A water softener is an equipment that is used to soften water, this by removing the minerals that make it hard. Water softener installation is a critical task to figure out. Water is said to be hard when it contains a high level of calcium and magnesium and is responsible for various problems at home that you may or may not have noticed. Among the main problems are: blockage of the pipes, difficult dissolution of soap and detergent in the water, hair issues, creates a build-up of tartar inside the pipes and water appliances.
For example, you can reduce the efficiency of the water heater. This means that more energy or fuel (gas) is used to heat the water, which will increase the cost of its use.
In regions where the water is hard, having a softener at home is essential. In addition, if you have a beach house, the importance of having this equipment increases, because the pipes are much more compromised, and the repair costs of this is a high and tedious investment, due to the work involved. Next, we discuss the benefits of a softener in your home.
Table of Contents
- 1 Softener benefits
- 1.1 Cost of home water softener system
- 1.2 Ion exchange water softeners prices
- 1.3 Water conditioner cost
- 1.4 Running costs per month
- 1.5 Calculation examples
- 1.6 Where to buy
Smooth water lacks mineral ions that cause build-up in pipes, saving you huge repair costs. Now, the complex thing is that the accumulation of minerals in a pipe reduces the area through which the water moves, which requires more pressure from the pump. This buildup also wreaks havoc on some sanitation equipment, which means more frequent repair or replacement costs for washers, water heaters, and other machines that are connected to the pipe.
Softer and more coloured clothing
water softener prevents the adverse effects of hard water on clothing. As each wash passes, the minerals will make the colours fade! Some minerals can even cause staining (breaking clothes). When the water is soft it dissolves in the clothes more easily, cleaning it more effectively!
In short, you can spend between $ 350 and $ 3,500 USD and more. We know that the price range is huge.
If you want to know how much you have to invest to have a good system without your Osmosis Inversaben, see the following guide!
Cost of home water softener system
The type, size, characteristics and brand are the main factors that determine the cost of a water softening system.
Type – There are salt-based and salt-free water softeners (the latter is also known as » water conditioners«). Salt-based softeners are generally more expensive. → More information about the different types of water softeners.
Size – The harder the water and the more you use it daily, the larger the size of your softener, whether or not it is salt-based. Service flow also plays an important role in this regard. After all, you want to be able to turn on your washing machine, shower, and turn on the kitchen faucet at the same time without losing pressure. (Psst, you can find our sizing guide for water softeners here.)
Characteristics– Sure, some features that more expensive products can come with are unnecessary bells and whistles. However, what needs to be considered is a softener with a digital control head that allows for easy setup and monitoring. You also want a metered system that regenerates based on previous water usage rather than a timer.
Timer– A timed regeneration unit always uses the same amount of water and salt to recharge its resin bed, no matter how saturated it actually is. The starting price maybe a few hundred dollars lower, but it costs more to trade in the long run. Keeping the use of water and salt to a minimum is also better for the environment. Incidentally, this only applies to traditional salt softeners.
Brand – There are a couple of really expensive brands that charge outrageous prices for products and services that you don’t want or need, or that are simply no better than what the competition has to offer. Other than that, we recommend that you go for one of the most popular brands that have proven their worth over the years – think Fleck by Pentair.
Generally speaking, you should be aware that not all water softeners and conditioners in the home are created equal. A lower-priced product could wear out more quickly, so it would have higher maintenance needs and require expensive repairs (and vice versa).
Of course, prices for the same model can also vary significantly from one retailer to another.
Softener type Price range Standard ion exchanger $ 350 – $ 1,000 USD Dual tank ion exchanger $ 1,000 + USD Salt free conditioner $ 300 – $ 700 USD Magnetic softener $ 100 USD Portable unit $ 150 – $ 300 USD Commercial system $ 1,500 + USD Tank only (resin or brine) Less than $ 100 USD.
And finally, remember that a well-functioning, robust system will pay for itself in the future:
1. Prevents scale build-up. This adds to the longevity of your appliances, such as your water heater and plumbing system, to reduce maintenance costs.
2. Heat exchangers will work more efficiently.
3. You can save on toiletries, detergents and other cleaning products thanks to improved foam.
Ion exchange water softeners prices
Prices for standard ion exchangers range from $ 350 to $ 1,000 USD.
$ 350 USD is what you pay for a unit of 20,000 to 30,000 grains available at one of the Big Box stores. Softening capacity is sufficient for small to medium-sized homes, but some components are likely of poor quality and prone to leakage and other problems.
For $ 1,000, you can get a top-quality 80,000-grain system that provides enough soft water at any time, regardless of the size of your family or home.
A dual tank system that can provide soft water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week costs more than $ 1,000.
FYI: At the highest end of the price spectrum, you’ll find models for $ 2,700 and up to where you really shouldn’t waste the hard-earned money. Simply put, excessive costs do not equal the best in quality.
Speaking of quality, you can find detailed reviews of our favourite whole-house water softeners + a list of the best options here.
Water conditioner cost
The cost of a salt-free water conditioner: $ 300 – $ 700 USD.
Smaller electronic or magnetic devices are now available for around $ 100 USD.
However, chipping is a controversial issue. Most products have received mixed customer feedback, as has their due diligence before purchasing.
Portable units are priced between $ 150 and $ 300 USD.
Commercial water softeners can handle tons of hundreds of gallons of water per minute and are therefore larger. Prices start at $ 1,500 USD with the sky as the limit.
Both brine and resin tanks can be purchased for less than $ 100 USD. Keep in mind, however, that the most expensive piece is the control valve, which is the heart of every salt-based water softener.
Average cost of installation
Any water treatment device in the entire house needs to be connected to the electrical grid. This also applies to water softeners (magnetic softeners are the exception that the rule confirms).
Some companies like Aquasana even require that you have a licensed plumber to do the installation. Failure to do so will void your product warranty.
This usually adds between $ 200 and $ 500 to the initial cost.
The fee covers basic labour, supplies, tools and equipment, workplace preparation and disposal of packaging, project materials, and cleaning of the workspace.
Add another $ 70 USD on average for old appliance removal and debris removal if necessary.
Tip: Consider buying your softener plus installation service in one package for a discount. You can also get free system delivery, setup and programming, and free removal of your old unit.
Cost factor Description Basic workmanship Installation site preparation (also protection of existing structures and components), installation of connectors and shut-off valves, establishment of drain connections, connection to the main water line and power supply, performance check, Setup, Cleaning Supplies Materials and supplies costs, including connectors, fittings, and valves Equipment diversion Used equipment costs, including pipe cutting pliers and slip joints Optional: Remove old appliances Disassemble (replace), legally dispose of Optional: Remove debris Dispose of old materials, waste from installation and debris
The price may increase, for example, in the case of old houses that are not pre-installed. In this case, the installation will be more complicated and time-consuming – estimates range from $ 750 to $ 3,500, depending on the complexity of the project.
Other cost factors include remoteness of the workplace, accessibility of the softener in your home, and regional labour costs.
The installation of a commercial water softener can go up to $ 10,000 USD.
If you are skilled with tools, you can also DIY: install your new softener. The most important skills you need are cutting and joining pipes (non-metallic) to connect the inlet and outlet ports of the system to your main water line.
The basic installation kits are available for $ 50- $ 100 USD so you can save a lot of money as long as you have the necessary tools (or can borrow them from someone).
You can learn everything you need to know about connecting a residential water softener here:
Running costs per month
Let’s say you have found a water softener that you like and that fits your budget. What are the monthly costs that you should expect for the operation of the system?
Cost Factor Monthly cost Salt (ion exchange softener only) $ 6 – $ 25 USD Citric acid (only some conditioners) $ 8 – $ 17 USD Siliphos (only some conditioners) $ 10 – $ 23 USD Water + sewer Approx. $ 16 USD Electricity Negligible Free Service or $ 10 – $ 13 USD
For an ion exchange water softener, there will be the main expense, which is salt, sodium chloride, or potassium chloride to be more precise.
Salt is necessary to recharge the resin beads in the resin tank once they are saturated with hard water ions. This process is also called » regeneration«. Salt is stored in the brine tank, which is often separated from the main softening tank.
How often and how much salt you need to fill depends first on your water hardness level and the amount of water you and your family consume.
Other factors include:
Resin Tank Size – The larger the tank, the more salt is required for complete regeneration. However, partial regeneration turns out to be more efficient with salt. This requires a large enough tank.
Individual adjustments – Running frequent regeneration cycles with a lower salt dosage will result in greater salt savings. At the same time, the use of water will increase.
Obsolete system – An obsolete system may require more salt if regeneration is not based on water use, but on a timed schedule.
Other water conditions – High TDS and iron content result in increased salt intake.
The industry standard is that a family of four uses a 40-pound bag of salt per month. A bag costs between $ 6 and $ 25 USD, depending on the brand you choose and the degree of purity. At Home Depot, a 40-pound bag of Morton’s salt pellets costs $ 6.56 – not really that much.
Other softening agents
Magnetic softeners do not need additional supplies to function. Unfortunately, the same is not the case with all salt-free conditioners.
A citric acid-dependent conditioner, a chelating agent to reduce the scaling effects of hard water, may require a new filter cartridge every 3 to 6 months. Price: $ 50 USD per cartridge.
A Siliphos-based system also requires a new cartridge every 3 to 6 months at a price of $ 60 to $ 70 each.
2. Water + Sewer
Salt-based water softeners produce wastewater when regenerated. While some waste no more than 20 gallons per cycle, others waste 50 gallons per cycle. This means that your water and sewer bill will increase.
How much? It is difficult to give an estimate since there are many factors that play a role. An average of $ 150 to $ 200 USD per year seems realistic – no responsibility is assumed.
With that said, you will find that you will use less soft water than you would if you did not soften it. Will the positive effect outweigh the negative effect? Again, we cannot say that for sure.
All modern ion exchangers are electrically powered to power their digital main control unit and to drive the motors. However, the draw is so small that it is insignificant.
A living water softener for the entire house that lives up to the standards needs very little, if any, maintenance. Most companies recommend that your system be inspected by an expert once every 1 to 2 years to make sure it is working properly.
However, we do not consider it necessary if you yourself know how to configure the control head. This allows you to ensure that the valve is operating as intended and to adjust settings such as how often you want the softener to regenerate and how much water to use, if necessary.
You can learn all of this by reading the product manual – for zero dollars.
You may also want to test your water regularly.
What’s more, you should clean the brine and resin tank once a year or every five years under normal circumstances. Don’t worry, this is not too complicated (learn more) 🙂
For convenience, some people prefer to hire a company that charges a monthly fee to deliver salt and maintain their system. Rates for these services range from $ 120 to $ 150 USD per year.
Basic Ion Exchange Softener for Midsize Homes, DIY Facility, Unpaid Service Agreement
Cost Factor Cost (First year) System purchase $ 500 USD Installation kit $ 70 USD Salt (for 12 months) $ 96 USD Water + sewer (for 12 months) $ 150 USD Maintenance Total Free $ 816 USD
Water conditioner for a larger house with 3 bathrooms, professional installation, unpaid service contract
Cost Factor Cost (First year) System purchase $ 700 USD Installation $ 300 USD Chelation agent (for 12 months) $ 180 USD Water + sewer (for 12 months) $ 0 USD Total Free Maintenance $ 1,180 USD
What else should be considered
Depending on the general quality of your water, additional pre and / or post-treatment may be recommended. This will naturally increase the cost.
An example of this would be a water filter under the sink. Because softening can make your water unsafe to drink, you may want to consider installing a reverse osmosis system that removes excess salt.
Where to buy
In our opinion, the best place to buy a water softener is online. Amazon, for example, offers a wide selection of systems at attractive prices. And there are other online markets and retailers that you can check out.
If you prefer to shop locally, contact a couple of providers for different cost estimates and try to negotiate a lower price. The low season is in late fall or early winter when the chances of discounts are greatest.