Need to know how to install water softener with tankless water heater? Hard water flowing through your pipes can make water usage in your home really difficult and cost you even more than you imagined.
Hard water makes it hard for detergent to suds, can stain your fixtures and sinks, and can even corrode your pipes, causing them to degrade extremely fast and require replacement. This is why you will find water softeners such a life-saving technology to have in your home. It isn’t just a luxury anymore, it’s more of a necessity for each and every home. It keeps you and your entire family safe from sickness and you can just put a price on that.
More times than not, hard water contains minerals that can make your water smell or taste bad, as well. Correcting these problems is as simple as installing a water softening system in your home, a project you can regularly do yourself in a couple of hours.
DIY Water Softener Installation – Difficulty Level
There are different kinds of water softening systems that you can install in your home, and each has its own level of difficulty.
Depending on your home size, the types of pipes you installed, and the location you plan to have the softener installed in, your difficulty level can differ. It is advised you hire a professional if you lack experience in doing many home improvement projects, nonetheless jobs that involve pipes. It’s something that you really don’t want to mess with because doing the wrong things can cost you several $$$$$. I’ve heard of a woman that flooded her whole house because she didn’t know what she was doing in there. YIKES! What a messy situation!
That being said, many homeowners like me have some DIY experience and are comfortable with cutting through pipes to take on this project with many kinds of filters.
Some smaller filters will need you to install some compression nuts on the pipes, but larger whole house filters may need soldering of the pipes.
On a scale of 1-10, with a 1 being so simple that anyone (including a newbie) can install it, and a 10 being so hard that it requires a professional touch, you should consider:
- Salt-based systems such as GE systems running about a 6 to an 8 simply due to the way that the pipes connect.
- Salt-free systems can fall between 4 to an 8 depending on the type of system you own, whether it uses a filter media or is electrical, and what type of pipes you have
- Magnetic systems are so simple to install, and are around a 2 – nearly anyone can install these with ease
- Reverse osmosis systems vary based on the size you get. An under the sink system is about a 5, but a whole house system may be a 10+ – in fact, most whole house system will need professional installation because they need 300 gallon holding tanks, large pumps, and a delicate balance of membranes
Bear in mind that in some places, installing a whole house water filtration or water softening system will require you to follow building codes and possibly to pull a permit as well.
If a permit is required, remember that your work will be inspected by the town after completion.
Check with your town hall before you begin to find out what types of systems may require a permit.
Where To Install A Water Softening System
The kind of system you install is going to determine where you put it. So, if you are not sure of not sure where to place it then I recommend you hire a professional rather than trying to accomplish the task on your own. It’s better to play safe than to be deeply sorry later especially when it comes to expensive things like a water softener.
To be honest, I’d hire someone o it for me for a couple of twenties than having to bother doing it on my own and risking doing it wrong. Unless of course, you got the skills needed to carry out the task properly, I’d gladly pay someone else to do it.
Whole house systems, for example, needs to be installed as close to the place where the water enters your house as possible.
You’ll want the system to feed into the hot water heater at a minimum, because otherwise the hard water could end up corroding the tank and shortening its lifespan.
Never install your softener downstream from your water heater, as the high temperatures could damage the unit.
If you are installing a salt-based or reverse osmosis system, you will also need to ensure that your system is near a drain, or that it can be flushed into a nearby drain or into a sump pump to be flushed outdoors. Under sink models can usually drain straight into the waste line.
- Salt-Based Systems
- Magnetic Systems
- Reverse Osmosis Systems
If you are installing a salt-based system, and for heath reasons you need to restrict sodium in you drinking water, you may need to place your system in a way that it bypasses either the cold water entirely, or just bypasses your drinking faucets.
Magnetic systems remains the easiest to install, and can be placed nearly anywhere.
I advise that you install them on your main water line as close to where the water flows into your house as possible.
Remember, the further back on the line you go, the more you’ll be protecting your pipes from the corrosive effects of hard water.
Reverse osmosis filters can soften your water while removing things like chlorine, rust, and sediment as well, but these are usually installed just at your faucet to improve the taste of your water, rather than at the point where water enters your home.
It’s quite possible to buy a large enough system to soften the water throughout your home, while improving the quality and taste of the water, but this can get really expensive, and often requires professional installation.
In many homes, you’ll want to install your system in your basement, or in a utility closet close to your water heater.
Even systems that aren’t covering the whole house should typically be installed as far down the line as possible so that your showers, bathroom sinks, washing machine and kitchen sinks are all covered.
Water Softener Installation Costs
So, you are all ready to find out how to install water softener with tankless water heater? Let’s see the installation costs and then I walk you step-by-step on how you can complete your installation.
Like any plumbing job, your largest costs installing a new water softening system are going to be from the water softener itself. Reverse osmosis systems are the most expensive, which is why a lot of people opt for the smallest versions possible and install them only at the faucet.
Remember that the size of your unit is directly correlated to the size of your home, the more water that the system has to filter, the more it will cost.
- Both salt and non-salt media filtering units cost pretty much the same amount. If you use a salt-based system, remember that your total cost will also include the salt
- Magnetic systems are amongst the simplest to install, and are usually installed by homeowners, rather than by a pro. They range in cost for the unit is all depending on size of the system and the size of the pipes you’ll be connecting them to.
- Reverse osmosis systems are among the most expensive.
Costs to DO-IT-YOURSELF
The costs to DIY include the cost of any tools and other material you may need, such as a piece of pipe cutter a soldering torch and fittings. If you already own these tools, then your cost will be less than if you need to buy them.
Costs to Have a Pro Do the Install
If for one reason or another, you’d prefer not to carry out the installation yourself, there are a few companies out there that can do the work for you. Their prices range depending on the size of the unit, how hard it is to reach, and its location.
- According to homewyse.com, non-salt and salt units begin their pricing for installation depends on the time it takes and how hard it is to access the place they will be installing.
- Magnetic systems hardly requires a Pros intervention, simply because it’s such an easy job that most homeowners tackle it themselves.
- Reverse Osmosis system installation running around 2-1/2 hours start to finish. Keep in mind that these figures could be higher if the system is difficult to reach.
Finding a Pro to Do the Install
If you decide to employ the services of a Pro to perform the installation for you, you can typically find one a couple of different ways.
In lots of cases, the company you buy the unit from will be able to help with installation, preferring to give you a package deal on buying and installation.
In fact, some reverse osmosis manufacturer will install your unit for free when you buy directly from them. Otherwise, you can typically locate someone to perform the installation by checking out
1800contractor.com to find a certified technician in your area.
How to Install a Water Softener with Tankless Water Heater: A Step-by-Step Guide
Remember, that every water softener system you buy may come with its own set of instruction. Always refer to the included instructions when installing your water softener.
Installing a Salt-Based Water Softening System
These particular instructions are for how to install a whole-house softening unit.
So, before you start, check in with your local town hall to make sure what you’re about to do is conforming to building codes, some codes will need a bypass or shut off valve to be installed with the unit.
A lot of units will also come with a bypass valve already installed; refer to your manual in this case.
Tools & Materials Required
- Pipe wrench
- Flexible tubing
- 2 union fittings
- PVC solvent or flux
- Teflon tape
- Tee valves
- Gate valves
- Tape measure
- Pipe cutters
- 2 compression fittings
- Tubing or copper pipe
- Torch and solder
- Shut off the water to your house at the main line. Open your pipes up the lowest valve in the house to drain them of water.
- Now, Shut off your hot water heater and turn off the power leading to it.
- Find the area along the primary line where you need to install the water softener. Bear in mind that this needs to be before the line feeds into the hot water heater.
- Using a pipe cutter, cut into the main line. Tighten the cutter onto the pipe, and then rotate it around until the pipe is cut through. Trap any water that comes out of the pipe in a drum or bucket.
- Install an elbow fitting in the line. This will let you to feed the filter and have a bypass valve that will let you feed water around the filter if necessary.
- Taking the measurements from the unit, measure the pipes that will lead to the bypass valve. Cut the pipes to fit, and solder on any nipples and fittings before you connect the pipe to the bypass valve.
- Using compression fittings, attach the pipes to the unit, which should be supplied with the unit.
- Clamp the hose to the unit, and then feed it to where it will drain. Options include a utility sink, floor drain, or sump pump. The end of the hose will have to be at least two inches above the drain hole to prevent back siphoning of the water. Make sure the hose is securely clamped.
- Connect the overflow tube to the brine tank. Check out the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and height.
- Turn the valve to the bypass position and flush water through it to remove any sediment or debris.
- Plug in the unit and set the valve to the backwash position. Open the valve up very slowly to let water in while releasing any air in the pipes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up the flushing schedule, and for adding salt to the tanks.
Note: If you have a well, you should know how to install a salt-based system to help filter the water, because well water is more likely to contain hard water minerals than water coming from a treatemnet facility.
You shouldn’t encounter any issues installing the system with a well, unless you have problems with pressure or supply. In this case, consult a plumber or well company to address this issue first, then install the water softening system.
Installing a Salt-Free System
There are a couple of various types of non-salt systems on the market.
The installation describes the filter system, which makes use of a non-salt media to filter the water. Plus the package comes with a guide on how to install the water softener.
Some often request for how to install water softener with tankless water heater alongside their order.
Do not hesitate to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your non-salt water softening system to ensure the best results.
Tools & Materials Required
- Pipe cutters
- Tubing or copper pipe
- Teflon tape
- Pipe wrench
- Compression fittings
- Set up the components of the system in the area you desire them installed.
- Shut off the major water to your home, and drain the water out of the pipes by opening up the lowest spout in the house and allowing the water to gush out.
- Before the pipe will reach the “pre-filter” housing, make a cut into the pipe on the cold water supply. Tighten the pipe cutter onto the pipe and rotate it around the pipe to make the cut.
- Attach a shut-off valve to the pipe, either by soldering it to a copper, or by gluing it to PVC.
- Using compression fittings, Install the carbon pre-filter after the shut-off valve.
- Install a second shut-off valve after the pre-filter, then extend pipe to the distribution head of the filter system. Attach it with a compression fitting.
- Connect the down flow outlet of the system back to the cold water supply pipe so that the water will flow through the system and back through the house.
- Close both shut off valves and turn on the main water valve for the house.
- Slowly open the shut off valves one at a time and check for leaks. If none are found, open the valves all the way to jumpstart the system.
Here is a video of a larger, whole house salt-free system (the Aquasana whole house system) being installed:
Installing a Magnetic System
This is the easiest on our guide on how to install water softener with tankless water heater syetms.
A lot of magnetic systems are fairly simple to install and can be done by most homeowners.
Tools & Materials Required
- Adjustable wrench
- Find the area where you want to install the magnetic system. Because these aren’t very large, and they fit over your pipe, you can put them almost anywhere, including in small spaces where a bigger filter wouldn’t go.
- Follow the instructions to Open up the magnet box. It should hinge on one side, allowing it to clamp down over the pipe.
- Fit the box around the pipe, oriented according to direction so that the water flows through the box in the correct direction.
- Close the box around the pipe and secure it with the nuts or screws provided.
Installing a Reverse Osmosis System
Most whole house systems should be sized directly to the house. This installation deals with smaller, under the sink units that can provide you with purified water through its own tap.
NOTE: If its a faucet water filter that you are trying to install, it will be much easier.
Tools & Materials Required
- Measuring tape
- Adjustable Pipe wrench
- utility knife
- Shut off the water below the sink and turn on the taps above to flush out the water out of the lines.
- Find the recommended height to easily install the filter assembly, and measure your cabinet walls. Mark the area where the assembly will go, and screw it to the wall.
- Unscrew your cold water feed from the valve and install the saddle valve, included with the filter. Screw the cold feed into the top of the saddle valve.
- Now, attach one end of the water filter supply to the saddle valve. With the utility knife at hand, Cut the tubing to length and attach the other end to the filter.
- Attach the supply and waste lines to the faucet that comes with the system. Shorten the lines where needed to help avoid kinks once they are installed and in use.
- Attach the faucet to the sink and install the drain line adapter. Cut a small hole into your waste line and attach the valve and line so that it runs from the fitting on the valve to the faucet.
- Put your storage tank into place and connect the supply lines.
- Fill the system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Slowly turn on the faucet with the cabinet doors open to check for leaks
Enjoy Your New System
Hard water doesn’t necessarily cause harm to your health, but might damage your pipes, staining your sink and even making your water have a distinctive odor or taste.
Learning how to install water softener with tankless water heater is an excellent way to solve these problems, providing you with fresh clear water anytime you want it.
Remember to always follow the specific instructions for the water softening system you bought, and if you run into problems, try consulting a few DIY forums such as the DIY Forums or DIY Chatroom.
We hope you found this how to install water softener with tankless water heater article helpful.