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Water Softener Price Guide

There are many reasons a homeowner may want to have a water softener installed at his or her home. Most commonly, water softening systems are installed in homes that receive "hard water" from their local water supply. Hard water is very common and not inherently harmful to the human body; but it can leave skin and hair feeling less than smooth.

There are plenty of factors that can influence the cost of a new water softener system. Manual regeneration softeners tend to be the least expensive to install — in some cases costing around just $400 with an extra $100-$400 for installation— whereas a metered or even timed system can cost significantly more, with the average reported cost running about $3,000 total.  

The Costs 

  • The minimum reported cost is $400.
  • The maximum reported cost is $10,000.
  • The average reported cost is $3,000.

Homeowners must consider whether or not they have the correct plumbing setup for hard water installation. If not, then they can expect to spend another $100 to $500 for the installation of the correct piping.

Finally, the capacity of the system can greatly impact the overall cost, which is why it's important for homeowners to get an idea of how many gallons of water the household goes through on an average day. The larger the capacity water softener needed, the more expensive the softener and its installation will be.

Water softener installation is becoming a popular choice among many homeowners these days, especially those who want to make sure that their home's plumbing system and appliances are well taken care of. By being aware of the factors that influence water softener cost, the potential pros and cons of water softener installation, and the different types available, homeowners can be in the right position to make the choice that's right for them.


By far the most common type of water softener available on the market today is the ion-exchanging resin water softener. Essentially, this type of water softener uses either sodium, potassium or hydrogen to remove unwanted materials from ground water. In all these softeners, there is a bed of resin through which the water passes as it enters the home's plumbing system. The resin itself holds a negative charge at all times, whereas the metal ions found in the hard water carry a positive charge. As a result, when the water passes through the resin, the unwanted materials are drawn out.

Within the ion-exchanging resin water softener type, there are three sub-categories under which they might fall based on how the systems regenerate. These include:

  • By meter
  • By timer
  • Manually 

A water softener that's set up for meter regeneration will operate based on the amount of water used in the home. This type of setup is ideal for those who want to ensure that their systems are as efficient as possible; because the softener will only produce as much soft water as is needed, there's no need to worry about waste. Most water softeners, however, operate on a timed system. This type of regeneration system sets the softener to produce a set amount of soft water at the same time every day. The nice thing about this is that the system always runs at the same time and can be changed by the homeowner as needed. Finally, there's the option of the manual regenerated water softener. These are the least expensive, but they require the homeowner to manually indicate when the softener should run; there is no timer or meter on the system itself.

Advantages of Water Softeners

There are numerous possible advantages and disadvantages to having a water softener installed at one's home. Therefore, any homeowner considering the option of having one installed should take both the pros and cons into consideration before making a final decision.

Perhaps the biggest advantage for most homeowners is that by having soft water running through their home's plumbing, they can save themselves a great deal of money on long-term repair costs. Hard water can be damaging to a home's plumbing system. Specifically, magnesium and calcium can build up in appliances, pipes and other aspects of the home's plumbing, causing expensive damage over time. By installing a water softener, unwanted materials can be removed from the hard water, "softening" it and making it better for use in appliances and for the human body.

Furthermore, many people who have made the switch from hard to soft water will agree that soft water leaves the skin feeling smoother and healthier. The same goes for hair. While soft water can take some time to get used to, those who make the switch usually grow to prefer soft water over hard water when bathing.

Finally, water softeners are quite easy to maintain. Aside from occasionally adding salt to the system, they don't require much maintenance at all.

Disadvantages of Water Softeners

Of course, there are still some possible drawbacks of having a water softener installed. For starters, the upfront cost can be a bit daunting for some homeowners, especially those on a tight budget. Because the average cost to have a water softener installed is around $3,000, this can be a large investment for any homeowner to make. Furthermore, because it's not an absolute necessity, many homeowners find that they'd rather spend their money on other household improvements.

For those who go with a manual unit, it can be difficult to know when the softener needs to be turned on; determining how much water is used in the household can be a challenge.

Last updated on May 19, 2016

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