Buyer’s remorse is the worst! But you purchased a Kenmore water softener, and then its parent company Sears went bankrupt. So, here we are.
We can’t blame you for picking a Kenmore. After all, the brand was once one of the most popular in the country. Plus, there’s a lot to love about the softeners themselves. They are relatively inexpensive at around $500-$600 and effective at softening water for small to medium-sized households.
But now that Kenmore’s parent company has gone under, what’s a Kenmore owner to do? Are Kenmore warranties now void? Are you going to have to purchase a whole new unit?
Don’t worry! This blog will explain what’s going on with Kenmore and why you shouldn’t panic if you own a Kenmore softener. We’ll cover how you can still receive warranty coverage, where you can get Kenmore support and what problems to watch out for with your Kenmore softener.
Need water softener repair right away? Angel Water can help! We were the official service center for Kenmore water softeners in Northern Illinois and Southeast Florida before Sears’ bankruptcy. And we can still provide the expert Kenmore service you need. Please visit our maintenance service page to schedule an appointment today!
A Brief History of Sears and Kenmore
Kenmore has been a famous appliance brand in the United States for over a century, starting with its drop feed sewing machine in 1913. For much of that time, Sears was the exclusive seller of Kenmore appliances. However, Sears also gave Kmart permission to start selling them in 2005 and Amazon in 2017.
Sears and Kenmore were at the top of the appliance game at the start of the 2000s. However, their share of the market has dwindled in recent years with the growth in popularity of big box stores like Lowe’s and Best Buy and appliance brands like LG and Samsung.
As Sears fell behind, it had to scale back to make up for losses in revenue. Part of this scaling back was cutting the research and development funding for Kenmore. These cuts were unfortunate because the brand needed that money to remain competitive. And as Sears closed more of its stores, Kenmore’s popularity continued to decline.
Finally, Sears filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2018, casting doubt on the future of Kenmore products. Sears has promised to continue to honor the warranties on Kenmore water softeners and other appliances. However, certain bankruptcy professionals see a real risk the company won’t honor them much longer.
What This Means for Kenmore Softener Owners
So, what happens if you own a Kenmore unit that needs maintenance or breaks down? The good news is there are still ways to get your unit the service it needs.
For the time being, you can still contact Angel Water to check if you have warranty coverage to fix your Kenmore softener. If going that route fails, you can also check with the original manufacturer of your system.
Wait, doesn’t Kenmore manufacture its water softeners? You would think so, but the truth is Kenmore doesn’t do any of the manufacturing. It leaves that to companies like Haier (a Chinese manufacturer) then pays that company to sell the softeners with the Kenmore branding.
How to Identify the Manufacturer of Your Softener
So, how do you figure out what manufacturer made your Kenmore softener? You will need to find the serial number and model number on your unit. Typically, this information will be located somewhere around the top of the water softener. Many Kenmore softeners have it on a sticker inside the lid that you open to fill it with salt.
Once you find the serial and model numbers, you should be able to determine the manufacturer online. Type “Kenmore water softener” along with the serial and model numbers into Google, and the product information should come up, including what company manufactured it.
You can also decode what company manufactured your unit based on the first three digits of the model number. Use this handy guide to match the code with your manufacturer.
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How to Get Kenmore Support in the Chicago Region
But what if you can’t get support from Sears or the manufacturer? If you live in Chicagoland or Palm Beach County, FL, you can still get the service you need for your unit at Angel Water!
Angel Water served as the official Kenmore water softener service center in the greater Chicagoland area for multiple decades. Our team still has the tools and replacement parts necessary to maintain a unit properly. We service all models, including the Kenmore 300 Series, 350 Series, 625 and Elite. Plus, we only employ licensed plumbers, so you know the job will get done right the first time.
Of course, if you aren’t satisfied with your Kenmore water softener, we also offer a wide range of products from top brands like Ecowater and GE. Our licensed experts would be happy to help you understand what each brand can do and find the ideal softener for your situation.
Problems to Watch Out for with a Kenmore Softener
We want to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your Kenmore water softener. One way we do this for homeowners is by educating them on some of the problems that frequently occur with Kenmore units. Here are a few common problems to watch out for:
Low Water Pressure
The hard water minerals the softener normally filters out are notorious for clogging up plumbing systems. So, when your system loses its effectiveness, the minerals will form scale in your pipes and start leaving behind white residue on your fixtures. The water from your fixtures will slow down to a trickle as a result. This is a sure sign maintenance is necessary.
Weak water pressure can also indicate that the Kenmore softener you have is too small for your home. A licensed plumber can help you determine if this is the case and what size system would be more ideal for your home.
No Soft Water
If you begin to notice your water is drying out your skin or leaving marks on your dishware, these are signs your softener has stopped softening the water. There are a few possible reasons for this, all of which require immediate repairs:
- Something has damaged your system
- There’s a leak in the system
- The salt in your tank has solidified into a “salt-bridge” and needs to be broken up
Fortunately, a licensed expert should be able to diagnose and fix all these issues.
Water Fills Half the Salt Tank
It’s always a good idea to check your Kenmore softener’s tank periodically and make sure it’s completely filling with water as it should be. If you notice that the tank is only filling up halfway with water, it’s likely because there is a clog somewhere in the system that needs cleaning.
Well Water Hardness
Many homes throughout Northern Illinois in towns like Deer Park and Elburn get their water from private wells. If this is the case for you, then you should be aware that well water is often exceptionally hard. So, your Kenmore system will have to work extra hard to keep it soft. Because of this, regular maintenance will be especially important to ensure you keep getting the soft water you enjoy.
City Water Hardness
While city water from Lake Michigan does receive municipal treatment, this process does not remove hardness from the water. Therefore, residents of suburbs with city water, such as Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, should monitor the performance of their Kenmore units as well. If your water starts fading your clothing or leaving your hair feeling stiff, then your softener is overdue for maintenance.
By keeping an eye out for these issues, you can keep a problem from going from bad to worse and costing you serious money! At Angel Water, we can help you fix all these problems and more to keep your softener working as it should.
Get the Help You Need Today
Although Sears and Kenmore are hurting, you don’t need to worry if your Kenmore water softener starts having problems. By following the guidelines set out in this blog, you can get the help you need to keep your water as soft as it can be.
Angel Water is here to assist you every step of the way. Please give us a call at 847-382-7800 or visit our maintenance services page to learn more.
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in May 2021 and updated in January 2022.