Salt Water Softener: Install It Yourself Salt Water Softener: Install It Yourself

Hard water—which can leave a film of dissolved calcium and magnesium on your fixtures—can be corrected with a salt water softener. This device is hooked up to the pipe that brings water into the house and "softens" the water by removing the dissolved minerals and other pollutants that may be in the water.


A salt-based water softener is usually the cheapest option for softening a home's water. The water can be filtered through distillation or reverse osmosis, but filtering all of the water in a home can be quite expensive. A softener is relatively inexpensive.

The device works by replacing the the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium ions. The water runs through a bed of small plastic beads that are covered in sodium ions. The calcium ions and magnesium ions are swapped with sodium ions. Eventually the beads contain only calcium and magnesium, but no sodium. At this point, it is time to regenerate the beads, soaking them in a stream of sodium ions. This displaces the calcium and magnesium, and replaces it with sodium.


It is easy to install a salt water softener, as it is essentially just a by-pass in the pipes near where the water enters your home. However, if you do not feel comfortable installing the water softener yourself, a professional plumber should be able to install it in about 4 hours. Also, although do-it-yourself softeners are relatively easy to install, you should still adhere to the instructions in the instruction manual. If you fail to follow these installation instructions, you can easily make a mistake that would require you to seek out professional assistance to finish the job.


  1. Before you begin installing your water softener, turn off your water at the main using a curb key. Drain all the water out of the pipes by turning on the faucets at the highest and lowest point of the house.
  2. Shut off the valve at your water heater, and shut off the power to your water heater.
  3. Connect your water softener to your plumbing. Use 2 pipe wrenches to carefully loosen and remove the union on the water line. Use care, as the pipes may be scalding hot if they have have recently carried hot water.
  4. Follow the directions that were included with your salt water softener to complete the installation.

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