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How To Install A Water Softener

If hard water is the problem in your house, installing a water softener will be the solution. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional plumber to install a water softener by yourself. 

With so many options available on the market, the only hard job for you will be to find the proper water softener for your household. However, if you have already passed this step, this article is going to help you to get over the next one: how to install a water softener.

How a Water Softener Works 

Before going through the installation procedure, we will make a brief recap of how does a water softener work. Shortly, a traditional water softener works on a principle called ion exchange. This system removes minerals like magnesium and calcium from hard water by an exchange with sodium ions from the resin beads. For every milligram of hardness that is removed, 0.46 milligrams of sodium will be added to the water.

Despite its popularity, this system is not the only one available on the market. There are several models of water softeners that work on principles other than ion-exchange. Regardless of how they work, they all aim for the same thing: solving the hard water problem.

However, among those that can be easily installed by the user, there are types: the salt-based water softener, the salt-free water softener, and the magnetic water softener.

What to Consider Before Installation 

First thing to think about above all is the installation place. Water softeners should be kept away from any activities that may affect their function. This means you must secure them from children's access or pets, somewhere not to stand in anyone's way. The best place to install a water softener is near the water's point of entry into the house. Secluded places like garages, pantries, basements, or utility rooms are the best options. 

However, this may also depend on its size and technical specifications. Some water softeners must be placed under-sink or in other places to function properly. That’s why you should always check the user manual of your product before following our recommendations or others.

Equally important, the area in which it is going to be placed must be voluminous, especially if it needs a separate draining recipient. Also, if you choose a salt-based water softener, you may need the salt to always be near the brine tank. That means extra space for salt storage. 

Therefore, if placed somewhere with temperatures lower than 40°F/4°C, your water softener may break faster than you expect. That being said, make sure that the place you choose is suitable for your water softener, otherwise, the installation will be in vain. 

How to Install Different Types of Water Softeners

Next, we have prepared some installation suggestions for water softeners that can be installed without the help of a professional plumber. Remember that each system has a different structure, so it is also important to check the manufacturer's specifications before starting.

Salt Based Water Softener 

Even though it is one of the most preferred option, this water softener requires a fairly long installation process. As mentioned before, the basis of its operation is the concept of ion exchange, and the "fuel" that makes it work is salt.

However, due to its easy maintenance and convenient market prices, a salt-based softener is worth installing.


  • Start by switching off the water heater on the mainline. To do this, open the lowest valve in the house and drain the pipes entirely. 
  • Next, you should also turn off the hot water heater and the power supply that feeds it.
  • As we mentioned before, an important step is to locate the area where to install the water softener. This should be as close as possible to the main water supply line.
  • After that, use a pipe cutter to cut into the mainline where you want the water softener to be connected and hold a bucket close to avoid clutter caused by water leaks.
  • Fix an elbow fitting to the line to get a bypass valve that will let you feed water around the filter at any time.
  • Take measurements for the pipes that will lead to the bypass valve, cut them to fit, and add all the fittings before connecting the pipe to the bypass valve.
  • Make sure you clamp the hose to the softener securely to avoid detachment or any other leakage. After it was connected to the unit, place the other end where it will drain and double-check to be at least 2 inches above the drain hole.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to further connect the overflow tube to the brine tank. These should tell you exactly what height and placement to use.
  • Turn the valve to the bypass spot and flush some water to remove accumulated debris.
  • Connect the unit by gently opening the valve to release air from the pipes.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions over again for setting up the flushing schedule, adding salt to the tanks, and set the flushing program of your water softener.

Salt-Free Water Softener 

This water softener is quite similar to the previous model. Unlike the salt-based softener, this one does not remove minerals from the water. It acts chemically to morph these minerals so that they no longer have negative effects on your house's piping system, fixtures, and appliances. 

However, the main difference is reasonably obvious: there is no salt. That means not only the usage and maintenance will be much easier, but also its installation.


  • Do exactly as in the first two steps from the suggestions above. 
  • Turn off the supply of the cold water pipe using the cutter by tightening and rotating it before it is reaching the pre-filter housing.
  • Add a shut-off valve to the pipe by gluing, using one of two PVC or copper.
  • Mount the carbon pre-filter after the shut-off valve, using compression fittings, and install another shut-off valve after the pre-filter.
  • Expand the pipe to the distribution head of the filter system by attaching it with a compression fitting.
  • Connect the unit back to the cold water supply for water to flow back to the house. 
  • Open the main water valve after closing both shut off valves. 
  • To complete the installation successfully, open once again the shut-off valves gradually to check possible leaks.
  • In the end, you can start the water softener by opening the valves fully.

Magnetic Water Softener

If a quick installation that involves little effort is a must for you, this water softener is the one. Although it should not be a defining criterion in your purchase decision, magnetic water softeners have many other qualities. Having a mode of operation other than ion exchange, this water softener does not eliminate water hardness but reduces it through a magnetic field. 

The good part is that good minerals in the water will stay there, making it not only safe for pipes and house appliances, but also ideal for drinking. Moreover, the price for such a system is usually affordable, and maintenance will never be a hassle.


  • Just like in the other cases above, find the perfect place to install the system. This time you won't have to mount the softener close to the water source, because the magnetic one can be placed anywhere in the house.
  • Follow the instructions to open the magnetic box successfully and hinge it on one side. 
  • Fix the box in such a way to be wrapped around the pipe’s length. 
  • By respecting the technical manual indications, find the direction in which to fix the box on the pipe so that the water flows properly.
  • Ultimately, fix the box around the pipe and make sure it is securely fastened.

Reverse Osmosis System

Make sure there is enough space under the kitchen sink for the tank and filters. Take measurements of the available space—in a sink space filled with a garbage disposer or other items, an RO unit with its tank and multiple filters may be hard to fit.

Unbox the storage tank and filter components and double-check to make sure that they will fit under the kitchen sink in the desired locations. Test to see if all of the components fit properly so that you won't have surprises down the line. The following steps should be all in this particular order. Consult your user manual to see that you've done it right depending on the make and model:

  • Install the Sink Spigot
  • Prepare and Position the Tank
  • Mount the Filter Assembly
  • Attach the Water Line
  • Connect the Other Tubing
  • Connect the Drain
  • Perform a Pressure Test

How to Install Yarna Descaler 

We couldn't complete this list without giving suggestions on how to install our CWD30 Water Descaler! It is a salt-free alternative that prevents the minerals in your water from adhering to the inside of your plumbing, including things like: shower heads, faucet aerators, clothes washer, dishwasher, or the inside of your water heater. 

Compared to other systems, the operating temperature of CWD30 ranges from -13°F to 122°F (–25°C to +50°C). However, one of the biggest advantages is that the installation can be done quickly, without any moving parts

It fully deserves its place here due to its ease of installation and the little time that it involves.


  • First of all, you have to secure the main unit to the wall by using the screws inside or a double sided adhesive tape. And because this water descaler can fit anywhere you need, it can be also attached to the water pipe, independent of the direction of flowing. 
  • Next, connect one of the impulse bands to the device. Use a zip tie to secure the impulse band to the pipe. 
  • Wind tightly the impulse band around the pipe producing a coil, place the windings close to each other, and latch the end of the impulse band to the pipe using another zip tie.
  • To power up the unit, plug the power adaptor to the main unit, and then connect the power supply to an electrical outlet.


Looks like installing a water softener does not require divine skills. Yet, each system comes with different installation instructions and various methods to complete it, so you have to be well informed before starting it by yourself. 

Even if these ways of how to install a water softener alone seem to be cost-efficient and the entire process will help you better understand every component of your system, it is not recommended to do this if you have never done any technical repairs and you have no clue how to do it at home.

Obviously, hiring a professional will relieve you of any worries in case of something unforeseen occurs during installation.