Can A Water Softener Really Pay For Itself?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’ll pay for itself in no time,” but in the field of whole home water softeners it can be proven with a calculator.  Too good to be true, you say?  Well, let’s take a look at the facts.

For all of these prices we’re going to be using Walmart, simply because the prices are comparable to anywhere else.
Let’s start with laundry detergent.  A family of four with the national average of 10 grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness.  Some areas it’s higher, as in San Antonio, where it ranges from 15 to 20 gpg, according to the San Antonio Water System.  Or how about the water in Scottsdale Arizona coming in this year at 16-25 gpg , depending on which part of town you test.  That’s okay – it just means that you’ll pay off your water softener 25% to 50% faster!
Averaging out the price of all leading detergents sold at Walmart, the average cost of a bottle is $14.08 and the price per load is $0.37.  The average family of four runs 300-390 loads each year.  Assuming the number of loads per bottle are actually correct, that means you are conservatively spending $129.50 a year of detergent.  This is most assuredly on the low end, as Consumer Reports argues that the number is closer to $275/year, due to higher detergent costs.  We'll split the difference for our example.
Now we come to personal items, such as shampoo, body wash, bar soap, lotions, cream rinse, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, etc.  I could break it all down for you, but the bottom line per the American Cleaning Institute is that the average family of four spends $628.00 each year for these personal items.  The difference, of course, is in the shampoo/rinse brand (and probably lotions, as well).
We can’t forget about cleaning products, stuff like Comet, glass cleaner, antibacterial spray, and the like.  Why do we take cleaners into account?  Hard water means you are dealing with soap scum, calcification onwater softeners can save you money countertops and sinks, and other places.  Again, according to the American Cleaning Institute, the typical family spends $504 every year on cleaning supplies.  This would vary depending on your level of clean, obviously, but let’s go with that number.
Hard water does a number on your towels, clothes, and linens, so it would be remiss if we didn’t factor the cost of these items in.  The US Department of Commerce estimated back in 2014 that the usual family conservatively spends $600 a year in this area.  They didn’t poll my wife, obviously!  That’s seems unusually low, but let’s go with that number for our comparison.
A couple of more things.  Hard water is just that – hard on your appliances and hard on your plumbing.  You have to figure in the cost of repair and replacement costs on your pipes, washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc.  It’s amortized, of course, but the US Bureau of Economic Analysis puts the usual cost of decay in a home’s water system is $10 a month, or $120 a year.

Finally, let’s consider the water heating bill.  Soft water drastically reduces the level at which the water heater must work, so the consumption is less.  If the average gas and electric bill at a house is $163/month, then 16% of that is directly attributed to the heater.  That’s $313 you’re paying each year for the water heater to do what the water heater does.

Okay, so let’s add it up.

Estimated Annual Cost % Savings with Soft Water $ Saved Cost w/ Softener
 Soap & Cleaning Products
Laundry - 400 loads/yr @ 0.37/load $148.00 75% $111.00 $37.00
Personal Care (shampoo, rinse, lotions, etc) $628.00 30% $188.40 $439.60
Cleaning Products $504.00 50% $252.00 $252.00
Gas & Electric Consumption
Water Heating - avg of 16% of household utility bill @ $163/month $313.00 20% $62.60 $250.40
Washable Items
Clothes, towels & linens $600.00 30% $180.00 $420.00
Plumbing & Appliances
 Repair & Replacement Costs $120.00 75% $90.00 $30.00
TOTAL SAVINGS $2313.00   $884.00 $1429.00
Yes, that’s right.  You save $884 (more or less) each year with a whole home water softener in your house.  Depending on the system you opt for, it pays for itself in either no time at all or in just a little while.
For a more definitive list of what each cleaning product costs, check out this list.

Is 2017 the year your house gets the clean, filtered water it deserves?  Give us a call at 877-534-5837 or simply email us and make the switch today!

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