If you have noticed a change in the taste of your home's water, then that maybe a sign that your water softener needs to be replaced. Similar to water heaters, water softeners also need to be replaced every 5-8 years or so. If you are not sure what is the best water softener for your area or home, then you can always contact a plumber for assistance. In many cases, plumbers will sell you a water softener directly and offer a warranty on the unit and the installation. Of course, you can also go to your local hardware store and purchase a similar unit to the one that you are replacing. However, water quality and water hardness can change over time, especially if you have municipal water.
The best way to figure out what water softener is right for your home is first to have the water in your home tested. Many municipalities offer water testing for under $20 or you can purchase a water testing kit at your local hardware store. While there are some instant hard water testing kits available, in most cases you want to have a sample of your water tested in a laboratory. With a laboratory water test, you will find out exactly what minerals or contaminants are in your water and the percentage of each mineral.