How to Install a Water Softener – Step-by-Step

Hard water problems? The solution lies in having a water softener. Hard water is not necessarily a health issue since the natural minerals do not pose a health challenge but rather a cost-based issue that has a financial impact on the users. Hard water is water that contains minerals like magnesium, calcium and other positively charged ions.

The result of hard water is stained sinks, faucet build-up in pipes, dishes with spots, soap and shampoo not lathering well and other issues. The only times that you can consider hard water as a health issue is when an individual develops rashes and skin problems due to the changed pH; hence soap clogs the skin pores.

A water softener solves this problem by removing the minerals. The softener makes the water to be much easier to use. In any case, your home does not have a water softener system, or you are currently experiencing problems with the current one that you have, it is valuable that you gain the knowledge of how to install one.

The installation has a lot of technical aspects, but worry not; this article will guide you through a step by step installation of the various water softener systems that are available.

Types of Water Softeners

There are four general types of water softener systems that are available in the market. These include salt-based systems, magnetic systems, salt-free systems, and lastly reverse osmosis systems. The softener systems come in different sizes and depending on your need, may be able to identify one that fits.

Installing a Salt-Based Water Softener Systems

They are the most common softeners in the market. These systems work by keeping a constant store of soft water in its store. Its only maintenance procedure is refilling of the salt once the timers indicate that they are low.

How To Install a Salt Based Water Softener
Yes, You are going to handle these things. Don’t panic it’s easy!

Tools and materials required

  •  Measuring tape
  • Tee valves
  • 2 Union fittings
  • Teflon tape
  • Gate valves
  • Torch and solder
  • 2 Compression fittings
  • Pipe cutters
  • PVC solvent
  • Flexible tubing
  • Simple tubing
  • Flux material

Steps Required

1. Shut off the water heater at the mainline – Open the lowest valve in the house and drain the pipes.

2. Shut off the water heater which runs electricity and the water heater main power source to avoid electric shock.

3. Locate the main line where the water softener installation is to be done- the nearer to the main line, the better the water flow rate.

4. Use a pipe cutter to cut the main line point where softener installation is to be done. Keep a bucket close to avoid any mess.

5. Install an elbow fitting to have a bypass whenever necessary.

6. Measure the attaching pipes, cut them and attach the compression fittings before connecting to the bypass valve.

7. Clamp the hose to the softener tightly to avoid any drainage then connect the overflow tube with the brine tank using the height and placement adjustments form the manufacturer.

8. Flush water through the bypass position by turning the valve.

9. Plug in the unit by slowly opening the valve to release water to the units before it reaches the pipe.

Installing a Salt –Free Water Softener System

It is similar to the salt-based system except for the fact that it gets rid of the salt. It eliminates the need to refilling and storing salt. This is a much easier option in terms of installation as compared to the salt-based water softener systems.

Installing a Salt –Free Water Softener System

Tools and materials required

  • Teflon tape
  • Compression fittings
  • Pipe cutters
  • Flexible tubing
  • Pipe wrench

Steps Required

1. Do a component setup where the softener installation is being done.

2. Shut off the main water then drain the pipes by opening the lowest nozzle and let the water run out.

3. Cut the cold water supply pipe using the cutter by tightening and rotating it before it reaches the pre-filter housing.

4. Glue a shut-off valve to the PVC or solder it to copper

5. Use the compression fittings to install the carbon pre-filter after the shut off valve

6. Use a compression fitting install a second shut off valve after the pre-filter while having the pipe extended to the filter head system.

7. For water to flow through the system and back to the house, connect the down-flow system to the cold water supply pipe.

8. Close shut off valves and open the main water valve to the house.

9. Open the shut-off valves slowly while checking for leaks. Then open them fully to start the system.

Installing a Magnetic Water Softener System


This type of water softener system relies on electricity with a foolproof method. It has an easy installation process that an individual can be able to go through by themselves with no expert required.

Tools and materials required

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench

Steps Required

1. Locate where to install the softener as they can fit anywhere you need them.

2. Hinge the magnet box on one side to clamp down over the pipe.

3. Fit the box correctly in terms of direction to the tube you have chosen for the installation and secure it.

4. Connect the box to the supply of electricity

Installing a Reverse Osmosis Water Softener System

These systems come in different sizes and are quite large as compared to the other systems. The complexity of this system necessitates that the installation is carried out by a professional. This softener system comes with a filter that is usually attached to a fixture to remove any harmful chemicals from water meant for drinking.

Reverse Osmosis Water Softener System

Tools and materials required

  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • 6” adjustable pipe wrench
  • Measuring tape

Steps Required

1. First, turn off the water and drain all the water lines.

2. Check the prescribed height and measure the cabinet walls then screw it to the wall.

3. Disconnect the cold water feed, and the valve then screw it into the top of the saddle valve.

4. Measure the length of the tube and attach one end to the filter.

5. Connect the waste and supply lines to the system faucet.

6. Create a small hole in the waste line and attach the valve to it to connect between the valve fitting and the faucet.

7. Position the tank for storage and connect supply lines.

8. Check for leaks by turning on the faucet then fill the system as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

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