How Much Does a Home Water Filtration System Cost?
For clean, tasty water directly from the tap, a home water filtration system is a must. The average home water filtration system cost is $2,078, but it could range from $1,000 to $4,000.
- Typical Range: $1,000 to $4,000
- National Average: $2,078
Whether a home has municipal water or well water, the water composition might not be as clean as the homeowner thinks. Water from both sources can be contaminated with sediments, minerals, and bacteria, some more harmful than others. A home water filtration system is an ideal solution for homeowners who want to treat their water supply before it is consumed. But how much does a water filtration system cost, exactly? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, a home water filtration system costs between $1,000 to $4,000, with a national average of $2,078.
Homeowners who decide to install a home water filtration system will have a choice among several different types, sizes, and brands of system, and each comes with its own pros, cons, and costs. Factors like labor, geographic location, filtration rating, and the location of the water filtration system also affect the total project cost. Installing a home water filtration system has many benefits, with improved water taste and smell often being the most influential in deciding whether to install a filtration unit.
Factors in Calculating Home Water Filtration System Cost
There are hundreds of variables at play when choosing a home water filter. Each one has a different effect on how much it will cost for a water filtration system. From system type to size to brand, here are several of the main factors to consider when determining the cost of a home water filtration system.
The most significant factor for home water filtration system cost is the type of system the homeowner chooses. Filtration unit costs will range from $50 to $9,000, depending on the type the homeowner chooses. On the less expensive side, carbon filters cost between $50 and $500, and ultraviolet light units cost between $200 and $1,000. On the more expensive side, the average cost of a whole-house water filtration system like well-water filters and reverse osmosis units can range from $250 to $4,000 and up. Other types of water filtration systems, like ionization and chemical injectors, fall in the middle of the range.
Generally speaking, the more complex a water filtration system is, the more it will cost. The increased cost is due to how much more difficult a complex unit is to build, install, and maintain. Complex water filtration systems have more working parts and intricacies. The complexity of the system and the costs associated with it are important to keep in mind for initial installation and future maintenance tasks, as simple systems also cost less to maintain than more complex ones, saving money over the long run.
Water filtration systems are often categorized as either whole-house or individual units. Individual, also called point-of-use, units can be installed under-sink, on a countertop, on a faucet, or in a pitcher. A whole-house system will generally cost at least $1,000, while an individual unit could be as little as $150. The best whole-house water filters treat water as soon as it enters a home and are usually larger in size. They can cost from $1,000 to $4,200 or even more. Point-of-use units treat water at a single source, like a sink or faucet, and cost from $150 to $1,200.
As with cars and appliances, the cost of a home filtration system depends on the product’s brand. Certain brands are more high-end, offering superior quality and more features, whereas others are more entry-level, compromising a bit on quality to allow a more affordable price. The cost of an entry-level home water filtration system runs between $750 and $3,000, while a high-end unit costs $4,000 to $8,000. Trusted household brands typically offer better customer service and more inclusive warranties, hence the higher price point. Here are some common brands and their average price ranges for the system only:
- Culligan Water: $80 to $6,000
- Kinetico Water Systems: $500 to $5,000
- Ecowater Systems: $750 to $3000
- Aquasana: $800 to $5,000
- Water Boy Systems: $900 to $5,000
- RainSoft: $4,000 to $8,000
Number of Filters
Depending on the composition of the home’s water, more than one filtration system might be needed to achieve the desired purification. For example, if the main water source is highly contaminated or the pipes and systems in a home are older, two or three filtration systems may be needed for the best results. Multistage filtration units are more expensive than single-stage, as more parts are required for the process.
A water filtration unit needs to be sized based on the home’s water consumption. Size options are based on a filtration rating or flow rate measured in gallons per minute. Homeowners can work with a water treatment professional to determine the filtration rating their system requires based on peak water flow. The higher the filtration rating needed, the higher the cost of the complete water filtration system.
Whole-house water filtration systems are typically installed near the main water shutoff inside a home’s basement. The level of difficulty in accessing this location will affect the total cost for whole-house water filtration systems. For example, an installer might charge extra labor costs or need to work more hours when the main water line is only accessible from a tight location or beneath a crawl space. If the installation location is easily accessible, the cost for installation will generally be lower.
The labor costs associated with water filtration system installation will likely add $300 to $500 on top of material prices. Labor pricing is usually lumped into the overall water filtration system cost and not separated out, so it might not be clear to homeowners the exact amount they are spending on labor. A water filtration system can usually be installed in just 1 day. Installing a whole-house system will take much longer than installing an individual filtration unit.
Homeowners may be required to get a permit when installing a whole-house water filtration unit. They can check with their local building department to determine whether a permit is needed. If so, homeowners can expect to pay between $100 and $600 for the permitting process. Installing a whole-house system requires connecting to a home’s main water line, which typically requires an inspection by a building official to make sure everything is up to code. Homeowners who choose to move forward with a project without a permit when one is needed could face future issues like difficulty selling the home or being forced to remove the water filtration system entirely.
Geographic location can affect the cost of a water treatment system for home use in two ways. First, the price of materials and labor fluctuates from place to place. Materials and labor tend to cost more in dense urban locations with more demand and a higher cost of living than in rural locations where the cost of living tends to be lower. Secondly, water composition will vary depending on where the home is located, affecting the filtration system cost. Some areas might require specific types of filtration due to the local water contaminants, especially if the water is from a well and isn’t initially treated at a water treatment plant.
Additional Costs and Considerations
In addition to the above factors that affect home filtration system cost, the following charges might also apply. Homeowners will want to consider how water testing, additional plumbing, and maintenance costs will impact their budget when it comes to their water filter installation project.
Before choosing which type of water filtration system to use, it is often recommended for homeowners to have the water supply tested. The price of water testing ranges from $30 to $500. To keep costs on the lower end, homeowners can purchase a water testing kit from a local home improvement store or through their local municipality. Alternatively, they can hire a professional to complete the test to ensure the results are accurate and comprehensive.
Additional plumbing may be required to install a home water filtration system properly. This factor can come into play if the existing plumbing line does not have a proper location to attach the filter’s piping or if the current plumbing configuration needs to be altered. A plumber will generally charge between $45 and $200 per hour for this additional plumbing work, along with the cost of materials.
After installation is complete, homeowners can expect to pay annual maintenance costs to keep their filtration system in good working order. Water filtration system maintenance costs will range from $50 to $300 per year. These costs include swapping out filters and the replacement of worn-out parts. Maintenance costs for multistage or whole-house filtration systems will be more expensive than for single-stage or individual units.
Types of Home Water Filtration Systems
The cost of a whole-house water filtration system depends almost exclusively on the type of system used. In some cases, a house might require more than one type of system to meet the filtration needs.
One of the most popular types of systems, reverse osmosis home water filtration systems cost between $250 and $4,000. Smaller reverse osmosis systems placed under a sink or on a faucet may cost as little as $250 to $1,300. Whole-house reverse osmosis systems are more expensive at $1,000 to $4,000. This type of filter sends water through a membrane under pressure to remove harmful chemicals and bacteria. The liquid is then stored inside a pressurized tank for future consumption. Reverse osmosis systems cannot remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, pesticides, or solvents from water; therefore, additional filtration units may be necessary. It is important to note that this process produces a fair amount of wastewater as the removed chemicals are washed away and discarded.
For houses with wells, a well-water filter costs anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. Well-water filtration systems are built to address the specific mineral composition in the water, so the price will fluctuate based on that. The variation in contaminants depends on the physical location of the well and its surface depth—deep wells are typically exposed to a wider variety of sediment, bacteria, and minerals than shallow ones. Some of the best well-water filtration systems are multistage, meaning more than one type of filter is used to remove impurities from the water.
A carbon filter house water filtration system cost ranges from $50 to $500. Carbon filters remove chlorine from water, improving taste and smell. Water travels through activated carbon, which is positively charged, and sediments and chemicals that negatively impact taste are removed. Carbon filters come in various forms, such as carbon gravel which is less expensive than carbon blocks. Carbon gravel is made from everyday organic materials, like oats and coconut shells. Carbon blocks take the form of a cartridge and are regularly swapped out. Both forms can be installed on a water tap or a whole-house system and are relatively easy to install and maintain.
Ionization home water filtration systems cost between $1,000 and $2,000. These systems use low-frequency electromagnetic pulses to reverse the charge of minerals in drinking water. The water is pulsed thousands of times per second to ionize the source of contaminants. Ionization filters can produce two different types of water: alkaline and acidic. Alkaline water is a superior drinking water that tastes slightly different than tap water. Keep in mind, using alkaline water for coffee or tea might alter the taste. Acidic water is best used for cleaning purposes.
Another type of home water filtration system that uses electricity is an ultraviolet system, which ranges in cost from $500 to $1,500. UV light water treatment systems use ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria as water runs through the unit. These are usually whole-house systems that treat water as it enters the home. Ultraviolet systems cannot be used on their own for water filtration, as they only neutralize living organisms like bacteria that cause digestive issues. Instead, a UV treatment system should be used alongside another type of water filter that treats sediments and minerals. Ultraviolet filtration units tend to be larger than most filters, but they are still smaller than reverse osmosis or water softening systems.
A chemical injector water treatment system costs anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for the unit alone. Labor installation costs will likely add another $300 to $500. Chemical injector systems inject small quantities of chemicals into well water or rainwater to purify it. These chemicals are usually hydrogen peroxide or chlorine.
The cost of a water distiller filtration system ranges from $50 to $4,000 for the unit, plus an additional $300 to $500 for the installation labor. A water distiller boils the water entering a home. The water vapor created is then collected, cooled, and used as clean drinking water—this process of boiling and condensing the water leaves behind all of the pollutants and contaminants. Water distillers are usually smaller countertop units. It takes about 4 to 6 hours to produce a gallon of distilled water, so most units run automatically to keep up with demand.
Water softening systems cost anywhere from $500 to $6,000, with an average water softener system cost of $1,500. Water softeners are used to treat hard water. Hard water can cause problems due to a high mineral content, such as buildup on pipes that damages appliances over time. Water softeners can be magnetic, electronic, descaler, or ion exchange—each type works to remove and collect the excessive minerals in hard water. Some of the signs a home needs a water softener include water stains, scale buildup, faded laundry, increased utility bills, and more. A water softener is usually installed alongside another type of filtration unit.
Do I Need a Home Water Filtration System?
While a home water filtration system can benefit any homeowner, there are a few telltale signs that water treatment is more of a need than a want. Homeowners should consider these signs they need to filter their water as detailed below.
Bad-Tasting or Smelly Water
Having water that tastes or smells bad is often the main reason homeowners choose to install a filtration system. Poor-tasting water can be difficult to consume and makes beverages like coffee and tea taste strange. A carbon filter installed on a sink faucet or a whole-house filtration system will remove the contaminants, such as chlorine and minerals, that cause this bad taste and smell.
Home Uses Well Water
Well water is not necessarily a bad thing—it just isn’t treated the same way municipal water is. Water from a private well usually contains heavy metals and other contaminants. It can even be exposed to pesticides and carcinogens, like arsenic and nitrate. A more complex water filtration system is often needed to remove all of these toxins from well water. Well-water-specific filters and reverse osmosis systems are good choices for homes that rely on well water for their supply.
Presence of Contaminants
Many dangers lurking in a home’s water supply can compromise the safety of drinking it. Long-term exposure to such contaminants as arsenic, hydrogen sulfide, iron, lead, and other bacteria and sediments can affect health and safety. Homeowners can perform a water test to determine which contaminants are in their water and choose a custom water filtration system to filter them out.
Presence of Soap Scum
Sometimes homeowners will notice that the surfaces in their home are constantly covered in soap scum. Soap scum that builds up on sinks, tubs, and showers can signify hard water. Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium that prevent household cleaners from being effective and make it difficult to rinse them away. A soap scum buildup can make bathrooms and kitchens look dirty and unpresentable, even after a deep-cleaning session. A whole-house filtration system removes calcium and magnesium from hard water to prevent the build-up of soap scum, which can help make cleaning easier.
Frequent Plumbing Problems
Homeowners who notice that their drains are constantly clogging, or their pipes frequently need to be replaced, may have an issue with poor water quality. The minerals inside contaminated water can build up inside pipes over time, leading to corroding pipes, clogged drains, and even burst pipes. A whole-house water filtration system that treats water before it enters a home can prevent pipes from sustaining this type of damage.
Dry Skin and Hair
The minerals in hard water can have a negative effect on skin and hair. Homeowners and their families may notice a change in their hair’s shine or skin’s glow when they use the water at a house that has hard water versus one that does not. Homeowners may consider installing one of the best water softener systems to reduce the high mineral content in the water that might be causing dry skin and hair.
If a homeowner notices that new clothes are quickly losing their color and quality after a few washes, the composition of the home’s water supply could be to blame. Water containing high levels of iron can bring a rusty hue to light-colored clothing. Additionally, hard water can cause clothing to become dull and gray. To fix this problem, homeowners can install a whole-house water filtration system that targets iron and other hard water minerals.
Benefits of a Home Water Filtration System
Homeowners who decide to install a home water filtration system will notice some immediate benefits, like improved water taste and softer skin and hair. Other benefits will take longer for homeowners to realize, such as enhanced energy efficiency and longer-lasting appliances. Here are the main benefits of installing a home water filtration system.
Safer and More Palatable Drinking Water
Consuming filtered water is a much better option for the health and well-being of homeowners and their families. After installing a home water filtration system, there is no longer a risk of ingesting harmful contaminants like arsenic, lead, or other bacteria. In addition, filtered water almost always tastes better, and so will the foods and drinks made with it.
Improved Energy Efficiency
Using filtered water throughout the house can improve energy efficiency. Filtered water puts less strain on the appliances and systems in the home. As a result, these systems can operate more efficiently, reducing overall energy consumption. Homeowners may notice a decrease in their electricity or gas bills as a result.
Extended Lifespan of Appliances
The chemicals in contaminated water can put an undue strain on appliances. For example, when hard water runs through the plumbing in a dishwasher or washing machine, it can wear away at the pipes or cause mineral buildup that affects performance. Running filtered water through appliances assures this doesn’t happen, extending the lifespan of water-using appliances. This, in turn, can save homeowners money in the long term, as they won’t need to replace their appliances as frequently.
The high levels of magnesium and calcium in hard water can create a buildup of soap scum on surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens. Once water has been filtered and levels of magnesium and calcium reduced, soap will no longer stick to these surfaces, and cleaning will be much easier. Plus, the home will look cleaner as well, which is an additional benefit.
Softer Skin and Hair
Who doesn’t want softer skin and hair? The minerals in hard water that can cause dry skin and hair are no longer present in filtered water. Switching from hard water to filtered water will likely add moisture back to the homeowner’s skin and hair and remove any mineral buildup.
Home Water Filtration System Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Since the size of water filtration units varies significantly, there are some cases where DIY installation is doable and others where it might not be the best option. For example, installing small point-of-use water filters is an easy DIY task. These filters can be simply attached to a faucet or water pitcher. Installing under-sink or whole-house water filtration systems, however, is usually a task best left to the professionals.
First and foremost, a professional plumber or water filtration specialist will help the homeowner choose the right type of system for their home. They will do so by testing the water and analyzing the results in conjunction with their years of experience in the local area to suggest the optimal system for treating the home’s water.
The next step is installation. Homeowners can either separately hire a plumber and an electrician to install their filtration unit, or a water contractor who can perform all of the tasks required. Either way, hiring a professional to put in the water filtration system ensures a quality installation. Water filtration systems that are installed incorrectly can cause water leaks that lead to water damage. Incorrectly installed systems may also not actually treat the water as intended, and may instead lead to an increase in utility bills. An added bonus of working with a water filter pro is that there is always someone to call if an issue arises with the system in the future.
How to Save Money on Home Water Filtration System Cost
The price tag of a new home water filtration system can be a bit steep, especially if installing a whole-house system. Consider these ways to save money on installation and keep costs under control.
- Work with a professional to determine the correct size and type of filtration system for the home’s water supply and consumption needs.
- Choose an energy-efficient filtration unit that will have minimal impact on the home’s energy bills.
- Determine whether any rebates or incentives are available in the area to install a water filtration unit.
- Get a minimum of three quotes from reputable installation contractors to compare pricing and services.
Questions to Ask About Home Water Filtration Systems
There are certain questions to ask when purchasing home water treatment equipment aimed toward the supplier of the equipment and the installer. Be sure to get answers to all the questions to ask a water treatment professional below as applicable to your project.
- Is your company licensed and insured to complete this work?
- Can you provide references from similar projects?
- Do you suggest completing a water test to evaluate the water composition?
- What are the results of the water testing analysis? Is more testing needed?
- What water filtration system do you recommend based on the water testing results?
- Is the water filtration unit you recommend rated by NSF (an independent certification organization)?
- Do you recommend a whole-house or point-of-use filtration unit?
- Will the suggested unit meet our daily water consumption needs?
- Is any additional plumbing work required for installation?
- What is the cost of installation and expected maintenance costs?
- How long is the unit expected to last?
- What is the warranty period on the filtration unit?
- Will the unit cause any secondary effects on water quality?
Many variables must be considered when buying or installing a water filtration system. Below are commonly asked questions that will help inform homeowners’ decisions.
Q. How do I pick a water purification system?
To pick a water purification system, start by working with a professional to analyze the contaminants in the water. Municipal water often needs sediments, chlorine, minerals, and chemicals removed. Well water often needs sediments, hard minerals, and iron removed. Next, choose a type of water purification system based on the condition of the water. Many kinds of whole-house water filtration systems are available, including reverse osmosis, ionization, ultraviolet light, and more.
Q. Can I install a water filtration system myself?
Homeowners with DIY plumbing experience may be able to install a water filtration system themselves. However, to install a whole-house filtration system, they will need to shut off the main water supply and make a connection at this pipeline, which is often a task best suited for a professional plumber to prevent additional damage, which can be costly to repair.
Q. How much does it cost to maintain a whole-house water filter?
To maintain a whole-house water filter, it costs anywhere from $50 to $300 per year. This maintenance cost includes replacing filters and routine inspections to replace worn-out parts. The exact price depends on the complexity of the specific filtration system and whether a professional or the homeowner replaces the filters and parts.
Q. How long does a whole-house water filter last?
A whole-house water filter will last up to 12 months and is generally meant to be replaced annually. The exact replacement timeline depends on the type of system used and the filtered water condition. If the homeowner notices a difference in their water’s taste or smell, it might be time to replace the filter.
Q. What are the disadvantages of a whole-home water filter?
Disadvantages of a whole-home water filter include:
- Initial installation cost can be expensive—much more than individual filtration systems like under-sink and countertop units.
- A whole-house system purifies a home’s entire water supply, even water that isn’t consumed and used for cleaning or bathing.
- Most whole-house filtrations systems remove fluoride from water, which is considered a beneficial chemical to protect teeth.
Q. Which type of home water filtration system is best?
A multistage filter is considered one of the best types of home water filtration systems. For example, a whole-house three-stage system may filter water through a sediment filter, kinetic degradation filter, and an activated carbon block to maximize the removal of impurities from water. Multistage water filtration systems can combine many types of filters into one unit to increase effectiveness.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr