When you clicked on this article about water softener cost, you may have asked yourself, “What exactly does a water softener do, and why would I need one?” Softening water involves the removal of calcium and magnesium along with other metallic substances that “harden” your water. By softening the water, it becomes more compatible with soap and helps extend the life of your appliances as well as your plumbing fixtures. Hard water tends to leave an unpleasant buildup on fixtures as well as a residue on glassware. See Complete Protection’s blog that compares hard vs. soft water for more detailed information. Most homes that need a water softener installed are homes that use well water pumped from their own land into their home. Sometimes city houses can benefit from a water softener too, if a lot of metals are introduced into the water through the pipelines. If you think you need a water softener for your home, your next question will probably be, “How much will a water softener cost me?”
Water Softener Cost
There is a wide range on costs for water softeners when you start shopping around. You can pay anywhere in the range of $400 to $10,000. Why is the price range so big? There are several factors that play into the quality of the water softener and several options to fit exactly what you need.
If you are leaning towards the less expensive end, you can find cheaper options at your neighborhood home improvement store. However, this price may not include installation, and will usually mean lower quality components and higher maintenance cost over time. Beware of spending more money in the long run trying to save money on the initial purchase.
On the other side of the scale, you will come across some very high prices for water softeners. Some of these high prices may be due to the water treatment professionals charging more to cover franchise fees, or their systems may come with a lot of extra features. Some of these features may be beneficial to you, but others might be unnecessary. It could also just come down to price gouging the product. In short, just because they are the most expensive water softeners available does not automatically mean that they are the best water softeners.
As you are looking, keep in mind that a good water softener that will give you long-term value will have third party certification, use quality components, offer an extended inclusive warranty, be energy efficient, and be manufactured by a proven company.
Factors That Affect Water Softener Cost
Size of the System. The size of the system you need is determined by three things: How hard is the water? How much water needs to be softened? How big is the home and how many water fixtures does it have? It’s important to ensure the right water pressure after softening it.
Quality of Components. You can choose a softer resin that is less durable or a harder resin that is more durable. There is a wide range in the quality of components that are used in water softeners.
Type of Valve. The valve in your water softener is the brains of the system. Having a quality valve ensures you have enough of the soft water that you need. A basic valve will run on a timer, causing it to be less efficient and waste water. A programmable, metered valve is more environmentally-friendly and offers several benefits.
What’s in Your Water? A water specialist should conduct a water test to understand what’s in your water in order to help you determine what level of softening you require. A good water softener installation will often include a pre-filter to address chlorine concerns and a reverse osmosis filter under the kitchen sink that provides the best water for drinking and cooking. Learn more about reverse osmosis here!
Installation Costs. Many water treatment specialists include the cost of installation in with the cost of the water softener purchase. This price could be less if your home is already pre-plumbed to install a softener, or it could cost more if your home is older and would cause the installation to be complicated or time-consuming.
What Should Be Included?
If you are having a water treatment specialist install your water softener, there are some things that should be included in the water softener cost and installation process. Some of these things include:
- Transportation of equipment, material and personnel to the job site.
- Worksite prep, including protecting existing structures and finishes.
- Labor set-up and hourly wages.
- Cleanup and debris removal after the job is completed.
Do Your Research
Based on the type of system you choose, there will be some maintenance involved. This usually includes changing the filter or adding brine to a salt water softener. Add up these costs over time and make sure it is within your budget and worth the time and money before you make a purchase.
Do not just go with the first water treatment specialist you find. Shop around and ask questions. If you are already connected to a city water supply, the local water department should be able to provide you a report on the hardness of your water. If you are using well water, you can buy a test kit that will test the water pH, hardness, and iron content. One of these kits costs anywhere from $10 to $50. This is less expensive than using a company, and will tell you what you need to shop for and lessen your risk of being sold something you do not actually need.
There are no known risk factors or health hazards to consuming hard water, but there can be high costs on your day-to-day living. Plumbing costs, laundry wear and tear, dish scum, and buildup on fixtures are reduced with softened water. Using a water softener will save you money in the long run by removing the harmful abrasives found in the water and thus lessening your maintenance spending.