Are you considering buying a water softener? If so, then you're probably interested to know how much it will cost you. As you would expect, something that offers such sought-after long-term benefits doesn't come cheaply. However, some water softeners are much more affordable than others.
The cost of water softener systems can vary depending on a number of factors but typically start from around $500. If you're not familiar with water softeners, they are devices that remove hardness minerals from your water supply, making it much gentler on your skin, hair, and clothes. They also help to prolong the life of your appliances by preventing limescale build-up. Read through to find out how much the system will cost you.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Home Water Softener System
The Type of the Water Softener
There are five effective water softeners: ion exchangers that use salt and brine, water distillers, salt free, reverse osmosis units, and whole house systems. Distillers purify water through a steam process that effectively separates water from contaminants. Reverse osmosis systems force water through a semipermeable membrane, leaving impurities behind.
Whole house water softener systems are the most popular type of water softener systems and work by exchanging hardness minerals for sodium or potassium ions. While reverse osmosis water softener systems are effective, they tend to use a lot of water, and the process of filtering hard water can wear out the reverse osmosis membrane much faster.
Some households combine reverse osmosis systems and ion exchange water softeners, which allows for higher quality water while extending the longevity of the reverse osmosis system. The type you choose will largely determine the price you pay.
The Size of the Water Softener
Water softeners come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different needs. The harder your water and the more of it you use on a daily basis, the larger your water softener will be. The service flow rate also plays an important role here. After all, you want to turn on your washing machine, shower, and open the kitchen faucet all at the same time without losing pressure.
The capacity you choose will largely determine the price you pay for your water softener. If you have a family of four using 80 gallons of water each per day, you'll need a unit that can soften at least 320 gallons per day.
The Cost of Installation
Based on the size and complexity, most water softener units require professional installation, and the labor involved with an installation will cost more than the unit itself. Larger commercial softeners require larger investments due to their scale.
Your specific water softener cost with installation will vary but for a salt based ion exchange, expect to pay about $400 for installation. A dual tank water softener system may cost about $600 to install, while a higher end dual tank water softener will cost upwards of $1000 to install based on the scope of work required.
While you could install the unit yourself, it's not recommended unless you have significant experience working with plumbing. If installed incorrectly, your water softener will be less effective and could cause serious leaks or other damage to your home.
Installation costs will vary depending on the type of water softener you choose, the size of your home, and the difficulty of the installation. A larger house with several bathrooms requires more plumbing than an apartment. To adequately treat enough water for daily use, you'll need to estimate the capacity based on grains per gallon.
Water Softener Features
Some features you may want to consider when purchasing a water softener include:
Salt capacity: The amount of salt the unit can hold before it needs to be refilled. This is based on how much water your family uses each day.
Regeneration cycle: This is the process that removes the hardness from the water. It occurs automatically and can be set for a specific time or day.
Type of salt: You can choose from Pellets, solar salt, or potassium chloride. By considering these features, you’ll know how to shop for shower head water softeners and get the best ones on the market.
Water Softener Brand
There are a couple of really expensive brands that charge outrageous prices for their systems and services that you don't need. However, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a quality water softener. There are many affordable options available that will still provide your family with soft water. Make sure you shop for the best water softener shower head from a reputable brand.
Where you live also affects the price of a water softener. If you live in an area with hard water, you'll likely need to spend more on a water softener than someone who lives in an area with soft water. Where you live also affects the total cost, you'll pay for most installation projects.
For example, urban areas tend to have higher labor and material rates since there's a higher cost of living and more demand than in rural areas.
Water softeners are complex units that utilize many parts to keep the system working correctly and safely. They require regular maintenance to ensure they're operating efficiently. Depending on the type of water softener you have, you may need to add salt regularly or have the unit serviced by a professional.
The brine tank needs to be checked every 3-4 months to prevent scale build-up if you have a salt-based system. If you have a maintenance-free unit, it's important to check the condition of the resin beads and make sure they're not degraded. A water softener technician will also replenish the salt or potassium as needed.
You also need to know the current state of your water content to know which water softener system is best for your needs. A water test kit can help you determine the hardness of your water, as well as the presence of other contaminants.
You can purchase a water test kit at most hardware stores or online. Once you have the results of your water test, you can research the different types of water softeners and decide which one is right for you.
Some local municipalities can also provide a recent water test, or you can hire a water treatment specialist to perform a test on-site. If you're on a well, be sure to get a test that measures pH, hardness, and iron content. A well test kit costs around $10 to $50.
Electrical and Plumbing
A water softener system for the whole house needs to be installed near the water main. If this area is not easily accessible or you have to trench a new plumbing line, then your installation costs will quickly rise. You'll also need to have access to electricity to run the system. If there is no power nearby, it will cost more for an electrician to run a new line.
The Quality of Your Incoming Water
The actual quality of your incoming can also affect how much you spend on a water softener. The harder your water is, the larger the system you'll need, which will cost more up front. In addition, if your water has a high iron content, you may need to add an iron filter to your system, which will also increase the initial price tag. The higher your hardness level, the more you'll have to spend on a softener tank.
Types of Water Softener System
This is the most common and reliable type of water softener. Water passes through the mineral tank, where calcium and magnesium exchange ions as they're attracted to plastic or resin beads. The beads pass into the brine tank that's filled with salt that washes away the hard minerals and beads. This style typically costs $500 to $2000 for a unit and total installation cost. They'll also require regular salt refills, which is an ongoing maintenance cost.
A water distiller is a very effective way to remove all contaminants from water, but it's not technically a water softener. It works by boiling the water and condensing the steam back into the water. This leaves all other minerals and contaminants behind. A good quality distiller costs between $50 and $2000.
Reverse Osmosis System (RO)
Reverse osmosis is a water filtration system that works the same way as a distiller, but it's much more efficient and doesn't require electricity. A quality RO unit costs between $1000 and $2800, with the higher end units being the most effective.
This cost includes the mineral removal plus total water filtration for purified water that's much safer than regular tap water. You can have one installed under a kitchen sink or for the whole house, and they can work in tandem with other water softener components.
Salt Free Water Softener
Salt free water softeners are also known as “water conditioners” because they don't actually remove the minerals from the water. Instead, they use a process called ion exchange to change the mineral ions so they can't attach to surfaces and cause problems.
Salt free water softeners are less expensive than traditional water softeners, and they don't require electricity to run. However, they don't work as well in hard water areas, and they need to be replaced more frequently.
FAQs on How Much a Home Water Softener System Cost
How expensive is a water softener?
Water softeners vary in price depending on the features and capabilities. The average cost of a water softener is $500 – $6000.
How much is a whole house water softener?
The average cost of a whole-house water softener ranges from $300 to $4000, depending on several factors such as the type of unit, the size, and the features.
How can a water softener system improve your quality of life?
Homeowners have found that they use less soap, detergent, and other cleaning products since they work better without the interference of hard minerals in the water. As a personal benefit, your hair and skin will be less dry and itchy without the scale build-up of minerals in your skin.
Final Thought on How Much a Water Softener System Cost
Water is one of the most important components of everyday life. However, not all water is created or distributed equally. This is because water can contain high levels of dissolved minerals, leading to negative consequences like dry skin and scale build-up in appliances.
Therefore, investing in a water softener system is a great way to improve your water quality and, by extension, your life. While the initial cost of a water softener system may be high, the long-term benefits are definitely worth it.