How Much Does a Plumber Charge to Install a Water Softener?

Updated: April 19, 2021 by Zac Harding

Installing a water softener can be a pricey job, especially when there are the costs of the filtration system itself and the costs of hiring a plumber to install it for you to consider, as well as a few other variables.

The question is, just how much does a plumber charge to install a water softener?

Like with any other job you’re pricing up, it’s impossible for us to give you an exact estimation for what you’ll end up paying.

A lot of the final price will depend on the type and quality of the water softener system you end up installing and your plumber’s labor rates.

However, what we can and will do is share with you some of the average costs that come with having a water softener installed, whether it’s done by a plumber or by yourself.

How Much Does a Plumber Charge to Install a Water Softener?

Average Cost of Getting a Water Softener System

On average, people who have chosen to get a water softener system will usually end up spending around $1,500, but there’s a little leeway on either side so you can expect to pay anything from $1,000 to $ 2,800 for both the system and how much a plumber would charge to install the water softener and the entire filter system.

The biggest variable that could affect how much your plumber charges to install a water softener is the type of system you choose and the scale of the job. For example, most plumbers would charge more to install a system that’s designed for the whole house than they would for a simple under sink water softener, especially if your house is expansive.

If you’re looking at smart filtration systems, installing that would fall into a much higher price bracket and can push the average price up to what we would consider the maximum amount you could (or should) end up spending, which is a bank balance denting $6,000.

Alternatively, you could go in the opposite direction completely and significantly reduce the cost to around $500 if you decide to DIY the install.

Here are a few examples of the prices of different types of water softeners and how much a plumber would charge to install them:

Softener Type Average Price Range Total Install Cost
Ion Exchangers (salt and brine)  $300-$1,000  $500-$2,000
Water Distiller $50-$1,500 $50-$2,000
Salt Free $500-£3,000 $800-$4,000
Reverse Osmosis  $100-$1,800 $1,000-$2,800
Magnetic £200-$400 $200-$600

Regardless of which type of water softener system you ultimately choose, you’ll be looking at spending $150 to $600 on the labor costs alone. This should cover the transportation of equipment and materials to the required location, preparing the workspace by protecting any structural supports, and the post-job completion cleanup.

If you’re replacing an old water softener you’ll need to factor in the additional cost of removing and disposing of your old system, which can add anything from $50 to $200 onto the total price. Your plumber might also be able to offer you a discount if they are able to salvage some of the existing pipes to use for the new installation.

water softener installedDo I Need a Plumber to Install a Water Softener?

Labour is understandably an additional cost that you may consider scaling back on, but unless you have experience working with filtration systems we would recommend hiring a professional to install a water softener. You’re dealing with the plumbing in your house, after all, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, or the consequences could be even costlier.

Depending on how confident you are, you could probably complete a smaller job without too much trouble, such as an under-sink or countertop install, but there only needs to be one faulty connection for problems to occur.

Any type of home system installs should definitely be left to the professionals, as these are far more complicated and require 100% accuracy.

If you’re worried about keeping the cost to a minimum, you can always choose to buy a water softener system from your own supplier.

Your plumber will probably give you a few recommendations for filtration systems they know to be good quality or that they’ve worked with successfully before, but this way you can take advantage of any local deals or offers.

What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Soft Water?

Here’s a brief summary of the pros and cons of having soft water:

Pros

  • You’re less likely to have a build-up of limescale around the spouts of your taps and visible ‘tidemarks’ lining your bathtub.
  • It helps to prevent boiler breakdowns, washing machine nightmares, or any damage being done to your dishwasher and other water-based appliances.
  • Soft water is free from hard minerals meaning your soap will stretch further, your laundry detergent will lather more easily, and it will last longer before running out.

Cons

  • You waste some of the naturally occurring hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Some people also believe that approximately 120 gallons out of every 1,000 gallons of water are wasted in the filtration process.
  • Many people report that the water from a system that has had a softener installed has a weird taste to it, which is likely due to the minerals that are used in the regeneration process.
  • Because of the increased salt content, softened water is not suitable for babies or young children, and anyone with heart issues, diabetes, or kidney diseases.

Are Water Softeners Worth The Cost?

When we consider all of the pros and cons we’ve listed above, it’s clear that there’s an argument both for and against the argument about whether or not the cost of a water softener system is actually worth it.

You can end up saving money on a smaller scale, like, for example, in the form of reduced soap use, or you could make much bigger savings by avoiding the expensive costs of replacing your boiler or appliances due to a build-up of limescale causing damage to them.

It can therefore actually be considered cost-effective in certain cases and you certainly get your money’s worth when it comes to the length of use you can squeeze out of it, as a new water softener can last for up to 10 to 20 years. However, this depends on what type of softener you choose and how well you maintain it.

A dual-tank water softener has a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years whereas a salt-based ion exchange water softener or an on-demand controlled water softener would usually need replacing after around 15 years.

Whichever type you end up going for, a well-maintained water softener will have fewer problems over the years which helps extend its lifespan.

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