I am the second owner of my home, which was built in 95. They installed a new Sears Softner and to be honest, I don't think it worked right from the get go. I've had nothing but trouble with it and swear it's going to the dump. I've replaced a numerous amount of parts, and still get grief.
One thing I noticed with the Sears Softner is that you want to use Morton Salt because it's probably the cleanist. I have used other brands and end up taking the rubber orfice out to find it only to be plugged up. With this I've found that the brine in the tank, will not siphon out and therefore you will just get hard water. Seems like it will work okay for a while and then something else will go wrong. Good Luck!