Our old water softener just broke and released all the resin beads into our hot water heater. I've been draining it but a significant amount of beads went into the drain pan under the hot water heater. I was a bit concerned that if these were flammable, that it would be a hazard to run the how water heater.


I took them outside and tried to light them. They did blacken after a while and let off a nasty fume, but the stack did not continue to light after the flame was removed. I would still recommend testing your own if anyone else reads this answer with a similar conscern

  • 2
    Why not just vacuum them out of the drain pan if you're concerned about them?
    – Johnny
    Jan 30 '16 at 21:57
  • I considered it but I think a significant amount of them would be hard to reach. If they are combustable, I would want all of them cleaned up which would be a touch job but doable.
    – David
    Jan 31 '16 at 0:38

I would highly doubt that they are flammable. Water softener beads are made from zeolites, which are aluminosilicates (minerals containing aluminium, silicon, and oxygen). They are much more similar to clay than organic resins, although they may be manufactured with a binder of some sort. If you're really worried that they are flammable, try burning some of them - I'm guessing it would be similar to trying to burn a brick.

  • That would be great if that was what we had. I thought that there were different types? I thought they were styrene based?
    – David
    Jan 30 '16 at 15:30

they are styrene based. modern resins are a polystyrene bonded with DFB. zeolites were used at the beginning of the previous century but unless your water softener is 100 years old there's no zeolites in your resin

  • 1
    And are styrene-based products flammable? Are zeolites? That information would make the answer much better.
    – mmathis
    Dec 18 '17 at 16:30

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