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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Water Softener

Water Softener Cost

How Much Does a Water Softener Cost?

low costLow: Starts $400-$1,000 For the Softener; $1,000-2,500 Installedaverage costMedium: Larger Homes Run $1,000-$2,500high costHigh: Can Run $3,000-$10,000 With Many Options
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Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can cause scaly buildup inside pipes or appliances like a hot water heater, restricting the water flow. Hard water creates a soap scum that can be difficult to remove from sinks, tubs and appliances. Also called a water conditioner, an ion-exchange water softener uses sodium ions (salt) to remove these excess minerals from the water supply.

Typical costs:

  • Ion-exchange water softeners start around $400-$1,000 for a basic unit. Installation costs range from $100-$500 (depending on the type of equipment, ease of access and whether you need to add new piping and a suitable drain for the unit) for a total cost of $500-$1,500 for basic water softener in an average-size home.
  • Units with the capacity for larger homes start around $1,000-$2,500 but with installation can go as high as $3,000-$10,000, depending on the options chosen. Ion-exchange water softeners need to be periodically recharged with fresh brine (salt water). Less expensive units have to be manually recharged or may operate on a clock-based timer; midrange models may include a water-flow meter that triggers recharging after a set amount of use; and deluxe versions may use probes in the tank to detect exactly when recharging is needed.
  • A Texas homeowner[1] received five estimates ranging from $2,100-$3,500 for total costs for installing a standard water softener in an older home (30+ years) that was not pre-plumbed for the unit.
Related articles: Garbage Disposal, Replacing a Water Heater

What should be included:
  • A typical water softener is a small tank with a tube in the center. The water enters the tank at the top, flows down to the bottom then runs back up the center tube and out to the faucets or water appliances. While the water is inside the tank, it passes through plastic resin beads covered with sodium ions from brine (salt water), which removes the minerals from the water. Periodically the ion-exchange tank needs to be flushed with fresh brine in a process called recharging. North Dakota State University provides an overview[2] .
  • Usually a water softener is installed in the garage or basement, next to the water heater. The size of the water softener will depend on the amount of water to be softened (and some systems use more than one tank), but many water softeners are anywhere from 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 feet high and 12-26 inches across. Generally a water softener is hooked into the main water line before any pipes branch out, so it can treat the entire indoor water supply. Usually outdoor faucets are re-connected to the main line in front of the water softener, to save money by not softening water that will be used for outdoor irrigation.
  • Popular Mechanics explains how to install a water softener.
  • If you have a septic system, experts disagree about whether a water softener will help or hurt your septic. The University of Wisconsin gives an overview of the research on water softeners and septic systems.
Additional costs:
  • Salt-based units need to have the salt replenished on a regular basis, usually at a cost of anywhere from $2-$15 a month depending on the cost of the salt ($3-$8 per 40-pound bag) and the amount of salt used by your system.
  • Before buying a water conditioner, find out exactly what impurities are in your water supply. The Water Quality Association provides an online feature to help diagnose[3] your water problems. If you get your water from a community supply, ask the local water agency for a copy of its latest water test results. If you get water from a well or other private supply, testing by a certified laboratory can run $25-$300 or more, depending on the lab and the scope of the tests. Check with your local cooperative extension office[4] for how to get your water tested.
Shopping for a water softener:
  • A water treatment dealer lists options[5] to consider when buying an ion-exchange water softener.
  • Major manufacturers include Fleck[6] , GE[7] , Kinetico[8] , WaterBoss[9] and Whirlpool (Ecodyne)[10] . The Culligan[11] company only does direct sales, which means the only way to buy one is to have a Culligan representative come to your home for an estimate.
  • Search the Water Quality Association[12] for manufacturers, suppliers, retailers or dealers of water treatment equipment.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Water Softener and Reverse Osmosis Drinking System
Amount: $5,500.00 installed
Posted by: R.H. in Coleman, MI.Posted: May 7th, 2017 07:05PM
Brand: KineticoInstaller:
I have extremely hard water. My parents have a Kinetico and they live nearby and have the same hard water. They have had their system 26 yrs and only once have needed service. So I went ahead and went with the Kinetico water softener and also the reverse osmosis drinking system. Very pleased so far!!!
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Culligan water softener and reverse osmosis
Amount: $3,599.00 installed
Posted by: Mrsqueenbre in Gibsonton, FL.Posted: May 5th, 2017 07:05AM
Brand: CulliganInstaller: Culligan
This is their lowest option. One tank and no high efficiency.
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Self install 48k softener and dual filter
Amount: $950.00 installed
Posted by: Kfc in Ramona, CA.Posted: December 29th, 2016 03:12PM
Brand: Installer: Myself
Took about 3 hours for the install. I was quoted about $2500 by the National firms not including the extra filter.
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Water Softener Purchase
Amount: $7,400.00 installed
Posted by: Texas Bob in Huntsville, TX.Posted: September 30th, 2016 06:09PM
Brand: CulliganInstaller: Culligan
Extremely hard water from small municipal water company. Neighbors complained that their units from the big box store burned out after a year or two. Also, finding an installer proved difficult in our rural area. We paid about double, but the unit was competently and professionally installed by Culligan. Price included the drinking water system installed under our kitchen sink.
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Best products at the best price
Amount: $2,000.00 installed
Posted by: Mamilla in Colchester, CT.Posted: May 30th, 2015 08:05AM
Brand: Fleck Salt SaverInstaller: Aqua Compliance Specialists
Aqua Compliance 860-508-2961 put in a large 1.5 cube Blake Water Systems softener with a Fleck 5600 salt saving head. They did a great job, were very professional, and at $2,000 were substantially cheaper than the other quotes I got.
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Water Softener & Reverse Osmosis
Amount: $5,800.00 installed
Posted by: Francois in Orleans, Other.Posted: May 18th, 2015 06:05AM
Brand: Eagle Gold water systemsInstaller: Eagle
Bought this system back in 2007 and had it installed by Eagle. Never had any issues. The water softener is salt based which requires that salt be added every 5-6 months depending on water consumption.
In addition to water softener we also had a reverse osmosis system installed under the kitchen sink for drinking water. It contains 4 filters that need to be changed once a year and the membrane that needs to be changed every 3 years. The combined system never failed and has been working since 2007 for a family of 4.
We live in Orleans, Canada.
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Ecowater EEC 1502 and Ero375 reverse osmosis
Amount: $2,679.00 installed
Posted by: a user in Olathe, KS.Posted: March 5th, 2015 07:03PM
Brand: EcowaterInstaller: AB May
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Whole House Water Softener System and Carbon Filter Chlorine System
Amount: $1,600.00 installed
Posted by: Winston in Meridian, ID.Posted: October 22nd, 2014 09:10AM
Brand: Hankscraft RevV4Installer: Americas Water Doctor
Installer used three 40lb bags of Morton salt. Only after I asked him the difference (other than increased price) between Salt and Potassium Chloride did I learn that Doctors prefer Postasium Chloide because it does not affect high blood pressure. Will switch out to Potassium Chloride at refresh of systme in about 6 mos. The carbon filter sytem removes Chlorine from the water.
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Ecowater ERR3500R20 and ERO375 Reverse Osmosis
Amount: $6,490.00 installed
Posted by: Dax in Fort Worth, TX.Posted: September 16th, 2014 08:09AM
Brand: EcowaterInstaller: Ecowater Texas
We were recently quoted $6490 for a single-unit softener and whole home filtration system, plus an under-counter reverse osmosis system for the kitchen. This company seems quite reputable but I haven't seen a single other online reference indicating that this is an acceptable price for these units. Nothing unusual about the install required - garage, not pre-plumbed.
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Culligan Water Softener Price
Amount: $3,100.00 installed
Posted by: Steve McCullough in Bellbrook, OH.Posted: February 13th, 2014 04:02PM
Brand: Culligan High EfficiencyInstaller: Will
Just had an HE model installed yesterday (2-12-2014) to treat well water, with 6.0 ppm of iron and a 24 level of hardness. A costly, but necessary evil for our recently purchased 42YO home. Compared prices with Kinetico, and Culligan was significantly less expensive. Culligan is also the more established and reputable of the two companies.
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How much does the best water system cost?
Amount: $3,895.00 installed
Posted by: bangels in Scottsdale, AZ.Posted: October 25th, 2010 02:10PM
Brand: KineticoInstaller: Kinetico
We purchased a big box unit ($1600.00 installed) and thought it would work. After 7 days we realized that the water pressure was so low we couldn't take a shower and flush a commode at the same time. Then we bought from an on-line company that couldn't get it installed for us. (sent that back)Then we bought a Call-em-again unit ($3495.00 installed) not knowing that that's what you do when it breaks call-em-again and shell out $180-290 every-time. Then we'd heard Kinetico was the best but expensive...however it's relative. We have owned the system since 2000 and wouldn't have anything else. No spots on the dishes, no squeegee in the shower, no fabric softener, no static electricity and no build-up in the plumbing and our faucets and fixtures look brand new in a Large Family home after 11+ years of use. No service calls and we just added the K5 drinking water rocks better taste than bottled water and no lugging water jugs...that alone saved us $70 per month...and the whole house kinetico water system saved us about $20,000 in hard water costs over 10 I'd say the system was Free and clear after 24 months.
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