Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can cause all sorts of problems in your home. From reducing the lifespan of your appliances to making it difficult to get clean dishes and clothing. A water softener is a device that can remove these minerals from your water, making it easier on your home and your wallet in the long run.
Installing a water softener is the solution to all of these problems. Not only will your appliances last longer, but your dishes and clothes will come out cleaner than ever before-all without using any extra soap or detergent. Keep reading to understand more about water softener installation costs.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
Wondering how a water softener works? It works by removing calcium and magnesium from your water supply and replacing them with sodium. Hard water then comes in when soft water gets out. Hard water enters a mineral tank from your home's water main source, passing through plastic beads, which attract minerals like calcium and magnesium, pulling them from the water.
The minerals stick to the beads, and the water passes through the brine tank. The brine tank contains sodium and potassium. Potassium or sodium ions stick to the water, replacing the calcium and magnesium ions the mineral tank pulled out. This process is called ion exchange.
The plastic beads in the brine tank get covered in calcium and magnesium, so they need to be recharged. The control valve determines when it's time to rinse the beads. The brine tank is recharged by flushing it with a high-concentration solution of salt and water. This process is called regeneration.
During regeneration, hard water enters the mineral tank and passes through the beads. The sodium ions on the beads attract the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water, exchanging places with them. The calcium and magnesium ions go into the brine tank, and the sodium ions go back into the mineral tank.
The minerals are flushed out of the system with a brine (salt water) solution. The wastewater goes down the drain.
Water Softener Prices by Type
There are different types of whole house water softeners, each of which come in a different price range and installation. Also, note that choosing the best water softener shower head can also impact its installation cost.
Ion Exchange Softeners
Ion exchange is the most common type of water softener. This is because it is the most effective at removing hard water minerals. Ion exchange systems work by exchanging ions in the water with ions on the beads. The beads are usually made of plastic or resin.
Ion exchangers cost $500 to $2000 to install. They're also known as conventional water softeners or salt based water softeners. Ion exchangers don't increase salt content by a noticeable amount.
Salt Free Water Softeners
Also known as a salt free water conditioner, a salt free water softener uses a medium other than a salt to make soft water. Potassium is used as an alternative because it's safer for septic tanks, which can corrode over time if you use a salt based system. People on low sodium diets also prefer salt free water softeners.
Salt free water softeners work a little differently than salt based systems. Instead of removing calcium and magnesium, a non-salt softener suspends them in water, so the minerals don't build up in your plumbing. The suspended minerals will end up in your water heater's tank, where they can damage the tank. Salt free softeners cost $800 to $4000 to install.
Magnetic Water Softeners
A magnetic water softener is also known as an electronic water softener. Magnetic water softeners are a controversial and fairly new type of water softening system. It's an electric device that attaches to your pipes and uses magnetic fields to change the way calcium and magnesium molecules behave so they don't stick to your pipes and cause hard water.
Installing a magnetic water softener costs $200 to $600. If you're considering a magnetic water softener, be sure to do your research. There is some debate about whether or not these devices are effective, and some municipalities have banned their use.
Dual Tank Water Softeners
Dual tank water softeners are on the high end of the price spectrum, but they're also one of the most effective and efficient ways to soften your water. A dual tank water softener has two tanks – one that's always full of salt and one that's empty. As the empty tank fills up with hard water, the salt tank kicks in and starts the softening process. This means that there's no downtime while the control valve is cleaning the plastic beads, so you always have access to a softened water supply.
These systems are expensive, but they're also low maintenance and have a very long lifespan. If you have hard water and you're looking for an effective way to soften it, a dual tank water softener is a good option. The average cost to install a dual tank water softener is $1000 to $2000.
Reverse Osmosis System
A reverse osmosis system is a type of water purification system that removes impurities from water by using pressure to force water molecules through a semipermeable membrane. The average cost to install a reverse osmosis system is $400 to $1500.
Reverse osmosis water softeners need very little maintenance with changing out filters so often. If you don't change the filters as needed, the service cost of having someone come do the repair will be higher.
What Impacts the Water Softener Installation Cost?
Water Softener Size
The size of your unit will impact the price. Smaller units that only serve a single sink or shower will typically be more affordable than larger, whole-house systems. Water softeners are measured by their capacity, and the larger the capacity, the more it will cost.
Water softener capacity is measured by how many grains of calcium it can remove from water per day. For most homes, a 32,000-grain unit is enough capacity, although you can get water softeners as large as 110,000 grains. The water softener capacity you'll need depend on how much water you can use daily.
For example, if you have more than five people in your household, you'll need a larger water softening system. This is because more people use more water, and more water usage means you'll need a more powerful water softener system.
The size of your home will also impact the size of the water softener you need. If your home is larger than 4,000 square feet, you'll need to get a 48,000 grain or larger water softener. Installing a larger size water softener is ideal for larger homes and it will be more costly than installing a water softener in smaller homes.
Water Hardness Level
Another important factor determining the installation cost of your water softener is the hardness level of your water. The harder your water is, the more expensive your water softening will be because you'll need a more powerful system.
You can measure your water hardness by using a device called a test meter, which you can purchase from your local hardware store. You can also use test strips that change colors when dipped in water and are compared to a chart that will tell you the grains per gallon of minerals in the water.
The complexity of the installation
A water softener must be installed near your home's main water. This can be a simple task if your house is pre-plumbed for a water softener or your water main is easy to reach, and labor costs will be lower. If your water main isn't easily accessible, however, the water softener installation cost will be higher as your plumber will need to run piping to the main.
FAQs on the Cost of Water Softener Installation
How much does a water softener cost to install?
The labor cost for installing a water softener is $200 to $500, depending on the system size and type. The plumber's estimate should include transportation of equipment and personnel, site preps, materials, installation labor, cleaning, and finishing.
How much does home depot charge to install a water softener?
Home depot also charges for finding the installers for you. The cheapest installation range from $150, and the most expensive is close to $1000. It also depends on the installers, location in the country, and the complexity of the system.
How much does it cost to replace a water softener?
The cost of replacing an old unit is always affordable since all or most of the required plumbing connections are already in place. The replacement cost is between $3000 to $500, which is a good starting point.
Final Thought on the Water Softener Installation Cost
Installing a water softener in your home is not a cheap investment. The cost of the unit, installation, and maintenance can add up over time. However, the benefits of having soft water in your home make the investment worth it in the long run.
If you are looking for an estimate on how much it would cost to install a water softener in your home, contact a local water treatment company. They will be able to give you a more accurate estimate based on the specific needs of your home.