jedi knowledge :-)
walkerman19809 months ago
big thing you forgot. when changing resin bed:
use REGENERATE cycle to flush the resins to the waste water line. i suppose you could theoritically run a faucet or better the bathtub with no screen to plugup but backwashing the system is more effective.

nice instructable btw:)
yengis10 months ago

This worked great for refurbishing my Sears unit. On top of restoring soft water we have much better water pressure coming out of the unit(not sure if that's due to new clean media or because I cleaned everything while it was apart). I used a gutter cleaning scoop to pour in the media to the tank which worked perfectly as it's long and narrow so didn't need a funnel.

bpwagner5 years ago
Thanks for the nice instructable!  I just finished replacing the resin in my water softener.  I cannot wait for my shower tomorrow!

Brian735 years ago
I am considering doing the same myself as I have an older commercial-type; tall resin tube with the timer, valves, etc. mounted at the top. The separate salt tank holds 6 40-lb bags. It is not the self-contained type sold at Sears, etc.

As I am weighing the costs, does anyone know the average cost to refurbish one like mine if I had a company come to my home and do it?

Thank you. - Brian
helibobber5 years ago
Very nice project. I have a 10 year old Kenmore softener which has lost much of it's softening ability.  I was thinking of replacing the entire unit but now may consider replacing just the resin. I never knew this was even possible.
Thnks very much for the information.
jmkese6 years ago
Hi, just another "Thank You" for the information. I have a 10 year old Kenmore softener that quit making soft water. I could tell it worked a little, so I took it apart to check every thing and it operated fine, just not much soft water. Then I read your article. Your step by step and pictures were perfect. I got the resin from the company you suggested. The best part was when I first turned the water back on and it turned brown, while my wife was watching. It was great!!! Now I have SOFT water. Thank you and God Bless, Jim
Mr. Rig It (author)  jmkese6 years ago
Your welcome. I am glad it helped you and glad you have soft water again. Brown water is yummy :-) They guy at the resin told me to take the old resin and put it in my garden and that it would keep the soil loose. I didn't do it, I was unsure about doing it. But I spilled some on the ground and sure enough the dirt in the area is still loose with the resin in it. Next time the old stuff will go in the garden. Enjoy the soft water! Craig
crowcam7 years ago
Thank you for the info I followed your steps and just saved myself $600 the only trouble I had was getting the old head off and when putting it back on was scared to tighten it up too much so I always had a leak, took a chance and went an extra turn was a bit tricky because you have limited access but now all fixed THANK YOU
Mr. Rig It (author)  crowcam7 years ago
You are welcome. I am glad I could save someone else some big money. I had the same problem with pulling the head off, but a little extra muscle and it popped right off. Did yoiu get your resin from the place I suggested? Can you believe how simple it is to do and how much money it saves?
No i did not replace the beads but probably should have the reason for pulling it apart was my salt container was leaking have tried to patch it before but can't get access to the inside of the container to patch it properly so patch did not last,in the end made one good softener out of two. With the resin beads being a tight arse that I am emptied them through a sive into a wheel barrow and then ran water into that and stired crystals around and every now and then dumping the dirty water of the top until I was getting only clear water. Thanks from Australia
theburn77 years ago
Is water softener for wells?
Mr. Rig It (author)  theburn77 years ago
Yes "if" you have hard water. Do you have your well water tested? If your parts per-million are high enough it may be of intrest to you to get a softener. Arizona has very hard water, some wells back east have very soft water. So you really need to have your water tested. Hope this helps.
Wow, those resin beads look nasty! :P