How much does it cost to install a water treatment system?
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Water Treatment System Cost Guide
Updated: Jan 01, 1970
If you are concerned about the water quality or the taste of it in your home, a filtration system can help correct potential issues. Treatment systems come in a wide range of solutions, each designed to address specific needs. So whether you have hard water, sediment-filled water, or are worried about bacteria or chemicals, it is possible to install a system to correct these issues. Because there are so many different options and systems on the market, there is a wide range of associated costs.
The average water treatment system price range is between $2,100 and $3,300 nationally, with most homeowners paying around $2,500 for a reverse osmosis system with a sediment filter installed for the entire house. For the lowest price, it is possible to treat water by installing a UV disinfection system for around $900, while a water treatment system with ultrafiltration for the whole house is priced at $10,000 or more.
Water Treatment System Cost
|Water Purification System Cost|
|National average cost||$2,500|
What Is a Water Treatment System?
Even after water is filtered in your municipality, there still may be contaminants in it. You can find out what is in your water by obtaining a quality report from your local utility provider. After finding out what is in it, you can reduce the contaminants by getting a point of use (POU) system that treats your drinking water or a whole house system that treats all the water that comes into your house. These setups filter out additional contaminants that may be in your water, such as lead, arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and more from your H2O. Removing such contaminants not only improves the taste of the but reduces hardness.
Water Treatment System Cost by Type
If you want a water treatment system in your home, expect to pay between $50 and $9,000 for a filtration system. Water treatment systems can be broken down into three basic categories: water filtration, water purification, and water softening. Some homes may need one, but others need a combination of two or three to achieve the best results. This depends on your water source, pipes, and the age of the home and system. The cost of installation may also factor into your overall costs.
Water Filtration Systems
The cost of filtration systems ranges from $50 to $9,000. Filtration systems are used to remove things like sediment, rust, and particulates from your water. They do not affect the hardness factor of your water, however. Filtration systems also do not necessarily improve the taste of the water, although they can, depending on what is being filtered out. If the filtration system removes traces of lead, chlorine, or bacteria, this improves the freshness of the water.
|Filtration System Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Activated Carbon Block Filter||$50 - $500|
|Activated Granular Carbon Filter||$50 - $500|
|Sediment Filter||$85 - $1,000|
|Activated Alumina||$200 - $2,000|
|Ultrafiltration||$2,000 - $9,000|
Activated Carbon Block Filter
This type of filter costs between $50 and $500, depending on the size, brand, and placement in your home. Activated carbon block filters can be installed at the tap or for the entire house fairly easily. They contain a cartridge that you change regularly. The liquid passes through activated carbon, which is positively charged, porous, and removes sediment and some chemicals that can impact the taste. These filters are usually fairly small, do not require tanks, and can be installed without much difficulty.
Activated Granular Carbon Filter
If you want this type of filter for your unit, it ranges between $50 and $500, depending on the size and placement. Activated granular carbon or activated charcoal filters are made of various organic materials, including oats and coconut shells. They filter out sediment and some chemicals that get caught in the carbon. Like activated carbon block filters, these have to be changed regularly. They do not take up a lot of room, so they can be installed anywhere.
Cost of Sediment Filter
For a sediment filter, expect to pay between $85 and $1,000, depending on the style of unit you choose. Sediment filters are designed to catch larger particles, such as rust, clay, or sand, and other particulates that may wash into your water. Although most sediment is removed before water comes into your house, a sediment filter removes additional particles sometimes invisible to the naked eye, leaving your water much cleaner. They come in many forms and can include string filters and centrifuge filters that spin the particles out. These filters need to be changed regularly but do not require large tanks, so they can be installed nearly anywhere.
Activated Alumina Water Filter
These filters are larger and more expensive than most, costing between $200 and $2,000, depending on the size and placement. If you have heavy metals coming out of your faucet that you need filtered out like arsenic, selenium, or even radium, you need an activated alumina filter. Heavy metals aren’t easily broken down by your body. Long term intake may be detrimental to your health, especially your organs. This is a porous material made from aluminum dioxide that pulls metals and minerals from your supply, improving its quality. They are designed mostly for whole-house use.
Of all filter types, this one will be the most expensive, costing between $2,000 and $9,000. Ultrafiltration uses a membrane-style unit similar to reverse osmosis to provide an extremely filtered drinking source. The liquid is pushed through the membrane under pressure, until most contaminants, solids, minerals, and other particulates have been filtered out. It can remove viruses, silt, proteins, smog, and plastics, making it a better, more efficient filter than carbon or sediment-based systems. These are larger filters that are meant to work on your entire home.
Water Purification Systems
If you want a purification system installed, you will pay $800 to $4,000. They are used to treat the quality of your water. They work by removing bacteria, chemicals, contaminants, and toxins. These setups provide a safer and better tasting drinking source. However, they do not catch clay or rust and do not impact the water’s hardness.
|Purification System||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|UV||$800 - $2,000|
|Ionization||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Distiller||$1,200 - $4,000|
|Reverse Osmosis||$1,500 - $1,800|
Cost of UV Disinfection System
These systems are priced between $800 to $2,000. If you have bacteria present, then a good purifying unit is a UV disinfection one. This method uses UV light to kill any harmful organisms as the liquid passes through the system. It is especially effective at eliminating Giardia lamblia cysts or Cryptosporidium oocysts protozoans which contribute to digestive issues. They work on the entire house at once and tend to be a little larger than filters, but they are not as large as reverse osmosis or softening units.
Water Ionization System
Ionization systems are priced between $1,000 and $2,000. Ionizers use electricity to create a low-frequency signal pulsed the liquid thousands of times per second. This electromagnetic pulse ionizes the source and reverses the charge on any minerals. It can produce alkaline water for drinking and acidic water for cleaning purposes, while also producing great-tasting liquid without many contaminants. Alkaline water is slightly more bitter than it would be from the tap, which may change the taste of your drinks, such as coffee or tea.
Water Distiller Prices
If you want a distiller system, they are priced between $1,200 and $4,000. Water distillers remove contaminants by boiling it to vapor and then condensing it down. During the condensing process, the contaminants are separated from the water, so what is left behind is cleaner water without chemicals or bacteria. These are usually countertop setups that can be made to run automatically because it takes roughly four to six hours to distill. It produces about one gallon within this timeframe.
Reverse Osmosis System Cost
Reverse osmosis systems are priced between $1,500 and $1,800. This setups is one of the most popular types of purification units and removes contaminants like harmful metals, bacteria, and some dissolved particulates. But it cannot remove VOCs, chlorine, pesticides, or solvents. During reverse osmosis, the liquid is forced through a membrane under pressure, and clean liquid is stored inside a pressurized tank for drinking later. The contaminated source and what is left behind on the filter are washed away and discarded. Reverse osmosis produces a lot of wastewater. For every gallon you get, 2 to 25 gallons are wasted and flushed from your home.
Water Softening Systems
Softening systems are priced from $200 to $2,000, but prices can go up to $4,000 just for materials when any of these systems have to be installed in their whole house version. While there are many types, there are two more commonly installed alongside filters. Softening units treat hard water. They protect your pipes and appliances from mineral buildup and help get your clothes cleaner. These units do not affect the taste, remove toxins or contaminants, or filter out particulates. They are usually installed alongside filtration units, particularly if the unit is only filtering for sediment or chemicals.
|Water Softening System||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Magnetic||$200 - $400|
|Electronic||$200 - $600|
|Descaler||$200 - $2,000|
|Ion Exchange||$500 - $1,500|
Magnetic Water Treatment Systems
If you want to purchase one of these treatment systems, it priced from $200 to $400. Magnetic softeners are a fast, easy, and fairly inexpensive method of softening hard water. They consist of metal coils wound around your pipes. Electricity is used to help ionize the H2O through the magnetic coils. They are not as effective at treating very hard water as ion exchange systems, but it is a good choice for those with mild hard water problems.
Electronic Water Softener
If you want an electronic softener, expect to pay between $200 and $600. Similar to a descaler, it improves your drinking source by making it softer. You can usually tell that you have a hard water problem by looking at your glasses which will form a film on them after cleaning them. An electronic water softener is a chemical free softener. Like with a descaler, the electronic softener changes the shape of the calcium and magnesium of water flowing through pipes keeping limescale from building up.
Descaler Water Softener
A descaler water softener ranges from $200 to $2,000. Its purpose is to resolve the issues with hard water. This type of water typically has a high level of calcium and magnesium in it which is most apparent in the amount of soap scum left behind when the calcium reacts with the soap. A descaler keeps these minerals from building up by extracting them from the water as it passes through pipes. Electromagnetic pulses in the descaler change the composition of particles over a few months, making water less “hard.”
Ion Exchange Water Treatment System Cost
These systems are priced from $500 to $1,500. Ion exchange is one of the most common methods for treating hard water. It can involve one or two large tanks, where you put salt or potassium in to exchange the ions in the source from hard to soft. When involving two tanks they are known as dual tank systems. The difference with one tank systems is that the supply is not interrupted during the flushing process. These units need a lot of maintenance, and it flushes wastewater out of your home every 2 weeks. But it is the best method at preventing mineral buildup on your pipes, appliances, and clothes.
Water Treatment System Prices by Setup
Treatment systems varies in price ranging from $20 to $600 depending on the setup. If you have serious concerns about the water in your home, then a whole-house system is your best option. These units are great for a better drinking source and is purer for people with sensitive skin. But for people who rent, do not have space for larger units, or want to try filtering or purifying for eating and drinking, there are a variety of other methods and solutions available:
|Treatment System||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Pitcher||$20 - $100|
|Faucet||$50 - $100|
|Single-Stage Countertop||$50 - $120|
|Single-Stage Under Sink||$50 - $200|
|Multi-Stage Countertop||$200 - $400|
|Multi-Stage Under Sink||$200 - $400|
|Gravity Drip||$300 - $600|
Water Filter Pitcher
Depending on what you want it to filter, a filter pitcher is priced between $20 and $100. This is the simplest way to filter the water in your home. You pour liquid into the top, it passes through a filter - usually made of activated charcoal. Some types may have membranes to remove bacteria, which settles in the bottom. You pour from it like any other pitcher, and you can keep it in the fridge.
Faucet Mounted Water Filter
Faucet mounted filters are priced between $50 and $100. If you just want to filter the liquid at your sink and have it work instantly without waiting for a pitcher to fill, this is a good option. It fits over the end of your faucet and filters as the liquid runs through. It is not an option for faucets with a pull-down spray head, and it can slow down your flow as the filter ages. These filters are better at eliminating contaminants, and filter replacements last much longer than pitchers.
Single-Stage Countertop Water Filter
This type of filter is priced from $50 to $120. It is a bigger unit meant for filtering a couple of gallons of H2O at a time. This filtration unit is a stand-alone type that operates without being connected to home plumbing. There are a few types, but most work by filtering the liquid from one compartment to another, usually through a sediment filter or a membrane. If you want more water than fits in a pitcher and do not have the option of attaching to the spray head, this is a good choice.
Single-Stage Under Sink Water Filter
These systems are priced from $50 to $200. This is a small filter, usually carbon block or sediment, installed beneath your sink. The filter is connected to your waterline or refrigerator. It filters like the faucet style, with continuous flow, but it works with any faucet type and does not take up space on your countertop. You need professional installation for this method, however.
Multi-Stage Countertop Water Purification System
These systems are priced from $200 to $400. If you like the idea of reverse osmosis or ultrafiltration systems but do not have the space necessary for a whole-house setup, this can be a good choice for you. As the name implies, these units have multiple steps in removing contaminants from the source. They usually get large particles out in the first stage and then removes things like odor, chlorine, and other chemicals in the latter stages. They work a little more slowly but pass the water through different filters, so you get cleaner, better-tasting H2O.
Multi-Stage Under Sink Water Purification System
Multi-stage under sink systems are priced from $200 to $400. If you want an out-of-the way water purifier that works right at the kitchen sink, consider this option. These units use multiple stages in order to get contaminants out. It combines a few different filters or membranes to ensure the water getting to your faucet is very clean with a fresh taste. Just like with the single state under sink purification unit, you will also need professional installation for this system.
Gravity Drip Water Filter
If you want this type of filter, expect to pay $300 to $600, depending on size. A gravity drip filter is a subset of the countertop system. This is a big cylinder that looks like a coffee urn. It filters 2 or more gallons of liquid at a time, using gravity, so it is a slow filtering process. The setup has a tap at the bottom, so you can access the clean drinking source at any time. This stand-alone unit doesn’t need to be connected to your home’s plumbing to operate.
Whole-House Water Filtration System Cost
A whole-house system can set you back anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 for an ultrafiltration setup. There are many different types of whole-house treatment systems. Some are designed solely to treat things like bacteria, such as a UV light, while others are designed only for hard water like an ion exchange unit. Some devices can be used in conjunction with one another. For example, you can use a UV unit with a softening unit if you have a lot of minerals and some bacteria or waterborne cysts in your drinking source, but not real sediment or contaminants. This is often the case for some rural areas that use dug wells, so layering these two units together gives the solution you need.
The most popular whole-house systems are reverse osmosis. The not only remove contaminants for a better tasting byproduct, it can also decrease water’s hardness which makes it less harsh on your appliances, your dishes, and your skin. A whole-house reverse osmosis is priced between $1,500 and $1,800 for the setup, with installation costing another $500 for a total of $2,000 to $2,300. If you select this option or ion exchange for softening, you need a way to flush the wastewater from your home. The most common method is a sump pump.
Whole-House Water Filter Cost by Brand
Like any appliance, filtration units are made by several different brands and range between $80 and $8,000. Each has their specialty and range of pricing. Some focus on reverse osmosis and water softening, while others focus on sediment removal. Still, others, which are much more costly, provide an all-in-one experience for users. The following are some of the more commonly installed home filtration brands.
|Brand||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Culligan||$80 - $6,000|
|Kinetico||$500 - $5,000|
|Ecowater||$750 - $3,000|
|Aquasana||$800 - $5,000|
|Waterboy||$900 - $5,000|
|Rainsoft||$4,000 - $8,000|
Culligan Whole-House Water Filter
For this reason, their prices range from $80 for a basic filter system to $6,000 for some of their reverse osmosis and water softeners. Culligan makes a very wide range of whole-house filters. They have some very basic carbon filters, reverse osmosis, and water softeners. Their product has a high-capacity flow allowing you to operate several faucets and showerheads at once without reducing pressure in the process. Although their product has many advantages, one major disadvantage is leaking.
Kinetico Whole-House Water Filter
Kinetico does not make the smaller carbon filters. They have a wide range of products, including some high-end filters that are priced between $500 to $5,000. One of the pluses of their product is that the filters can be washed, minimizing the need to replace them as often. Unfortunately, a drawback for this product is that it is a timely and complicated product to install and must be installed by one of their company contractors.
Ecowater makes several different types of filter systems. Ecowater units remove odors, minerals, and dissolved solids. This includes some sediment filters and reverse osmosis systems, ranging from $750 to $3,000, depending on the model. Ecowater prides itself on its use of smart technology that monitors your unit remotely using an app. A disadvantage of this product is that it uses salt, which increases the sodium levels of the source and damages pipes over time.
Aquasana is one of the most popular filter systems, costing between $800 and $5,000. Aquasana is one of the most popular brands of filters. They carry a full range of products, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and water softening. Their products are designed to minimize sediment, bacteria, and harsh chemicals and are great for drinking water and use on your body and in food. Unfortunately, this system’s filter needs to be replaced often, which drives up pricing.
Waterboy Whole-House System
Waterboy systems cost $900 to $5,000. Waterboy makes some unique products that help filter out pollution from your supply. They offer salt-free water softening beneficial to people who cannot tolerate extra salt. This product goes through four stages of filtration and one conditioning phase and doesn’t require maintenance. The Waterboy filtration unit lasts up to 25 years.
Rainsoft Water Filtration System
Rainsoft systems are typically priced from $4,000 to $8,000. Rainsoft makes some of the most luxurious water filtration and purification units on the market. Their products are designed to offer multiple benefits to users, allowing you to solve several issues at once. These benefits include a better tasting drinking source, fewer water stains in the bathroom, and great lather with soaps and shampoos, and longer lasting appliances due to fewer mineral deposits in the water. One drawback of this product is that salt can build up on it, interfering with the softening process.
Water Filtration System Installation Cost
Installation is priced at anywhere from $100 for simple under-the-sink systems to $500 or more for larger, whole-house systems. If your unit is very outdated or does not have a way of flushing out wastewater, expect your total installation price to climb closer to $1,000. Expect to pay roughly $500 in installation fees for whole-house systems. Filtration units can be installed by professionals who deal solely with these systems and by plumbers. It generally takes two to four hours to install these units.
Plumbers offer a range of options or install units that you purchase separately. Some install using an under-the-sink system, while others defer to filtration specialists. If you have a well, the company that services your pump will likely install your filtering device as well. Plumbers will install the new filtration units in line with the current plumbing structure. Also, they will make sure that the filter is accessible because you will need to change it regularly.
Reverse Osmosis System Installation
A reverse osmosis installation will set you back around $500, making the total pricing, including the filter, between $2,000 and $2,300. This process removes nearly 100 percent of inorganic contaminants. Reverse osmosis is a more complex setup than some filters. It involves large holding tanks and wastewater, which must be flushed. Installation pricing can go much higher if you do not have a way to flush the system.
Whole-House Water Filter Installation
A basic sediment or carbon filter can be installed for roughly $100. Larger ultrafiltration systems are priced closer to $500 to install. If you need wastewater flushing, fees could climb to $1,000 for installation. Ultimately, the price of a whole-house filter depends on the unit type. You will need to replace the filter for this system every three to six months, which could range in the hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on your type of filter.
Whole-House Water Filter Sizes
While some basic filters for the entire house are one size only, larger systems are designed based on your needs. For a basic solution, if you use more water, you simply change the filter more frequently. For ion exchange systems and reverse osmosis systems, you need to know your level of usage. UV is based on flow because they are cartridge filters, while reverse osmosis and ion exchange need your average usage at one time. Every system is sized differently, so your plumber or system installer should determine the unit you need based on your peak water flow. Each type of system uses its own method of determining size. This table is based on the size of your pipes during times of maximum usage.
|Pipe Size||Peak Flow|
Water Testing Cost
Depending on what types of tests you run, this is usually priced between $30 and $500. Before installing a filter system, you need to know what is in your source that you want to remove. For example, if your source does not contain any sediment or toxins but has some bacteria, a UV filter is your best choice. If you have many minerals, toxins, and heavy metals, then reverse osmosis or ultrafiltration will be your best choice. You can get a kit from your local testing site to test your water. They will provide a written report and recommendations on how to improve the overall quality of your source.
Well Water Filtration System Cost
The price to install a well filtration unit ranges between $1,500 and $10,000. It fluctuates up or down based on whether your well needs to be filtered for sediment, bacteria, minerals, or other contaminants. Wells come in a variety of forms. Dug wells use groundwater, while deep wells can hit aquifers lined with many different minerals. For this reason, your well may have various needs. Most require some sort of filtering option because the liquid comes straight from the ground rather than running through a water treatment plant first.
Rainwater Filtration System Cost
Rainwater filtration units run between $100 and $250. This system takes rainwater and filters out bacteria, chlorine, and other chemicals. It removes sediment and carbon and uses UV light to disinfect the source. The great thing about collecting rainwater and filtering it is that it reduces your reliance on tap water. This alternative source is not only low cost to install but helps you save on utilities.
Benefits of Water Filtration System
Although most cities aim to have high quality sources, they can’t always remove harmful chemicals, bacteria, or sediment from the source. You can request water-quality information from your supplier to learn more about how to filter out what’s in your supply. Besides contaminants lurking in your supply, your pipes may be another source of hidden dangers that are not related to the main source. Filtration systems, especially whole house ones, can improve your health and protect your appliances. It improves your skin, keeps lime from building up in your pipes, and enhances the overall taste and quality of your water.
Enhancements and Improvement Costs
Water Filter Plumbing
Plumbers charge between $45 and $200 per hour. If your plumbing is old or outdated, your plumber may need to make modifications to install the system. If this is the case, your fees increase. A plumber may also have to change the plumbing in other areas besides the main faucet. For instance, if you have a refrigerator that makes ice or liquid, a plumber will have to filter this pipe which can also tack on extra fees.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Water treatment alternative. An alternative to a filtration system is to use bottled water. The pricing of bottle delivery is around $30 to $60 a month.
- Unit capacity. Your unit usually contains a filter that needs changing periodically. The number of gallons that can be filtered before changing it typically is 50,000 to 150,000 or 8 to 15 gallons per minute (GPM).
- Location. In some cases, the water in your area might require some type of filtration structure. In other areas, it may be recommended, especially if you have a well. Check with your local resources before proceeding.
- Permit. You may need to get a permit for a whole-house filtration system installation. This varies by area, so check with your local authorities for more information.
- Certification. In some areas, Water Filter Performance Certification is necessary to show that the unit is removing contaminants below certain levels. In other areas, this is only voluntary, but looking for the certification can help ensure that you are getting a quality product.
- Cartridges. Filter cartridges need to be changed based on usage, rather than time. Each one has a different schedule for changing, so find your peak water flow and the recommended changing schedule on your filter to get the best timing.
- Reducing contaminants. Many people need filtration because their source is contaminated with pollutants, plastics, and toxins. If this is concerning, start helping reduce these things in your supply by recycling, cleaning up waste, and investing in low-VOC and low-pollution products and technologies to keep water cleaner in the future.
- How much does a whole-house water treatment system cost?
A whole-house water treatment system costs $1,500 to $10,000, depending on the type.
- How much do water systems cost?
Water systems prices start at $50 and can go up to $9,000.
- Does a water filtration system add value to a home?
This depends on the type of system and how bad the water was to begin with. Some can add value, but others may not.
- How much does it cost to install a reverse osmosis system?
The average cost to install a reverse osmosis system is $2,000 to $3,300.
- What is the ideal pH level of tap water?
The ideal pH range is 6.5 to 8.5 for water.
- Is NSF certification required?
In some states, yes, but in others no.
- Where should a whole-house water filter be installed?
Install a whole-house filter as close to the intake of the water into your home as possible.
- Does a whole-house water filter reduce water pressure?
No, when working properly, you should not notice a difference. A drop in pressure can indicate the need to change the filter.
- How long does a whole-house water filter last?
This is entirely dependent on the filter type, how much water you use each day, and where in the house it is installed.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
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