If you’ve been seeing symptoms of hard water around your home, white buildup on the fixtures or decreased water pressure are common, you really should consider buying a whole home water softener. Similarly, if your old water softener is starting to fail or is being banned in your state you are probably in the market for a new one. But that will take some serious consideration, mostly how much will it cost?
You may think that the cost of a water softener system is easy to find, but there’s a bit more to it then just a Google Shopping search. The style of system you’ll need should be considered, as well as the maintenance and installation costs. So to help, we’ve made this NuvoH2O guide on the costs and basic features of a water softener.
Before getting into a list of the various types of water softeners, it can be helpful to know what factors in your home will contribute to the cost of your system. Even if you have your heart set on one type of water softener, these factors can play a big role in the price of the system you buy.
For most water softening systems you’ll have to consider the amount of water you use per day to pick the right size of system. This can be very accurately determined by measuring your average daily water use in gallons, but a second reasonable measure can be the number of people living in your home. Some systems may measure the appropriate size based on square footage of the home or number of bathrooms, but it should still have the daily, weekly, or monthly water use as one of the measurements.
The condition of your water will also be important. Generally this has to do with how hard your water is, which can be measured with most standard home water tests or may even be reported by your utilities provider, measured in grains per gallon (gpg), but it is important to note that not all systems require this measurement. You should also consider getting a water test to be sure there are not other issues in your water that need to be addressed, such as sulphur, copper, and more. Most water softeners will not treat anything else in your water so being sure that your water issues are caused by hard water and what other water treatment you may need will be critical to knowing how much it is going to cost.
Types of Water Softeners
While water softening is a broad subject with many unique solutions, most systems on the market can be broken down into four main categories, each with their own quirks and costs.
Ion Exchange Systems
- Price Range: $300-$2000
- Old-fashioned water softeners use Ion Exchange to soften water. This is a process where salt is used to replace Calcium and Magnesium with sodium.
- This type of system is easy to find and works, but are banned in some areas due to various environmental and financial issues.
- Additional Costs: Monthly Salt bags cost around $15 a month, may increase water bills due to water discharge, water treated with this can hurt plants, and treated water has a slimy feel.
Full Home Reverse Osmosis
- Price Range: $1000-$3000 or more
- Not technically a water softener, but a filter so powerful it can remove hard water minerals. They are often large, complex, and expensive to buy and install.
- Be wary that carbon-based filters and similar cannot remove hard water minerals.
- Additional Costs: occasional filter replacement, and may increase water bills due to waste water. The WHO has also cautioned against demineralized water from Reverse Osmosis treatment
- Price Range: $75-$300
- This includes any system that uses magnetism, electronic fields, or similar to reformat hard water minerals.
- This style of water softener is often controversial and unproven as a home softener option.
- Additional Costs: uses some electricity
- Price Range: $600-$3000
- Any system that does not remove hard water minerals but instead prevents them from forming hard water scale buildup. The NuvoH2O system is in this category!
- Salt-Free Softeners are the most effective systems for reversing hard water buildup while also preventing hard water systems.
- Additional Costs: replacement cartridges and filters every six months
Once you select and buy a system, it’s important to look at the cost of instilling your system. For those DIY plumbers with a lot of confidence in their abilities, it may cost little more than the tools and parts, but for the rest of us it’s important to be prepared to get a professional installation. This can cost around $200 or $500 depending on a few factors.
A plumber may need to become familiarized with the system being installed in the case of something more complicated like a Reverse Osmosis system, which can drive up costs. Also the size of the space you have available can be a cost factor, as well as how long it will take to install a system and the experience and rates of the installer in question.
But it is generally worth the expense. A sub-par instillation of any plumbing appliance can lead to expensive problems in the future. A professional installation can prevent future leaking and flooding, broken appliances, or water pressure problems and in the end can save you the money and hassle of needing it fixed later.
The Final Decision
As you can see, totaling the cost of a water softener isn’t just a simple case of addition. It’s knowing what problems you need to fix, knowing what future costs you most want to prevent, and knowing the size and quality of water softener you need for your home. You need to pick the right system, the right size, and the right installation to minimize costs and maximize benefits.
The NuvoH2O system is one of the best Salt-Free softener options available, using the power of citrus to prevent and reverse hard water symptoms, saving money on appliance repair, water bills, and more!