Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on July 6th, 2023

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How Much Does a Water Softener Cost?

Water Filtration & Purification

While researching ways to combat hard water, you’ll likely keep coming across water softeners. These water treatment systems can produce soft water, which has plenty of benefits. You can't have soft water without a water softener unit, though, so how much does one of these systems cost?

Water softening pricing is one of the most asked questions we answer at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air. Since 2007, we've installed countless water-softening systems in homes across the Los Angeles area. Although it's hard to pinpoint an exact price, we understand of the factors that can affect the final cost of a water softener. 

Here are the pricing factors that affect water softener costs.

  • Water softener specifications 
  • Installation costs for a water softener
  • Required plumbing work 
  • Optional extra filtration 

After calculating all the price factors, a water softener can cost between $5,300 to $8,500. Before diving into each pricing factor, we'll explain why they affect water softener costs. 


What Factors Affect Pricing for a Water Softener?

Water softeners can be purchased online or in stores, costing as low as $500 or up to $6,800 for the system only. The broad range in price comes down to companies and manufacturers setting their prices at their discretion to make a profit. 

A plumbing company, for example, can offer installation and a breakdown of the total costs. In comparison, a hardware store will only offer the water softener and not always include any installation assistance. 

The price of the water softener makes up a high percentage of the entire cost, including installation and other variables as well. It is common for people not to be familiar with installing a water softener, which is why the total cost will always include the price of a water softener plus installation fees and other factoring costs. 

Still, one of the biggest factors that determine the final price of a water softener is the system itself and its specifications. 


Water Softener Specifications 

All water softeners aim to transform hard water into soft water, but not all look the same. Some various manufacturers and brands offer different units depending on the following factors. 

  • Home size: Larger homes have more extensive plumbing systems. A much larger water softener unit is more suitable for a bigger house than a smaller system. 
  • Amount of bathrooms: Bathroom fixtures demand large amounts of water. A much larger water softener is necessary to help meet the water usage demand in homes with many bathrooms. 
  • Water hardness level: The water hardness scale is from less than 1 to over 10. A water hardness level of 7 is considered hard, and anything over 10 is considered very hard. A home's water hardness level helps determine the recommended water softener capacity for that particular home. Hard water tests are simple to complete by any person, or a plumbing company can assist with determining the water hardness level of a home. 
  • Water softener capacity: The efficiency of a water softener is measured by how many water hardness grains are removed per gallon before the system regenerates (when the resin tank refills with brine water). For example, a family of four living in a home with a water hardness level of 10 will pair well with a 30,000-grain water softener system. 
  • Type of water softener: The most commonly seen water softener system comprises a resin tank, a brine tank, and a control head unit on top of the resin tank. Other water softener types include the dual-tank model with two resin tanks. 

The specifications are essential to understand so you can get an accurate idea of which water softeners can meet your home's water demands. It is common for businesses to ask you about your home's size, amount of bathrooms, and water hardness level to get an idea of your home's water needs. 

Once you discover which water softener unit is for your home, the next price variable to consider is the cost of installing it in your home.


Water Softener Installation Costs

It is recommended to hire a technician to install a water softener, which can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The installation costs typically include labor, parts, and materials. A technician can charge an hourly or a flat labor rate to install a water softener. 

Technicians are better suited to install a water softener because there is a minimal chance of issues occurring during and after installation. A water softener purchase may come with installation instructions, but it isn't uncommon for homeowners to run into installation issues due to inexperience. Installing a water softener requires some knowledge of plumbing and a basic understanding of where a home's water line is located. 

A home's water line must be shut off to install a water softener. A technician can help install a water softener in a timely manner without causing any further disruptions to a home's water daily water usage.

 An experienced technician can install a water softener within two to three hours, but more time may be required if any additional plumbing work is needed. The costs for necessary plumbing are also factored into the total price of a water softener.


Additional Plumbing Work for a Water Softener

If a technician determines that some plumbing work is necessary for a water softener installation, then the cost of a water softener can increase by a few hundred dollars. The scope of the work required will depend on the house's layout. 

The condition of a home's main water line system plays a role in determining if additional plumbing work is needed because a water softener is always installed right after the main water line.

A home's main water line is the system that receives water from a public water supply. If a technician finds an issue with the water line, such as a clog or a crack, that must be addressed and repaired before a water softener is installed. 

A technician may also inspect a home's water lines to see if the house requires new piping. Corroded cast iron pipes may have cracks covered by limescale. After installing a water softener, the limescale reduction may expose the cracks, causing a pipe to leak or even burst. 

One of the final factors that affect the final price of a water softener is any additional yet optional water filtrations that can work in tandem with a water softening system. 


Extra Filtration Options for a Water Softener

Additional water filtration units are sold alongside a water softener to improve a home's water quality further. Depending on the added filtration system, the cost of a water softener may increase by up to $1,000.

The following types of water filters may be included with a water softener purchase.

  • Carbon filter: Carbon filtration helps improve the taste and odor of water by removing volatile organic compounds and chemicals such as chlorine.
  • Sediment filter: Dissolved physical particles such as dirt and rust can be filtered out by a sediment filter. 
  • Other filters: Reverse osmosis systems can also be installed as a whole-house system or in a point-of-use location such as a kitchen sink. Some water softener systems may come with a UV light water filter to kill any bacteria flowing in the water. 

The filtration options are located right after a water softener. So, your home can have soft water with additional filtration from other water filters. 


Is a Water Softener Worth it?

Soft water is gentle on a person's skin and hair in comparison to hard water, which may dry out the skin and hair. A water softener can provide these benefits, but there are costs associated with installing one in your home. Now that you understand the pricing and cost factors of water softeners, you can confidently decide if this water treatment system is the correct choice for your home. 

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we've seen the pricing for water softeners fluctuates over the years, but the cost factors that affect pricing have been the same. Any decision involving a water softener installation requires planning to ensure you find the suitable water softening system for your home. 

If you want to learn more about water softeners, contact us using one of the buttons below or book an appointment using our water softener scheduler page

Water softeners will continue to provide soft water, but homeowners should learn about the maintenance this system requires to operate efficiently.