Whenever someone talks about them, the first question that comes into your mind is- are water softeners worth it? Well, we believe they are, and we’ll prove it to you with reasons and a total cost breakdown.

In the long run, something like a water softener will save you a good lot of money, and you can always rent one to try it out!

Hard water can be very harmful to your whole family, as it affects your skin, hair, clothes, appliances, and even water pipes! Installing a water softener will definitely improve the lifetime of your appliances and give you a sense of relief.

Now the whole costing process of this machine depends on a few things like size, system, maintenance, and installation costs—time to let you know about them.

Types Of Softeners

Before we go for the full cost breakdown, you should know the types of softeners because different kinds come with different costs!

Salt-Based Water Softeners

These are the most common or ‘traditional’ softeners available in the market. The salt-based water softeners work by removing the minerals behind water hardness. They’re also called ion-exchange softeners because of their softening procedure. Salt-based softeners are relatively cheaper than the other ones.

These machines cost $500-$800 on average.

Salt-Free Water Softeners

Commonly known as water conditioners, these are relatively modern machines that do the job more efficiently. They don’t remove the minerals behind water hardness; instead, they crystalize them to ensure the minerals lose their ability to damage the pipes and other appliances.

As expected, salt-free water softeners are more expensive than salt-based ones. However, they run without electricity and don’t produce water waste- so you get to save water and power both with these. Salt-free softener machines cost around $1000-$1500 on average.

How Much Will The Water Softener Cost You?

We will provide you with the total cost breakdown of two different softeners, but before that, you should know a few basics about this machine. The prices of a softener depend on many factors, and you need to have a decent idea about them.

Capacity And Size Of The Water Softener

The initial cost is determined by the size and type of your softener. As we already explained, Salt-free softeners are more expensive than salt-based ones. But there’s a catch—the size matters when it comes to these machines.

For example, salt-free ones cost the same or less than salt-based ones if you have a huge home with high water usage.

Now water softeners and their capacities are measured in a particular unit named GPG (grains per gallon). The level of GPG your house requires depends on the hardness of your water and the amount of water usage.

With a simple home testing kit, you can figure out the GPG level and then go for a softener that suits your requirements.

Most of the water softeners available on the market have a grain capacity of 20,000-80,000.

To put things into perspective, if your household has two bathrooms and a kitchen and 3-4 people live there, then a softener of 20,000 capacity should be fine. Larger homes with 5-6 people would require a capacity of 32,000 at least.

As expected, higher grain capacity means a higher price, so you need to think about this thoroughly. We will suggest that maintaining a salt-based softener is more manageable if you have a smaller household, whereas using a salt-free softener would be cost-effective for larger areas.

Maintenance Cost

Unless you hire a professional to check the softener on a routine basis, maintenance won’t cost you a lot. However, if you choose to go for a salt-based water softener, you’ll have to pay for the salt refill for the salt tank. Depending on the amount of water, you’ll have to refill the tank at least twice a month (or more).

Every month, the approximate cost for salt should be around $10-$20 for a regular-sized home. Some softeners also come with sediment filters, and you may have to replace them every 4-6 months.

They vary in price, starting from $30 to even $200, considering the quality and size.

It would help if you also made sure a professional inspect the water softener at least once a year, and that inspection should cost you around $50-$100.

Installation Cost

First things first- if you’re a DIY enthusiast and can do some plumbing, the installation cost would be pretty low. That’s appreciable, but be sure about what you’re doing if you do end up doing it all by yourself. Now, if you want professional help, then that’s a whole different ball game.

The labor costs of installing a softener generally include the removal and disposal of the previous softener system in many cases. If you’re installing it for the first time, then the cost would be a bit less. But you’ll still have to pay for preparing the pipes and the necessary materials.

The cost of installing a softener can range from $500 to $3000, based on the amount of work, the softener type, and the quality of materials. It’s a standard range, and if you’re lucky, you can get the machine installed for much less!

Full Cost Breakdown Of A Salt-Based Water Softener

We’ll break down the total annual cost of a salt-based softener for a medium-sized home. It doesn’t include the servicing, and we’ll give you the price for DIY and professional installations.

Water Softener$500
DIY/Professional installation$30/$1000
Salt ($30 for a month)$360

So, in total, a standard salt-based water softener would cost $960 per year if you do the installation yourself and $1930 per year if you take professional help.

Full Cost Breakdown Of A Salt-Free Water Softener

This is the cost breakdown of a salt-free softener for a large home. We haven’t included servicing and went for professional installation here.

Water Softener$1000
Professional installation$1200
Water softening cartridges ($100 per month)$1200

Apart from that, the pre and post-treatments of your softener might increase the cost a little more.

How Long Can A Water Softener Last?

It’s hard to tell because your water softener cannot work properly for many different reasons. We can say, though, that the cheaper the machine, the more the maintenance cost and the less the lifetime.

The medium quality softeners ranging from $1500 onwards can give you uninterrupted service for up to 20 years if you take good care of them. As for the costly ones, they can even serve you for a lifetime!

Final Words

So, are water softeners worth it? We’re pretty sure you’re now convinced that they are, indeed, worth every penny you spend for them. You can still go and rent one to try out, though. We hope this article will come in handy when you finally go shopping for a water softener. Best of luck on that!