The DIY Complete Guide on How to Install a Water Softener

by Jay | Updated on July 26th, 2022

Do you want to learn how to install a water softener? The presence of hard water in your pipes can make water usage in your home challenging at best and pricey at worst.

Hard water makes detergent suds harder to form, can stain your sinks and fixtures, and can even erode your pipes, causing them to decay and require replacement. This is why people consider water softeners valuable devices in their homes.

he Complete Guide on how to Install a Water Softener

It is no longer a luxury but a requirement for every home. It protects you and your family against illness, and you can’t put a price on it.

Hard water is commonly accompanied by minerals, which can cause your water to taste or smell terrible. Correcting these issues is as simple as installing a water softening system in your home, a project you can usually complete in a few hours.

Difficulty Level of DIY Water Softener Installation

There are various types of water softening systems that you may install in your water softener installation plumber home, each with varying difficulty.

Your difficulty level will also vary depending on your property, your pipes, and the area where you wish to install your softener. If you have no experience with various home renovation projects, particularly those involving pipes, it is recommended that you employ a professional.

You don’t want to tamper with it because it may cause much trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing down there. I heard about a man who flooded his entire house because he didn’t know what he was doing. Yikes!

Most homeowners with DIY knowledge and comfortable cutting through pipes can handle this procedure with various filters.

Some smaller filters require merely the installation of compression nuts on the pipes, but bigger whole house filters may necessitate the soldering of the pipes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being so simple that anyone with any level of expertise can install it and 10 being so complicated that only a professional can handle the task, you should consider:

  • Because the pipes connect, salt-based systems like GE run about a 6 to an 8.
  • Salt-free systems can range from a 4 to an 8 depending on the type of system purchased, whether it is electrical or employs filter material, and the type of pipes used.
  • Magnetic systems are simple to install and cost around a 2 – almost anyone can do it.
  • The size of reverse osmosis systems varies depending on the model. For example, an under-sink system is roughly a 5. Still, a whole-house system is likely to be a 10 or more most whole-house systems will require expert installation simply because they require 300-gallon holding tanks, huge pumps, and a careful balance of membranes.
  • Keep in mind that in some places, installing a whole-house water filtration or softening system would necessitate adhering to building rules and possibly obtaining permission.

If a permit is required, keep in mind that the town will check your work when it is completed.

Before you begin, check with your town hall to see what types of systems may require a permit.

Where should a water softening system be installed?

The type of system you install will determine where it will be installed in the major part. So, if you are unsure about this aspect of the job, I recommend hiring a professional rather than attempting to complete the process on your own. It’s always better to be cautious than sorry, especially regarding something as pricey as a water softener.

I’d rather pay someone to do it for me for a couple of twenty than do it myself and risk doing it wrong. So unless you have the necessary abilities, I will pay someone else to perform it.

Whole-house systems, for example, should be installed as close to the point of entry into your home as practicable.

You’ll want the system to feed into the water heater as little as possible because hard water can corrode the tank and limit its lifespan.

Installing your softener downstream from your water heater may cause harm to the machine due to the high temperatures.

If you’re installing reverse osmosis or salt-based system, make sure it’s close to a drain or that it can be drained into a nearby drain or a sump pump to be flushed outside. Under sink types typically drain directly into the waste line.

  • Systems based on salt
  • Systems for Reverse Osmosis
  • Magnetic Devices

Suppose you are installing a salt-based system and need to restrict sodium in your drinking water for health reasons. In that case, you may want to situate your system ignore the cold water, or bypass your drinking taps completely.

Reverse osmosis filters may soften your water while also removing chlorine, rust, and sediment; however, they are often put at your faucet to improve the taste of your water rather than at the point where water enters your home.

It is possible to acquire a large enough system to soften the water throughout your home while also increasing the flavor and quality of the water, but this may be very expensive and usually necessitates professional installation.

Magnetic devices are the simplest to install and can be placed anywhere.

It is recommended that you put them as close to the point where the water enters your house as feasible on your main water line.

Remember that the further back in the line you go, the more your pipes will be protected from the corrosive effects of hard water.

You’ll likely want to put your system in the basement or a utility closet near your water heater.

Even systems that do not cover the entire house should ideally be put as far down the line as feasible to ensure that your showers, washing machine, kitchen, and bathroom sinks are covered.

Costs of Water Softener Installation

As with any plumbing project, the water softener will be the most expensive part of building a new water softening system.

Because reverse osmosis systems are the most expensive, many people choose the simplest versions and install them merely at the faucet.

Remember that the size of your unit is directly proportional to the size of your home; the more water the system has to filter, the more it will cost.

  • Both salt and non-salt media filtration devices are around the same price. However, if you utilize a salt-based system, remember that the salt will be included in your final cost.
  • Magnetic systems are among the simplest to install and are typically installed by amateurs rather than professionals. However, the cost of the unit varies based on the system’s size and the pipes to which it will be connected.
  • The cost of reverse osmosis systems is among the highest.
  • Remember that any tools and materials you may require, such as a pipe cutter, fittings, and a soldering torch, must be considered into the cost of completing the work yourself. If you already have these tools, the cost will be lower than if you were to purchase them.

Costs of Hiring a Professional Install

If you are not comfortable completing the installation yourself, several companies can help you. Their rates vary according to the size of the unit, its location, and how difficult it is to access.

  • According to, the price of salt and non-salt units for installation varies on the time it takes and how difficult it is to access the location where they will be installed.
  • Professionals rarely install magnetic systems because the job is so simple that most homeowners do it themselves.
  • Installing a reverse osmosis system takes about 2-1/2 hours from start to finish. Remember that these estimates could be higher if the system is difficult to access.

Getting a Pro to do the installation

If you prefer to have a Pro do the installation, you can usually find one in a few different places.

In many circumstances, the firm from which you buy the unit will be able to help with installation, preferring to offer you a package deal on purchase and installation.

Some reverse osmosis manufacturers will install your device for free if you buy from them directly. Otherwise, you can usually locate someone to conduct the installation for you by going to and searching for a certified technician in your region.

A Step-by-Step Guide to installing a water softener

Keep in mind that each water softener system may come with its own set of instructions. When installing your water softener, always follow the accompanying instructions.

Installing a water softening system based on salt

These instructions will walk you through installing a whole-house water softening system.

Check with your local town hall before beginning any installation to ensure that you comply with building rules; certain codes will require a bypass or shut-off valve to be placed with the unit.

Many machines will also arrive with a bypass valve already installed; in this instance, consult your owner’s manual. (You may find information on cutting and soldering copper pipes here.)

Tools and materials are required.

  • a measuring tape
  • Cutters for pipes
  • Wrench for pipe
  • Tee valves are a type of valve.
  • Gate valves are used to open and close doors.
  • there are two compression fittings
  • Copper pipe or tubing
  • 2 union fittings for flexible tubing
  • PVC flux or solvent
  • Tape made of Teflon
  • Soldering iron and torch

Steps to Take

  1. Turn off the water supply to your home at the main line. Then, drain your pipes by opening the house’s lowest valve and letting the water run out.
  2. Please turn off your water heater as well as the power to it.
  3. Determine where you want to install the water softener along the main line. Remember that this must be done before the line feeds into the water heater.
  4. Using a pipe cutter, cut through the main line. Tighten the cutter onto the pipe, then rotate it until the pipe has been cut through. Fill a bucket with any water that comes out of the pipe.
  5. In the line, install an elbow fitting. This allows you to feed the filter while also having a bypass valve that allows you to flow water around the filter if necessary.
  6. Using the measurements from the unit, measure the pipes that will lead to the bypass valve. Before connecting the pipe to the bypass valve, cut the pipes to size and solder on any nipples and fittings.
  7. Connect the pipes to the unit with compression fittings, which should come with the unit.
  8. Clamp the hose to the unit and feed it to the drain. A floor drain, utility sink, or sump pump are all options. To prevent back siphoning of water, the hose end must be at least two inches above the drain hole. Check that the hose is tightly fastened.
  9. Connect the brine tank’s overflow tube to the brine tank. For height and positioning, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  10. To remove any silt or debris, turn the valve to the bypass position and flush water through it.
  11. Connect the device and turn the valve to the backwash position. Open the valve slowly to allow water to enter while releasing air into the pipes. Set up the flushing schedule and add salt to the tanks according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: If you have a well, you may need to learn how to install a salt-based system to help filter the water, simply because well water contains more hard water minerals than water from a treatment facility.

Unless you have supply or pressure issues, installing the system with a well should be simple. In this situation, visit a plumber or well company first to solve the issue, then install the water softening system.

Putting in a Salt-Free System

There are several types of non-salt systems on the market.

This installation describes the filtration system, which filters the water using a non-salt material. A handbook on how to install the water softener is also included in the package.

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when installing your non-salt water softening system to achieve the best results.

Tools and materials are required.

  • Cutters for pipes
  • Wrench for pipe
  • Fittings for compression
  • Copper pipe or tubing
  • Tape made of Teflon

Steps to Take

  1. Set up the system’s components where you want them to be installed.
  2. Turn off the main water supply to your home and drain the water from the pipes by opening the house’s lowest spout and letting the water run out.
  3. Cut the cold water supply pipe before it reaches the “pre-filter” housing. To create the cut, tighten the pipe cutter and revolve it around the pipe.
  4. Attach a shut-off valve to the pipe by gluing or soldering it to PVC or copper.
  5. Install the carbon pre-filter after the shut-off valve, using compression fittings to connect it.
  6. Install a second shut-off valve after the pre-filter, then extend the pipe to the filter system’s distribution head. Finally, use a compression fitting to connect it.
  7. Connect the system’s down flow outlet to the cold water supply pipe so that water flows through the system and back into the house.
  8. Close both shut-off valves and turn on the house’s main water valve.
  9. Check for leaks by slowly opening the shut-off valves one at a time. If none are detected, fully open the valves to activate the system.

Putting up a Magnetic System

Most magnetic systems are relatively simple to install and can be completed by the majority of homeowners.

Tools and materials are required.

  • Adjustable wrench 
  • screwdriver

Steps to Take

  1. Determine the location where you wish to install the magnetic system. Because they are compact and fit over your pipe, you can put them almost anywhere, including narrow spaces where a huge filter would not fit.
  2. Follow the instructions to open the magnet box. It should be hinged on one side so that it may clamp down over the pipe.
  3. Fit the box around the pipe, orienting it, so the water flows correctly through it.
  4. Close the box around the pipe and fasten it with the provided screws or nuts.

Putting up a Reverse Osmosis System

The majority of whole-house systems must be sized about the dwelling. This installation concerns smaller, under-the-sink systems capable of delivering purified water via their tap. NOTE: It will be a lot easier if you’re trying to install a faucet water filter.

Tools and materials are required.

  • a measuring tape
  • a screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Adjustable Wrench for pipe

Steps to Take

  1. Turn off the water beneath the sink and open the faucets above to drain the water from the lines.
  2. Measure your cabinet walls and find the recommended height for installing the filter assembly. Then, mark the location of the assembly and screw it to the wall.
  3. Unscrew the cold water feed valve and replace it with the saddle valve that came with the filter. Screw the cold feed into the saddle valve’s top.
  4. Connect the saddle valve to one end of the water filter supply. Then with the tubing to length with a utility knife, connect the other end to the filter.
  5. Connect the supply and waste lines to the system’s included faucet. If required, shorten the lines to avoid kinks once they are installed and working.
  6. Install the drain line adapter and connect the faucet to the sink. Next, make a small hole in your waste line and connect the valve and line such that it flows from the valve’s fitting to the faucet.
  7. Install your storage tank and connect the supply connections.
  8. Fill the system per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Then, slowly turn on the faucet with the cabinet doors open to check for leaks.

You’re done!

Hard water is not inherently dangerous to your health, but it can cause pipe damage, staining in your sink, and even give your water a particular taste or odor.

Installing a water softening system is a terrific approach to alleviate these issues, providing you with fresh, clean water whenever you need it.

Always follow the precise instructions for the water softening system you have purchased, and if you run into problems, seek professional assistance.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."