1. Turn off the main water supply
Turn off the main water supply valve in your home. If your hot water tank is electric, turn that off too, in order to prevent damage to the tank’s element.
2. Drain the water lines
Turn on the cold water at a faucet on the lowest floor of the house and let it run until the water stops and all of the pressure has escaped your home’s plumbing.
3. Measure and cut pipes
Use the softener system instructional guide to correctly measure and mark out an installation spot along your main water line. Cut the line with enough room to position the filter tanks and install valves, connectors, adaptors, etc.
4. Assemble the softener
If the mineral tank contains a riser tube, check that it’s secured to the bottom of the tank. If your softener contains separate tanks and tank heads to control flow, lubricate any O-rings and thread the tank head clockwise onto the mineral tank. Be careful not to cross-thread the valve and don’t use any tools to tighten it.
5. Add the filter media (if necessary)
Use a funnel to evenly and slowly pour the filter media into the tank. When you’re finished, lightly shake the tank from side to side to settle the media.
6. Connect the water softener (optional: install bypass)
Insert the plumbing fittings into the softener valves. These are most likely 3/4′′ or 1′′ pipe fittings. If your plumbing and the softener system are not compatible, you may need to purchase adapters.
Tighten the retaining nuts by hand, making sure the fittings are not cross-threaded. Once everything is in place, seal the plumbing fitting threads with Teflon tape or another pipe sealant—then use two adjustable wrenches to tighten everything up.
Hook up the bypass if you’re installing one. The bypass valves on the softener should be marked with arrows to show proper flow direction. The inlet is indicated by the arrow pointing toward the valve. The outlet is indicated by the arrow pointing away from the valve.
7. Connect the drain hose
Connect the drain hose to the valve on the softener system and feed it into a floor drain, laundry tub, or an approved air gap fitting. The drain can be installed overhead or along the floor. Make sure there’s an air gap of at least 1.5 inches between the drain tubing and the drain itself to prevent bacteria and wastewater from entering the softener.
Hose clamps should also be used to stop the line from moving and leaking when under pressure from the softener.
8. Connect the brine tank and half-fill with salt
If your water softener includes a separate brine tank, attach the brine line to the control vale. If there’s a safety float, ensure it’s assembled.
9. Make sure the bypass is turned on, then slowly turn on the water and check for leaks.
First, put the water softener in bypass mode by turning the handles perpendicular to the bypass.
Next, restart your water supply, open the earliest faucet, and run the water for a few minutes to clear the system of trapped air and any installation debris.
Finally, slowly open the bypass valve to let water into the softener tank. It’s important to add water slowly to allow all the air trapped in the softener tanks and lines to escape. This may cause a hissing noise.
Once water is successfully running through your softener, check all fittings and connections for leaks and make any necessary adjustments.
10. Follow your softener’s start-up procedure
Turn your softener system on and program it according to the installation guide. This is likely to include initiating a regeneration/backwashing phase, where the softener will flush itself through and prime the resin media so that softening can begin. This is likely to take a few hours.
DIY water softener installation pros
DIY water softener installation cons
- While you’ll save on labor costs, any errors made during in the installation can prove costly down the road. Cutting the wrong pipe or installing the wrong size valves will likely inflate the overall cost of the project.
- A minority of manufacturers will void their warranty if a softener is not installed by a professional service.