How much does it cost to replace a water softener?

Knowing the average before getting an estimate can mean big savings

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Hard water doesn’t just leave spots on your dishes  — it can also irritate your skin and make your water heater work harder, which means higher power bills. So, when your water softener breaks down, it can be a big deal. Here’s how much it will cost to replace your water softener and how to save some money.

Key insights

  • Water softeners can cost $200 to $6,000.
  • Labor to install a water softener can cost around $29 per hour or more.
  • A home warranty may cover the costs of a water softener replacement.

Water softener replacement costs

There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of your water softener replacement. The type, your water's hardness and labor costs all affect the price.

Water softener repair costs by type

The type of water softener you need depends on how much water your home uses and the number of minerals in your water. Magnetic water softeners tend to be the cheapest pick, but you may need something with a little more filtration, like a reverse osmosis or water distiller system. Larger homes often need a dual-tank system to keep up with the water demands of more sinks and toilets.

The price of a new water softener can vary greatly depending on your water hardness. During testing, water hardness is measured as 1 grain (64.8 milligrams) of calcium carbonate dissolved in 1 gallon of water (gpg). Hard water is water with a gpg of 7.5 or higher. Anything lower is considered soft water.

With gpg measurements, the higher the capacity level, the more you can expect to pay. Generally, a home with one to four people will need a system rated at around 30,000 gpg, while homes with five to six people will need a system that’s around 40,000 gpg.

If your system was doing its job well before it stopped working, go ahead and get the same size and type as your old system.

Water softener installation costs

If you choose to hire someone to install your water softener, that will add to the overall cost. The cost of hiring a plumber will vary depending on who you hire and where you live.

Can you DIY a water softener replacement?

You can easily replace your water softener in around an hour since all the plumbing is already in place. The process just involves screwing a few pipes together.

When should a water softener be replaced?

The biggest sign your water softener needs replaced is when your water isn’t “soft” anymore. You’ll start noticing things like water spots on drinking glasses, your soap not lathering when you wash your hands or limescale (white, flaky bits) showing up on your faucets. These are all signs of hard water.

Does your home warranty cover water softener replacement?

Home warranties cover the repair and replacement of appliances and systems around your home, including water softeners. If your water softener stops working, you may only need to pay a deductible to replace it. This can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially since your plan probably covers installation.

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How long does a water softener last?

Water softeners should last 10 to 15 years if they’re well cared for.

Do I need to have my water softener serviced regularly?

You can do most of the maintenance for your water softener yourself without scheduling service checkups. Make sure to follow the guidelines in your system’s manual.

Do water softeners have a warranty?

Yes, water softeners have a manufacturer’s warranty that can vary depending on the brand. Your home warranty may also cover your water softener.

Bottom line

When it comes down to it, the cost of replacing a water softener can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the type of system you choose, the size of your home and the hardness of your water.

Remember that you can save money by installing the new water softener yourself or by filing a claim through your home warranty company.

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. Whirlpool, “Water softener terms for new shoppers.” Accessed Feb. 28, 2024.
  2. Whirlpool, “Water Softener Installation Cost Considerations.” Accessed Feb. 28, 2024.
  3. Angi, “How Much Does a Water Softener System Cost?” Accessed Feb. 28, 2024.
  4. Countryside Plumbing & Heating, “Signs Your Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly.” Accessed Feb. 28, 2024.
  5. My Buddy the Plumber, “How Long Does A Water Softener Last?” Accessed Feb. 28, 2024.
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