With rocketing energy bills and fuel prices, along with the weekly food shop burning a hole in the credit card, it’s more important than ever to take stock of the cost of living.  

What exactly are we spending and where does the money go each month? What represents good value? Indeed, what do we consider to be essential expenditure, as opposed to affordable luxuries?

As examples, those “can’t do without” items probably include the cost of a new smartphone (eyewatering), the monthly mobile subscriptions and the direct debits that roll on and on for services such as Sky Sports or Netflix.    

Oh, and don’t forget the water softener!  Because soft water systems also incur monthly outgoings, albeit not huge ones. Indeed, the money spent on running your water softener will be considerably less than continually forking out for the latest blockbuster on the telly.   

And that’s not all. For, as we shall demonstrate, compared to the financial commitment of living with hard water all the time, the associated costs with maintaining a water softener will actually SAVE you money. 

How can I pay for my water softener?

There are three options – outright purchase, paying with finance or renting the unit. 

Whichever route you choose, there will always be additional monthly running costs, to ensure your water softener works efficiently and stays in optimal condition.  Why is this?

Ion exchange salt-reliant water softeners, which dominate the market, can vary in design, but typically they each have a resin tank which disposes of the hard minerals contained in water, such as calcium and magnesium. With these minerals out the way, you get to experience lovely soft water. The resin tank, however, requires recharging, which is known as regeneration. This process uses salt to refresh the resin beads, making sure that the water remains consistently soft at all times. 

The salt and the additional water required to complete the regeneration process do have a cost attached. It isn’t enormous, but it needs to be factored into your monthly expenses.  

A Guide to Water Softener Running Costs

Firstly, the cost of buying a water softener starts from around £500 for a budget single cylinder electric version, rising to about £1600 for a premium range, twin cylinder product. You should also allow £350 for installation.  

If you decide to rent your water softener, the monthly cost will be £35, with the option of having the £350 installation charge wrapped up in the rental agreement, thus spreading the cost. 

After that, the largest outlay will be for water softener salt – either tablet or block salt – depending on what type of softener you have. Generally, salt will be about £10 for a 10kg bag or £40 for a six pack. As a rule of thumb, allow between £1.25 – £2.50 per person per month for salt. About the same as a loaf of bread or a half pint of lager.

For a household of six, you’re talking between £10 and £15 for monthly salt use. Nothing to frighten the horses! 

In addition, if you take out an annual water softener subscription (highly recommended), this will be £95 per year. Meanwhile, one off servicing costs £120.  Also, if you have a drinking water system, you should factor in charges for replacement water filters. These should be changed once a year and start from around £45.   

If you have metered water, because water softeners use more water during regeneration, this will result in a minimal increase in your annual water bill – about £5, including VAT. 

So, per month, if you allow £15 for water softener salt, £8 for servicing and £10 for filters with about 50p extra for water, the cost of running your water softener should be no more than £35 for a family of six – and considerably less for homes with 2 or 3 occupants.

A £35 outlay will SAVE you money in the long-term

You’ll know how expensive it is to buy soaps, shampoos, shower gels and household cleaning products, like CiF, Dettol and Mr Muscle. They keep going up, like everything else!   

With this in mind, one of the huge advantages of soft water is that it prevents limescale build up on kitchen and bathroom surfaces. It doesn’t mean that you can give up cleaning altogether BUT, when you do clean, you won’t need to do it so frequently. Plus, you won’t require nearly as much cleaning agent to achieve outstanding results. Less limescale means less grime and more shiny pristine looking surfaces.  Cleaning is so much easier and cheaper with soft water on tap!

Furthermore, when it comes to personal hygiene, you won’t need to use nearly as much shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, because soft water helps maintain the skin and hair’s natural shine. You won’t need to apply as much to get a really nice lather, compared to washing in hard water, which requires more gels and soaps – and is actually detrimental.  

With every month that passes with a water softener in place, the outlay on your cleaning products will reduce, thereby cutting your monthly outgoings on your water softener. 

Plus, hidden away from sight (unless you stare into the kettle!), limescale – the residue of hard water – will disappear altogether from your household appliances. The dishwasher, the washing machine and the biggest expense of all, your central heating system, will all work more efficiently. 

During these inflationary times, we are told that the cost of generating hot water and keeping an average family home properly heated is now hitting £2000 a year. That’s nearly £200 a month! 

But you can help mitigate against these exorbitant overheads. 

With a water softener on the premises, the boiler will have to work less hard because it won’t have to pump water through clogged up pipework caused by hard water. As a result, it will take less gas to generate the necessary amount of heat and hot water, as would be the case if you were constantly exposed to hard water. 

The accumulation of all these cost benefits will eat away at your monthly water softener expenses – until such time when you are actually in pocket. The financial savings created by having a water softener will not only cancel out the cost of cleaning products, but they could also save you from spending thousands on a new heating system.  

Necessity or Luxury? Affordable Water Softeners

As we have demonstrated, once you have made your initial outlay on your water softener and started paying for the monthly outgoings, as time goes by, those regular expenses will be swallowed up by the cost savings you’ll be making elsewhere. 

This is unlike your monthly subscriptions for phones, satellite TV and the like, which only ever seem to increase. There is certainly never any trade off. Just because you have Netflix or BT Sports, you still have to keep paying your TV licence, for instance. 

Whereas with a water softener, not only do you get to enjoy the multiple benefits that soft water provides – including to your health – but the longer you have your soft water system in place, the more money you will save.   Which makes water softeners not only affordable but a great long-term investment. 

Helpful links

If you are looking to buy a water softener and want to learn more about the ongoing expense, head here for further information.

Alternatively, click here to discover more about what water softeners cost.

Scott Jenkins Water Softeners are one of the leading suppliers in the south-east of England of water softeners, water filters and accessories associated with soft water systems. We cover West and East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent and London. For all enquiries, call Scott Jenkins Water Softeners on 01243 607494 or email: scott@sjbs.info  For an instant water softener quote click here.