How Long Does It Take to Install a Water Softener?

Deciding whether or not to install a water softener yourself? You’ll probably want to know how long it takes to install the unit.

We’ve shared the answer to this question, and discussed the factors affecting the time it takes to install a water softener, below.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • It takes 2-4 hours on average to install a water softener.
  • Factors affecting the water softener installation process include the type of water softener you buy, whether you install the softener yourself or get a professional to do it, the complexity of the installation instructions, and your current plumbing setup.

🧰 How Long Does It Take To Install A Water Softener?

Most water softeners can be installed within 2 to 4 hours.

The installation process involves gathering your tools and parts, choosing an install location, cutting into your water line, and installing the various softener components (including the brine and resin tanks and the drain line).

A water softener should be installed near an electrical outlet and a drain, upstream of your water heater, so all the water in your home (hot and cold water) is softened.

The speed of water softener installation depends on your own competency and plumbing knowledge (if you plan to install the system yourself), as well as factors relating to the softener design and your current plumbing configuration.

Installing and programming a water softener

📊 Factors Affecting How Long It Takes To Install A Water Softener

Type Of Water Softener

First, the type of water softener you choose will affect water softener installation time.

Traditional salt-based water softener units come with two separate tanks (a resin and brine tank) and need to be connected to a drain, which makes DIY installation slightly more challenging and time-consuming. You’ll also need to do extra tasks post-installation, like adding water softener salt to the brine tank.

On the other end, magnetic or electronic water descalers are the easiest and fastest softener types to install. They don’t need to be plumbed into your main water pipe or connected to a drain, so they can usually be installed within 15-30 minutes.

Salt-free water softeners are about halfway between the two systems. They only use one tank, but they still need to be connected to a drain and you still have to cut into your main water supply line, so the water softener’s installation time takes 2-3 hours on average.

Some water softeners don’t come with everything you need for the installation, so you might have to make a few unplanned trips to your local hardware store – adding to the total water softener installation time.

Haven’t bought a system yet? Check out the top rated water softener systems by

DIY Vs Professional Install

Whether you choose to install a water softener yourself or hire a plumber will also determine the time it takes to complete the installation.

👨‍🔧 A professional technician is well versed in installing water softeners, so they’re likely to get the job done within 1-2 hours, compared to your 3-4 hours.

If you’re a handy person and you can follow instructions, you should be able to install a water softener within the 4 hour mark. But if you’re not a confident DIY-er, you might take up to 6 hours to install the softener.

Pro versus diy water softener installation

Installation Instructions Complexity

The complexity of the installation instructions can have a big impact on how long it takes to get a water softener installed.

A clear, well-written user manual that displays the install instructions in easy-read points should be easy to follow, reducing installation time to just a few hours.

But if the manual is poorly translated or doesn’t make sense, or is very wordy and complex, you might spend more time during the installation while you try to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. You might also need to call a customer service rep, depending on how stuck you get, which will add even more time while you (most likely) wait on hold.

You can usually check manuals for water softeners before you buy them. Make sure the instructions are easy to follow and contain plenty of images and diagrams.

📌 If you’re a visual learner, look for manufacturers that offer video installation guides for their customers. Following a video that shows you what to do could cut your installation time in half. Also check out our plumbing water softener diagram.

Your Current Plumbing Configuration

Finally, your plumbing system could affect the complexity of installing a new system in your home, and how long installation takes.

For instance, some homes have a water softener loop somewhere upstream of the hot water heater. This section of plumbing is near the main water pipe’s entry point into your home and is designed to make it easy to install a water softener, without the need to cut through a metal pipe.

If you have a water softener loop, you’ll find it quicker and easier to install a soft water system.

Fleck 5600 sxt installed in basement

📑 Final Thoughts: How Long Does It Take To Install A Water Softener?

Installing a water softener will take longer if you have a more complex plumbing setup or poor installation instructions.

If you want to speed up the installation process, choose a water softener that’s designed for an easy install – or save yourself the time and hassle and pay for a plumber to install the system for you.

Regardless, installing your own water softener should only take a few hours, as long as you don’t encounter any unforeseen setbacks or problems.

❔ How Long Does It Take To Install A Water Softener? FAQ

How long does it take to get a water softener professionally installed?

It takes a professional technician or licensed plumber about 2 hours on average to install a water softener system – as long as you have enough space in the install location, you don’t need to exchange an old water softener with a new softener, and no unforeseen setbacks are encountered.

How long does it take to get soft water after installing a water softener?

You can get softened water instantly after installing a water softening system in your home. Just program the system to make sure it’s working properly, then switch your water supply on to allow water to flow back through the water pipes.

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