A whole house water filtration system is a big investment. The long-term benefits of the system quickly pay for themselves, but the upfront cost can be out of some people’s budgets.
To know whether a whole home water filtration system is affordable for you, you need to look beyond the actual price of the filter and consider every cost involved in buying, installing, maintaining and operating the system.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about whole home water filtration system cost.
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🏠 Whole House Water Filtration System Cost
The initial cost of a whole house water filtration system ranges from $1,000 – $4,000+, depending on several factors, including how many filters are included in the system, whether the filter has any special features, the convenience of operating the filter and the filter/media capacity, and the popularity of the manufacturer.
|System Type||Average Cost Range|
|Whole House Systems||$1,000 - $4,000+|
|Well Water Systems||$1,000 - $4,000+|
|UV Disinfection Systems||$500 - $1,500+|
|Reverse Osmosis Systems||$4,000 - $10,000+|
Well Water Filtration System Cost
The cost of a well water filtration system is the same as the cost of a whole house water filter: $1,000 – $4,000. Again, the cost of the filter depends on the specialist treatment the system provides, the number of filtration stages, the system convenience and maintenance requirements, and the popularity of the manufacturer selling the product.
UV Light Water Treatment Cost
UV water treatment costs between $500 and $1,500, depending on the effectiveness and durability of the system. Most UV filters are designed to be used in conjunction with another whole house system, and some whole house systems include a built-in UV filtration stage for convenience.
Whole House RO System Cost
Whole home reverse osmosis systems are the most costly of all, ranging from $4,000 – $10,000 or more depending on the setup. These complex systems typically feature multiple filtration stages in addition to the RO membrane.
📰 Factors Affecting Water Treatment System Prices
It’s difficult to give a definite price for water filters because there are so many factors that can affect the overall cost. These factors include:
The more complex a system, the more expensive it is. This is for two reasons: complex systems tend to offer more value to users, and tend to take longer to install.
Whole house filtration systems with several filter stages and added features like water storage tanks have more installation steps than systems with a few cartridges that slot into a single housing unit.
Reverse osmosis filters are the most complex water filtration systems, requiring several filtration stages and a drain line. You can expect to pay the most for a reverse osmosis system.
New, up-and-coming manufacturers price their products more affordably than well-known, popular brands. This doesn’t mean that a newer brand’s products are no good – rather that the brand knows it needs to entice customers somehow, which it would struggle to do if its products were the same price as its more popular competitors.
You can usually get a great deal from a new name in the industry, but I advise against buying a whole house system if the manufacturer only has a couple, or no, reviews to go off. Wait until at least 20 customers have reviewed the product, and you can find several long-form impartial reviews about the product on Google.
Contaminant Removal Capabilities
Not all whole filtration systems have the same contaminant removal capabilities. Different systems are designed to remove different contaminants – while some systems are designed to remove as many contaminants as possible, others focus on specific contaminants.
It’s not always worth paying more money for a whole house filter that can do it all. For instance, reverse osmosis systems are some of the most capable (and expensive) filters, and you might not need this type of system if you’re just dealing with a chlorine or lead issue.
Note: Test your water before you start looking for a whole house water filter. That way, you can make sure a filter removes the contaminants you’re concerned about – and anything else is just a bonus.
Most whole house filtered water systems come in at least two sizes to appeal to different users. The bigger the system, the faster the system can provide filtered drinking water around your home. The extra filtration materials and parts required for larger systems increase the system cost.
Keep in mind that you don’t always need the biggest water filter system available. Most systems have a standard size that’s suitable for 1-3 bathrooms, and unnecessarily spending extra on a system for 4+ bathrooms won’t provide you with any extra benefits.
Ease of Installation
Whole home water filtration systems that are designed for fast, less complex installation are often more expensive than bulky filters that take hours to install.
No whole house water filter is “easy” to install. However, some filters have more straightforward designs that cut down on installation times. For instance, single-tank whole house filters only have two parts to hook up to the water line, while reverse osmosis systems have multiple separate components that need to be plumbed in.
The capacity of a whole house water filter is how many gallons of water can be filtered before the media needs to be replaced. The bigger the filter’s capacity, the less maintenance work is required by you, and the less money you need to spend on filter cartridge/media replacements. For this reason, high-capacity systems are often priced higher due to their convenience.
Make sure to read up on system maintenance before you buy such a system. Decide whether you’d rather pay less for a system that requires three filter changes per year, or you’d rather pay more for a system that has a media that lasts 5-10 years.
Type of Filtration System
There is a range of whole house water filtering systems available today, each operating uniquely from the rest. The type of whole house filter can affect its overall price.
I’ve already covered the types of whole house water filtration systems in this article. A more detailed look at these types uncovers several sub-types:
- Whole house water filters for municipal water include carbon cartridge filters, reverse osmosis systems, single-tank media systems, and UV water purification systems.
- Whole house well water filter systems include oxidation filters, mechanical sediment filters, carbon filters, KDF filters, chemical injector filters, and reverse osmosis filters.
The cost of each type of filtration system can vary depending on the methods of filtration used, the convenience of use, and the effectiveness of the methods.
The type of filter is also linked to the number of filtration stages involved. The more filter stages within a single system, the higher the price. This is because every filter stage targets a unique set of contaminants, allowing for a more thorough contaminant removal process.
⚙️ Whole House Water Filtration Systems Installation Cost
The cost of installing a whole house water filter depends on whether you plan to install the filter system yourself or whether you’re leaving the job to an expert.
Installation Costs by System Type
|System Type||Labor||Average Installation Cost|
|Whole House Systems||2 - 5 hours||$200 - $500+|
|Well Water Systems||2 - 5 hours||$200 - $600+|
|UV Disinfection Systems||2 - 3 hours||$300 - $500+|
|Reverse Osmosis Systems||2 - 5 hours||$200 - $500+|
Whole House Water Filter DIY Installation Cost
How much do water filtration systems cost to install yourself? Usually, you’ll just need to pay for the equipment required for installation, which can cost up to $200 – $500+ on top of the price of the filter system itself.
This equipment could involve connectors, fittings, tubings, and drain lines, depending on what type of whole house filter system you’re installing.
It’s rare for a whole house water filter system to be sold with all the items needed for installation. However, some manufacturers offer an installation package for their filter systems at an extra cost.
This can be convenient, as you know the parts will definitely fit the system, and you don’t need to go out of your way to find them all individually in a hardware store.
I would strongly recommend that you only install the filter yourself if you’re competent at DIY and you choose a whole house filter system with clear installation instructions, guides, and videos (not all products have an easy-to-understand user manual).
This will reduce your risk of mistakes, which could cause expensive damage that costs more to fix than the cost of professional installation.
Whole House Water Filter Professional Installation Cost
The cost of a professional installation for a whole house filter system is $200 to $500+.
Why is the average price so broad?
It depends on the type of system you buy and how long installation will take.
If you’re not a handy person, set aside a couple of hundred dollars for a professional installation. Nobody likes spending more money, but you won’t regret your decision to have a professional install your water filter. You’ll have the peace of mind that your system is properly installed by someone who knows what they’re doing.
It’s a good idea to ensure you are hiring a plumber who will provide high quality service. We recommend verifying that they hold the proper licensing and insurance required for your area.
A good starting point would be to look for an accredited company on the Better Business Bureau. Additionally you can check websites like Angie’s List or Yelp to compare reviews from previous customers.
Finally, make sure you get an upfront pricing estimate for the job to avoid any miscommunication later on.
What’s Involved in Professional Installation?
You might wonder exactly what you’re paying for a professional to do when installing your whole home filter unit.
Some plumbers will charge a set project price for installing a water purification system. Most, however, will charge per hour – so the longer the installation takes, the more the cost will rack up.
Generally, you’re paying for a plumber to:
- Check the product’s parts, the user manual, and the installation instructions and make sure all equipment is supplied for installation
- Purchase the additional items needed for installation (or you could do this yourself, but plumbers often get a discount on parts)
- Assemble and install the filter
- Check the performance of the filter and make sure there are no leaks or other issues
- Set the system to regenerate, prime the filters, or carry out any maintenance tasks required by the manufacturer before use
If you choose to install a filter yourself, you’ll need to carry out all the steps above yourself. It’s easy to understand why professional installation costs what it does when you consider how much time and effort you’ll save from handing the installation responsibilities over to an expert.
🧰 POE Whole House System Maintenance & Operating Costs
No matter what type of water purification system or filtration system you buy, there will always be maintenance involved in owning the system.
The average cost of maintaining and operating a whole house water filter is $80 to $500+ per year.
Read up on all the whole house water filtration system maintenance you can expect to do before making a purchase.
Maintenance and Filter Change Costs by System Type
|System Type||Annual Filter Replacement Cost|
|Cartridge-Based Systems||$100 - $500+|
|Tank-Based Systems||$25 - $100+|
|Well Water Systems||$25 - $100+|
|UV Disinfection Systems||$100 - $300|
|Reverse Osmosis Systems||$100 - $500+|
|Chemical Injector Systems||$50 - $500+|
The type – and cost – of maintenance required depends on the filtration processes used in your filter. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular whole house filter systems and how much maintenance they require:
Cartridge filters usually have two to five separate filtration stages, which involve:
- A sediment pre-filter, with a lifespan of around 6-12 months
- One or two carbon filters (either granular activated carbon or carbon block) with lifespans of 6-12 months
- Special filters, such as fluoride-targeting filters
Tank-based filters consist of one or two tanks containing filtration media including:
- A sediment pre-filter, lasting 6-12 months
- Catalytic carbon media, with a lifespan of 5-10 years
- KDF media, which has a similar lifespan of 5-10 years
Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems
A whole home reverse osmosis system usually has these three filters:
- A sediment pre-filter, with a lifespan of around 6-12 months
- A semi-permeable membrane, with a lifespan of up to 2 years
- A carbon filter, usually with a 6-9 month lifespan
Some RO filters also have a remineralization filter, which adds minerals back into drinking water – although this is a less common option for whole home applications. Remineralization filters last 6-12 months.
Another cost to be aware of with reverse osmosis is water waste. All reverse osmosis systems waste water, and with a whole house system, this cost can add up, fast. That’s why most people choose to install a reverse osmosis filter as a point of use tap water filter, rather than a point of entry whole home filter.
A UV purification system has just one replaceable part:
- A UV light, which has a typical lifespan of 1 year
You’ll also need to clean and/or replace the UV sleeve, which houses the UV light. This will ensure the UV filter can continue to operate properly.
Air Injection/Oxidation Systems
Air injection/oxidation systems have a single media:
- Birm, manganese greensand or a similar media, which lasts 6-12 years
Chemical Injector Systems
Like air injection/oxidation filters, chemical injector systems usually have a:
- Birm, manganese greensand or a similar media, which lasts 6-12 years
These filter systems require chemical top-ups, too, increasing the annual cost of maintenance.
You can see that most filters have several filtration stages. The more filters are involved, the higher the annual cost of maintenance.
However, just because a filter requires less maintenance doesn’t mean you’ll never need to spend money on it. Most filters have a warranty of 5-10 years, which gives you an idea of how long the components are designed to last. You may need to spend money on new connections, tubings and o-rings if they become worn or damaged over their years of use.
💲 Average Cost for Owning a Whole-Home Water Filter System (First Year)
|System Type||Unit Price||Installation Cost||Annual Replacement||First Year Cost|
|Whole House||$1,000 - $4,000||$200 - $500||$80 - $350||$1,200 - $4,850|
|Well Water||$1,000 - $4,000||$200 - $600||$100 - $400||$1,200 - $4,900|
|UV Light||$200 - $1,000||$150 - $500||$100 - $200||$350 - $1,700|
|Reverse Osmosis||$4,000 - $10,000+||$200 - $500+||$100 - $500+||$4,300 - $11,000+|
Are home water filter units worth it?
It depends on your water filtration needs. In most cases, yes, whole home filters are worth the money. Not only do they ensure that your drinking water is free from harmful contaminants, but they ensure that you wash your hands in, shower in, and wash your clothes and dishes in safe, clean water. A whole house filter unit also protects your home’s plumbing from dangerous contaminants.
If you currently spend hundreds of dollars on bottled water, a whole home treatment system will help you save money and reduce your plastic waste, and will certainly be worth it for you.
Does a whole house filtering system increase home value?
The initial cost of a whole house system might be high, but it’s an investment worth making if you plan to move house within the next 5-15 years. Water filters enhance the overall living experience in your home, which is a big selling point for potential buyers. If your filtration system is easy to maintain, that’s an added bonus.
How long does a whole house filter system last?
It depends on the quality of the filter, but most filtration units last up to 20 years or longer. I’m not talking about the filter lifespan here – I’m talking about the lifespan of the actual unit that holds the filter or media. With proper care, cleaning and maintenance, you can use the same system in your home for decades.
What is the best value home filter for water?
The best value filter for you might be different from the best value filter for somebody else. It just depends on what you’re looking for in a whole house filter system. For instance, a purification system like reverse osmosis is unlikely to be the best value for you if you just want to remove a handful of contaminants.
In my opinion, the best value whole house systems are single- or dual-tank media filters. These filters are sold at a similar price to cartridge filters, but the media lasts for up to 10 years, so maintenance is minimal and annual costs are low or nonexistent.
Why are whole house filters so expensive?
The system cost of a whole house filtration system is linked to the whole home benefits you can enjoy. If you’re just looking for a drinking water treatment system, you should look at under-sink or countertop systems instead, which cost a fraction of the price and provide targeted filtration for drinking water.
How do I pick the right filtered drinking water system for me?
To make sure you invest wisely in a water filter for your home, I recommend the following steps:
- Test your water so you know exactly what it contains and what you want to remove.
- Measure your available space and check your water bill to work out your average monthly water use. This will ensure you buy the right sized system for your home.
- Set yourself a budget and a maximum spend. Narrow down your search to systems that are within this budget.
- Find a system that suits your contaminant removal needs and your budget, and is the right capacity for your home.
- Research the filter and read lots of customer reviews before making a purchase.
How can I get the best deal for a filtered water system?
It’s always good to look online for a filtered water system. Looking online gives you more choices than you’d get from looking in your local hardware or big box stores, and you’ll usually find discounts and deals for the best filters, too. Buying online also means that you won’t be pressured or rushed into making a purchase, which can sometimes happen in in-store shopping scenarios.
Alternatively, you can look at several local dealers in your area. Although filter prices tend to be higher from dealers, you’ll get installation and maintenance included, and local experts will be most familiar with your water quality and which filtration solutions are best.