Pelican Water Systems - Blog Home

Water Softener Maintenance Guide: Lifetime Cost


When you opt to purchase a salt-based water softener you aren’t simply going to pay for the unit. Over the average 10-to-15-year life cycle of your salt-based water softener you will also incur three primary expenses: salt bags, routine maintenance, and the additional cost of paying for your water twice (once as it enters your home and once as it exits). So how much will your new water softener that relies on salt really cost when you factor in water softener maintenance? Let’s take a look at the math behind salt-based water softeners.

First, you’ll need to regularly purchase large salt bags to replenish the salt in the brine tank of your water softener. How much is a bag of water softener salt? Salt for softeners can run anywhere from $5 to $25 for a standard 40-pound bag depending on the salt purity rate and the location where you’re buying the salt. Technically, you won’t be buying salt – you’ll be buying either sodium or potassium chloride based on the brand of salt-based softener you choose.

In addition to the monetary cost of salt bags you must consider the price of your time. Embarking on your trips to the store and manually refilling the salt in the brine tank each week or so will eat into your free time. This lost time also factors into the cost of choosing a salt-based water softener.

How frequently will you need to refill the salt in your softener? This will vary based on the water hardness in your area and the amount of water your family uses per day. One estimate claims that a family of four with water hardness measuring between 7 and 10 grains per gallon can expect to use about 10 pounds of salt per week in their softener, or one 40-pound bag per month. As we stated above, you could be spending up to $25 on salt per month if you want salt of the highest purity.

Based on the manufacturer’s recommendation you may also want to pay for an inspection of your system every couple of years. These costs can really add up. To prove it, we’ll use our Water Softener Cost Calculator to show you how expensive going with salt can be.

For a family of four in a two-story home, for example, the annual usage cost for a Pelican Water salt-free water softener is $29.99. Compare this to an annual of $716 for a salt-based water softener when you factor in maintenance and salt bag purchases. The initial set up for a salt-based water softener is also more expensive: $4,213 as opposed to $2579 for a salt-free water softener, including installation costs.

At the end of the life span of a salt-based water softener you’ll be spending $686 more per year, for a grand total of $11,950 in salt and maintenance costs. This figure also includes the cost for water usage and electricity.

Salt-based softeners are not only hitting your wallet hard – they’re also causing significant environmental problems. Salt-based water softeners waste 7,800 gallons of water annually due to the salt brine discharge. With a salt-free unit no water is wasted. Salt-free units also don’t require electricity, cutting down on your overall environmental footprint.

Why spend more on a product that ultimately harms the Earth? Save your paycheck and the planet by choosing a salt-free water softener unit from Pelican Water.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter