By Gene and Katie Hamilton

If hard water is a fact of life where you live, consider installing a water softening system that will remove dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium that can't be removed by ordinary filters. With a water-softening system, you will use less laundry detergent and your clothes will not come out stiff and scratchy and full of scaly deposits. You'll also create less soap residue, which will come in handy when cleaning showers, tubs and sinks. Soft water will also improve water heater efficiency and leave no water spots on glassware in the dishwasher.

A water softener company will charge $907 to install a good quality water softener system for a small house with one and a half bathrooms. If you have plumbing experience and tools, you can buy the unit and the installation kit for $475, the water softener installation cost, and save 47 percent. Carefully read the directions before deciding whether to install it yourself so that you understand everything that's involved. Enter your ZIP Code to adjust the cost to where you live.

The unit should be located within five feet of the main water supply before the water heater, and within 10 feet of proper drainage and a 120v/60hz electrical outlet.

For more information about the effects of hard water on the home go to this new website

The average price to install a water softener noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.

Cost updated 2015

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