When you notice small plastic beads in your water supply, you know the water softener is broken. Resin beads enter the plumbing when the membrane in a water softener breaks open. The force of the water moving through the softener dislodges these beads and takes them throughout the pipes in your home. It can take a long time to clear them all out again.
Bypass the water softener. You'll see two pipes going into the water softener, an inflow and outflow for the water. Between these two pipes is a shut off valve. Turn the valve counterclockwise to open it. Close the inflow and outflow valves to shunt water to the bypass pipe. You can now replace the water softener at your leisure.
Drain and flush the hot water heater. Turn off power and cold water supply to the heater. If you are using a gas heater, turn the temperature gauge to the lowest setting. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Open the pressure valve to start draining water. Catch water in a bucket periodically to check that it's clear. If all the water has drained from the heater and resin beads still remain, open the cold water to let more water drain into the heater. Keep flushing until all the beads are gone.
Flush hot and cold water faucets. Remove the metal screens from all the faucets. Place a colander under the faucet to catch any resin beads. Turn on the cold first at full blast and let it run for a couple of minutes. Then turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple of minutes. Toss out the resin beads you catch.
Run the water-using appliances to flush of beads. Run the dishwasher, washing machine and other water-using appliances on empty. If the appliances are clogged after running or start to over fill, turn them off. Detach their water hoses and check for clogs. Flush hoses to clear of beads. Check the connections and remove any beads clogging them. Reattach and run the appliances again to flush.