How much is a whole house well water filtration system?

Managing well water on your property can be expensive, but it’s important to offset those costs against the amount you would otherwise pay in municipal water bills.

For an extra upfront investment, you get to control your own supply and enjoy water that’s often of superior quality to what comes out of the average faucet. While the best whole house water filters for well water can cost thousands of dollars, there are also other factors like maintenance & installation costs (covered below).

Here are our estimates for each category of costs associated with a whole-house well water system.

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(Note: The prices featured on this page are approximate and were calculated by surveying online stores and distributors. You may find the costs of your well and filter system differ from our estimates.)

Filter system costs

Different wells require different levels of filtration. By testing your water and finding out, you should be able to determine what kind of filtration system fits your needs.

Almost all well water benefits from sediment filtration. A sediment filter is a low-cost filter device that contains replaceable or cleanable screens, which are designed to catch sand, silt, rust, and other types of small particulate matter.

In addition, most well owners filter their water to improve taste, smell, and appearance. Carbon, air injection, or KDF filters will reduce some potential harmful contaminants, but their main role is to remove or reduce iron, sulfur, and aesthetic impurities from a water supply. Air injection is typically more expensive upfront, but they are the best iron filter for well water. In the long run this filtration type can save you money (more on that below).

The third category of filtration devices are designed to remove harmful chemicals, metals, and microorganisms. If your well water contains substances such as lead, coliform bacteria, or PFAS chemicals, then it may be necessary to use a reverse osmosis filter or UV purifier.

Approximate filter system costs

Lower estimate Upper estimate
Sediment filter $45 $200
Aesthetic contaminant filter $300 $900
Harmful contaminant filter $500 $2,500
Total $845 $3,600

Water softener costs

Because it’s filtered through rock, well water is typically harder than surface water.

This means that water contains higher amounts of dissolved minerals, which can then build up in pipes and appliances, create scale on plates and glasses, and leave an unpleasant feeling on hair and skin.

To reduce the effects of hard water, many well owners install a softener or conditioner alongside their water filter. Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to replace hard minerals with salts. Water conditioners reformat the structure of hard water so that minerals do not create scale when in contact with surfaces.

As well water is generally harder water than city water, we recommend a salt-based system as the best water softeners for well water.

Approximate water softener costs

Lower estimate Upper estimate
Water softener $350 $1,500
Water conditioner $500 $1,750
Softener salt (annual) $10 $50
Total $360 $1,800

Filter cartridge and cleaning costs

All filter systems require some level of maintenance. Simple devices use filter media that need cleaning or replacing every few months.

Devices with tanks may feature auto-backwashing programs and can function for years before their internal filter media need to be renewed.

Every few years, or after a contamination event, it’s a good idea to manually clean the entire filter system by flushing it with a sanitization solution. Solutions can be bought for a small price or made at home using simple ingredients like white vinegar and bleach.

Approximate filter cartridge costs

Lower estimate Upper estimate
Sediment filter cartridges $10 $50
Aesthetic filter cartridges $25 $350
Reverse osmosis filter cartridges $30 $175
UV bulbs $40 $150
Total $105 $725

Water well maintenance costs

For most people who already have a functioning well, any costs around the well itself will go towards upkeep. Again, how much you spend on maintaining your well largely depends on your local environment.

Areas prone to heavy rainfall and flooding are more likely to comprise well purity, meaning that you may need to pay for professional cleaning and repair of the well casing, lid, or pump.

If your land rests upon porous rock that’s high in mud or clay, or you experience droughts that change water levels, your well is more likely to accumulate sediment that will require backwashing or flushing.

Upkeep costs are likely to vary by year. While you may be required to pay the upper estimate at some point, it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to substantially repair your well on an annual basis.

All well owners should also test their well water on an annual basis. Home test kits are available online and in stores, while many large hardware chains and university labs offer cheap testing. For a little more money, private state-certified labs can analyze a sample of your water and provide you with an officially recognized document.

These yearly tests will help to make sure that you continue to use the right filtration devices for your water type.

Approximate costs of annual well maintenance

Lower estimate Upper estimate
Shock chlorination/well flushing $0 $200
Well casing inspection/repair $0 $2,000
Well water tests $40 $300
Total $40 $2,500

Water well drilling costs

If you don’t already have an operational well on your property, you’ll need to stump up a considerable amount of cash to have a borehole drilled and a well installed.

Depending on the depth of groundwater and the type of rock underneath your land, tapping into a water source can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $11,500.

The major reason behind such a wide range of prices is that drilling companies charge around $30 per foot drilled, and the depth of privates can vary enormously.

Beyond the costs of drilling, companies will also charge for trenching the pipeline and casing your well. If your bedrock is hard, they’ll likely need to use multiple drill bits, which will bump up your bill.

If you’re lucky enough to live on property with an artesian well, then your water may possess enough natural pressure to rise to the surface without electrical pumping. Most people, however, will also need to fork out for a good quality well pump.

If you have the equipment and know-how, it is possible to perform some or all of a well-drilling project by yourself, thereby cutting out extra labor costs.

Approximate costs of well drilling and installation

Lower estimate Upper estimate
Well drilling $1,500 $11,500
Well pump $200 $1,500
Well casing $800 $3,000
Well storage tank (if necessary) $1,500 $3,000
Total $4,000 $19,000

Summary: Private water costs vs municipal water bills

While the costs involved in installing and running a well water system can be significant, many of the initial investments are offset over time against the price of municipal water bills.

The EPA estimates that the average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, based on a consumption model of 80-100 gallons per person.

While the cost of public water varies dramatically by state, puts the average bill for a four-person household using approximately 100 gallons each at $72.93 per month, or $875.16 each year.

This is a much lower amount than the average well owner is likely to pay during their first or second year on well water, when they may need to make several upfront payments on things like filter systems and well drilling:

Well water — One-time investments
Well drilling $4,000 – $19,000
Whole-house filter system $845 – $3,600
Water softener $360 – $1,800
Total $5,205 – $24,400

By around year five, however, most well owners will break even or begin to make savings compared to those on city water.

Even if you also need to install a well, the cost of all but the most expensive drilling projects can be recuperated within a decade or so of use.

After upfront investments are made, all that well owners need to pay for are monthly or annual filter cartridge changes, while keeping some money aside for occasional upkeep costs:

Well water — Recurring costs
Well upkeep $40 – $2,500
Filter cartridges $105 – $725
Softener salt $10 – $50
Total $155 – $3,275

Remember, this is just a guide. Well water costs and public water bills are highly variable and depend upon location.

Many households on public water also choose to filter or soften their water supply. This also affects how costs line up against each other over time.