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    August 14, 2020 6 min read

    How Much Should It Cost To Have A Water Softener Installed?

    cost water softener install

    Are you researching how much it cost to install a water softener? Generally, installation can range anywhere from as low as $400 - $4000. This variation in price includes labor, material, and takes into account the type of softener, home size, softener capacity, and complexity of the installation.

    For those considering purchasing a water softener, here is some essential information about the current hard water in your home. Hard water, that contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, is a nuisance to any homeowner. It leaves scaly buildups on pots, white spots on glassware, and stains in the shower. It also buildup in your plumbing and hot water heater that can shorten their lives. Due to the buildup, your pipes will have to work harder to push water through, thus increasing your water bills.

    A water softener works to remove the calcium and magnesium from the water, extending the life of plumbing and appliances. Now that you're interested in purchasing a water softener, let's dive further into the associated costs!

    What Determines Water Softener Prices?

    How much does a water softener cost? In the end, though, how much you spend on a water softener should depend on your home's water hardness level. Several factors will affect the final cost, including the type of system you choose. For example, a simple water purifier for a single tap in a house won’t cost as much as a whole-house water treatment systemThe better a system is at purifying the water, the more costly it will be.

    How much does it cost to install a water softener?

    How much does installation cost? The cost can vary depending on the contractor, the type of softener system being installed, and the condition and accessibility of your home. For instance, homeowners can pay anywhere from $400 for a DIY installation, to $4,000 for a professional.

    If you are handy with tools and comfortable with instructions, a water softener can be installed by yourself. Nevertheless, it may be best to have a professional install your softener due to the number of problems that can arise if additional plumbing issues occur. Just make sure you do your research and ask the contractors for quotes to compare pricing.

    The amount you will ultimately end up paying for a professional water softener installation will depend on the following factors:

    Kinds of Systems and Maintenance

    The type of system you purchase and the maintenance it requires will affect its cost.

    These are the most common options for water softeners:

    distiller, the most affordable option, uses a steam process to purify the water. This produces clean water but works slowly and can clean only a few gallons per hour. Since distillers are small-scale water softening systems that use distillation to remove the minerals in hard water, they are best for single-use applications such as drinking water.

    Since this system is quite small, the installation can easily be done by any homeowner.

    Reverse osmosis is a another method to treat water and is particularly useful for those on low sodium diets as it is sodium free. As with a distiller, this is a slow process. Although it is also quite effective, reverse osmosis requires routine maintenance by a professional along with filter changes, both of which add to the cost of upkeep.

    An RO system is typically installed under the sink to purify drinking and cooking water and can be done by either homeowner or professional.

    whole-house water softener system is typically the most popular option to soften water as it treats all the water coming into the home. Although it is the most expensive option, it is simple to install and maintain. The technology is reliable and has saved homeowners from all kinds of hard water problems time and time again.

    Type of Whole-House Water Softener

    In terms of whole-house water softeners, you will often see 4 types on the market: each with different price ranges and installation costs.

    Ion exchangers: $400-$1,000

    Ion exchange water softeners/salt-based water softener are the most common type of softener system. Basically, a salt-based water softener works to remove high concentrations of calcium and magnesium from water through a process called “ion exchange.” This process “softens” hard water by substituting the hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) with sodium chloride (salt).  Keep in mind that you need to include the price of installation and transport, as well which can range anywhere from $400 - $1000. (And the regular purchase of salts)

    Salt-free: $300 to $4,000

    Salt-free water conditioners use a medium other than sodium (typically potassium), which preferred for people on low-sodium diets. It’s important to note that while potassium is more friendly to the environment and specific dietary needs, it is substantially more expensive than sodium. The mechanisms of a salt-free softener work not by removing calcium and magnesium, but by suspending those ions and preventing them from building up in the first place. 

    The benefits of a salt-free system are you don't have to purchase salts, just the system itself, shipping, installation, and the occasional filter change.

    Dual tank: $1,000 - $2,000

    dual tank water softener has two mineral tanks and is ideal for residential applications with extremely hard water. It's especially useful in homes with large families, or where the downtime of regeneration is an issue. While one tank is down for cleaning, the second tank is activated to ensure an uninterrupted supply of softened water is available.

    As you can expect, the starting price for this water softener system will be slightly higher since it is much larger and more complicated to install.

    Magnetic/electronic: $30 - $200

    The newest type of water softener on the market is the magnetic, or electronic water softener. This is a plug-in device that attaches to your existing pipes. According to manufacturer claims, the magnetic field produced by the device reverses the charge of the ions causing them to resist clinging to the pipe and each other, thus preventing build-up.

    The advantage of this particular device is that you can easily install the system by yourself!

    System Size

    The specific size of the water softener will determine how much a property owner pays for installation. Larger homes, homes with more occupants, and properties with a higher water hardness level will need larger and more effective units to remove the minerals that are causing hardness. Water softeners are measured by their capacity and the higher the capacity, the higher the cost. (Capacity is defined by the grains of calcium the softener can removed from water per day). Visit this article to determine what is the exact size needed for your family.

    The larger the system required for your home, the higher the installation cost will be.

    Water Supply

    If your initial water supply is very hard, you will need a larger and more powerful softening process to achieve the desired results. The harder your water, the higher the cost of softening it. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG). (One GPG means there's one grain of calcium in a gallon of water)

    Likewise, the more intensive your system, the more rigerous the installation and the higher the installation cost will be.

    Complexity of the job

    A water softener must be installed near a home's water supply. 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 you water main isn't easily accessible, the costs inevitably rise.

    How do I hire a contractor to install a water softener?

    Most water treatment companies both sell and install water softeners. You can also buy a water softener off the shelf and hire a plumbing company to install it, just make sure you're purchasing the right type of system for your water hardness level. In most cases, homeowners hire water treatment professionals to install or replace water softeners. You'll find that different contractors will have different ways of calculating costs, which is why it always important to get up to more quotes on any plumbing or home remodeling project.

    Before you hire a professional to install a water softener, be sure to:

    • Look at past plumbing projects. Make sure the pro has experience installing whole-house water softeners, and read reviews to check the quality of their work.
    • Ask about what's included in the project estimate. For example:
      • If they're going to trench the yard to reach the water main, are they charging for site prep?
      • Does the quote include cleanup and hauling off debris when the job is done?
      • Will they buy the water softener system for you and include that in the total cost, or will you have to purchase it yourself?
      • What's the capacity of the water softener included in the quote?


    Even though the initial investment may seem like a lot of money, a water softener’s lifespan is about 15 years! Installing a water softener can remove minerals that damage clothes, dishes, and irritate skin while also extending the lifespan of your plumbing, water heater, and other appliances. A water softener can save you more in the long run by removing the harmful abrasives found in water--softening the impact on your wallet, as well as on your home. Learn more about a water softener today at Aquatell!