Where Do You Install a Water Softener

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After purchasing a water softener to address your water hardness problems, there are other things you need to consider before installing your system. These include what type of equipment and where is the best place to have your water softener installed. These factors can help you determine the best place to install your system and which type of installation would be most ideal. Read on to learn more about water softener installation.

Factors to Consider Before Installing a Water Softener

Installing a water softener may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you think. There are a few key factors you need to consider including learning how to install a water softener shower head before you begin the process. These include:

The Size of the Softener

The physical size of your water softener will help you determine how much space you need for water softener installation. Water treatment professionals determine the appropriate size by considering the flow rate, the amount of water your family uses, and the quality of your water.

Consider the Flow Rate

It’s important to consider the flow rate to ensure your home doesn’t run out of softened water. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute and is determined by considering all fixtures and appliances in your home that may operate at the same time.

Water Usage

How much water your family uses daily is also an important consideration. Water usage varies from family to family and can depend on things like how many people live in the home, whether you have guests often, and what type of laundry and dishwashing detergent you use.

Water Hardness

Hardness is the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water and is measured in grains per gallon GPG. This helps determine the amount of media needed inside your water softener to remove hardness. The bigger the system, the more media it can hold, and the more hardness it can remove. Additionally, there may also be iron in your water, requiring a separate filter or system that handles both iron and hardness removal.

Places Where You Can Install a Water softener


This is the most common location because it’s out of the way, easy to plumb, and has an existing drain. Most homeowners choose to have their system installed in the basement because the space is large enough to accommodate any size water softener and other water treatment equipment. Although they should be near the water source, a drain, and a power supply, water softeners are typically installed near the home’s water heater to keep the equipment centralized.

Crawl Space

A crawl space is a good alternative location if you don’t have a basement. It’s also out of the way, and there’s usually enough room to accommodate a water softener and other equipment. Remember that you’ll need access to a power source and a drain for this installation location.

Utility Room

The utility room is the best alternative for homes without a basement or garage. These spaces tend to be small, so creative problem solving may be necessary. Cabins and other seasonal dwellings constructed on a slab may have a few options available. Closet or utility rooms can be a good fit for a unit after some extra effort to create a drain for the system.


If your home has an attached garage, this may be the easiest place to install a water softener. Run plumbing from the mainline into the garage and set up the system near the water heater. Then, extend new lines from the softener to wherever treated water is needed in the house. This location works best with a floor drain since you’ll be working with plumbing connections and channels cut into the slab.

Plumbing a Water softener

Most water softeners come with a bypass valve that you must assemble and attach to the unit. In addition, some local plumbing codes require that you install shutoff valves to the pipes that lead to and from this valve so the water to and from the softener can be turned on and off easily.

Plumbing a Water softener
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If your softener has such a bypass valve, attach it to the softener following the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, make sure that you have the best water softener shower head for easy installation. Here are the instructions on how to install a water softener:

Turn Off the House Water Supply Valves

Cutting into plumbing lines always carries with it a risk of springing a leak, so the first step is to turn off the water to your house at the main shutoff valve. With the water off, open a few faucets around the house to release any residual pressure in the lines and to make sure the water is off.

Cut into the Water Supply Line

Using a pipe cutter, install elbow fittings so you can run two lines to the inlet and outlet ports of the bypass valve. Make sure you pay attention to the orientation. Hard water from the water supply will run into the softener’s inlet, and soft water will run out to supply the house’s fixtures and faucets. If you want an outlet such as a hose bibb to carry hard water, install a T fitting prior to the softener and run it to the outlet.

Cut and Install the Pipes to the Inlet and Outlet Ports

Cut the pipes to the correct length using a pipe cutter. You want about 6 inches (15 cm) of the extra pipe so you can make connections easily. Make sure you leave enough space for additional features such as whole-house filtration or a reverse osmosis system.

If the pieces are too large, use a reducing fitting to install the correct size pipes. Use the compression fittings supplied with the softener to attach the pipe to the unit. If your home’s electrical system relies upon the plumbing for safe grounding, you should install a jumper across the water softener installation piping to ensure proper grounding.

Clamp the Drain Hose to the Softener

Clamp the drain hose to the softener, and run it to a drain or utility sink. The end of the hose must be at least two inches above a drain hole to prevent the back siphoning of waste water, and you should securely clamp it. The drain hose must also be sized according to the distance of its run and its height in relation to the inlet. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Connect the Brine Tank’s Overflow Tube

Connect the Brine Tank’s Overflow Tube
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Connect the brine tank’s overflow tube following manufacturer instructions for any additional assembly. The overflow’s discharge must be positioned lower than the overflow fitting to prevent the siphoning of water from the tank, and it must be able to drain by gravity.

Set the Bypass Valve in the Proper Position

The bypass valve is a Y-shaped fitting that allows you to route water around the softener. The valves come in two pieces, and you must put them together before installation. There are two ports on either side of the “Y” — one for hard water coming in and one for softened water going out. There is also a third port in the center of the “Y,” which is for the brine line.

Attach one side of the bypass valve to the cold water supply pipe using threaded fittings and pipe dope or Teflon tape. The other side of the bypass valve will be attached to the softener’s outlet later.

Start the System

Turn on your home’s water supply system by opening the main shutoff valve. You need to fill the water supply slowly because burden pressure can damage fittings. Open a cold water tap somewhere in the house to allow air to escape as you refill the pipes.

Next, follow the start-up steps for your water softener, including plugging in the appliance, then set the time of day and the water hardness level. The final step is to add potassium chloride and start the system. Read the manufacturer’s directions about the type and quantity of salt or potassium chloride.

Run a Backwash Cycle to Remove Debris

After the initial set up, you should run a backwash cycle to remove any debris that may have gotten into the system during installation. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to run a regeneration cycle on the water softener.

The regeneration cycle purges air from the system and loosens the plastic resin beads in the mineral tank to ensure the system will run smoothly. Check for leaks during the backwash cycle. When it’s complete, check the water level in the brine tank and make whatever adjustments are recommended by the manufacturer.

Plug in the Power Cord Again

Now that the backwash cycle is complete, you can plug in the power cord to the water softener. Turn on the main water supply valve and open all of the faucets in your home to release any air in the lines.

FAQs on Where to Install a Water Softener

How long does it take to install a water softener?

It usually takes around one hour to install an old water softener. A new installation will require some plumbing knowledge, but it will take a few hours. Ensure you have all the necessary supplies and materials before you begin to save time.

Can I install a water softener myself?

If you are comfortable with basic plumbing and have all of the necessary tools, you can install a water softener yourself. If your home isn’t pre-plumbed for a water softening system, then you’ll be comfortable cutting and soldering pipes to connect your new water treatment system to your water supply. However, if you are not confident in your abilities, it is always best to hire a professional.

How to install a whole house water softener?

Installing a whole house water softener isn’t that difficult. As long as you have the necessary tools and materials, you should be able to do it in a few hours. Just follow the above-mentioned instructions, and you’ll be good.

Final Thought on Where to Install a Water Softener

Installing a water softener is an important decision that you have to make. It is important to choose the right location for your water softener so that it can work properly. Use the above tips to help you choose the best place to install your water softener.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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