What are the ongoing expenses of a water softener?
So you’ve recently purchased a water softener (or are considering a purchase) and are wondering about the ongoing expenses associated with water softening? After the initial water softener system purchase, there will be two main expenses to properly maintain your system:
- Salt (consumable)
- Servicing of the Unit
Salt: How Much Salt Will You Need to Purchase?
First of all, ion exchange softeners require salt (sodium chloride or potassium chloride) pellets in order to soften the hard water coming into your home. This salt is held in a “brine tank” which sits next to (and is connected to) your water softener.
How much salt you’ll need to purchase and add each month will depend on the level of “hardness” in your water and the quantity of water your household consumes. Industry standard is that the average family of four with typical water hardness (roughly 7-10 grains per gallon hardness level) will use about 9 to 10 pounds of salt each week or one 40-lb bag of salt each month.
A 40-lb. bag of sodium or potassium chloride will cost between $5 and $25 dollars, subject to the brand, salt purity rate, and location of purchase.
At WaterTech, we recommend using either potassium chloride or evaporated water softener salt pellets with a purity rate of 99.5 percent. For more information on what type of salt to buy, we’ve addressed that in another blog post.
If you find you’re going through more than one bag of salt each month, you may want to have your water specialist check your softener’s regeneration schedule. The control valve on many softeners and conditioners will automatically do the calculations for you regarding when to regenerate, but you’ll want to keep an eye on the salt level in the brine tank and add additional salt as it is consumed. You should never see standing water above the salt pellets in the brine tank. If you do, add more salt to the brine tank.
Many purchase three (3) 40-lb bags (120 pounds total) at one time so they only have to add salt about once every three months.
Service: How Often Should a Softener Be Serviced?
To ensure that your softener is working properly, we recommend that you have your water softener inspected by a local water treatment professional every 1-2 years.
The specialist will take into consideration how your household has changed since the last service call–have the kids gone away to college? Do you now have three toddlers running around? Most water softeners today are sized per the number of people in the household, but valve settings can be adjusted (if the unit doesn’t adjust automatically) to increases or decreases in water consumption.
During this service call, the water treatment specialist can:
- Make sure the valve is functioning properly and that all settings are optimized.
- Conduct a water test to make sure that your system is softening your water correctly.
- Clean the systems’ resins, if needed.
- Clean and sanitize the brine tank.
Keep in mind that not all water softeners and conditioners are created equally. Less expensive softeners purchased from a Big Box Store are a good price up front, but tend to wear out more quickly and need to be serviced more often– and replaced earlier.
If you are looking to purchase a softener or conditioner, do your homework first to make sure you’re getting a premium softener that is manufactured with high-quality components and carries a strong warranty.
If you have additional questions about salt consumption, are looking for a reliable water treatment professional to service your current system, or are considering a new softener purchase, we invite you to contact the authorized WaterTech Dealer in your area.
An interesting article to read! Choosing a water softener system for your home is difficult, as it’s a big investment. It also incurs on-going expenses notably explained here. So, it’s important to choose the best system that offers full benefits at low cost.
Thank you for sharing the ongoing expenses of a water softener. Like you said, we will need to continually buy salt in order to soften the hard water coming into our home. We should also consider having the water softener inspected by a local water treatment professional every 1 or 2 years. I have really considered buying a water softener because they seem very beneficial. Thanks!
Really, a water softener is quite an investment to make. But just to think about all the money you are going to save on your laundry, on all your appliances that uses water and the damage all that scale build up can cause you. I believe it’s a pretty good investment to make. Just my 2 cents.
If cost were not a factor, would I prefer a Potassium system over salt? Is there a different setting to the unit when using potassium compared to salt?
My discharge goes into a septic system and so I want what is best for my septic and yard too.
What would a service agreement cost on average? For a year?
Hi Michele, our dealers are independent from us so pricing varies greatly. I would recommend using our “Find-a-dealer” tool and emailing the dealer in your area for that price. watertech.com/find-a-dealer