A person holding two water filter cartridges.

How Much Does a Water Filtration System Cost?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a water filtration system, you need to have a good idea of all the costs involved. This article will inform you about the typical costs you can expect when buying your new system, as well as other costs you may not expect. Here are the factors that contribute to the total cost:

  • Filtration system cost
  • Installation cost
  • Maintenance cost

Factors Contributing to Total Cost

Filtration system

First, you must consider whether you want a Point-of-Use (POU) or Point-of-Entry (POE) system. POU systems provide filtered drinking water at a specific location. This could include a countertop or under sink filter. A POE system would deliver filtered water to the whole house. A POE system will be more expensive since it works on a larger scale and produces more filtered water. With POE, you will have higher unit, installation, and maintenance costs. 

From there, you should decide on what quality of water you want and what components you want to be removed from the water. Carbon filtration and reverse osmosis filtration are the two most popular water filtration technologies. Carbon filtration removes contaminants like chlorine and organic material. Reverse osmosis systems use a more extensive membrane technology that can filter down to .001 micron. They are much more effective than carbon filters, making them more expensive. 

Next, you will want to think about filter size. If you simply want an under-sink filter, you can buy a POU carbon filter for less than $100. The same unit but with reverse osmosis would be from $200 to $500. If you simply want your drinking water filtered, you can find a faucet-mounted POE system pretty cheaply at $20. If you are thinking large-scale, you may want a whole-house filtration system. This will be a much bigger investment but can last you up to ten years. Since they are low-maintenance and are more environmentally-friendly, you will be saving money long-term. 

Installing a water filter by yourself can be quite complicated and tedious so hiring a professional can be worth the cost.

Installation

The cost of installation should be factored into your budget. Sometimes the price to have it installed is more expensive than the unit itself. Installation would include the mounting of the unit, including a shut-off valve, connecting the plumbing, and evaluating the finished job for leaks. Plumbers should also prepare the site and clean it up themselves. Any materials used in the process will be added to the installation costs like connectors, fittings, and tubing. If a modification of your existing plumbing is needed, this can increase the price by up to $1,000 to $2,000. Some plumbers may optionally dispose of old parts at an extra cost of $50 to $120.  

If you are a DIYer and have the experience and know-how, you can drop the installation costs and do it yourself. If you choose to install an under-sink unit, you will need to cut the drain line and drill a hole in your countertop for the new faucet. A POE system will need to be installed at the main water supply line. The complexity may be best for a professional.

Maintenance

You must not forget that buying and installing your new system isn’t the end of the expenses. Upkeep of the system will be necessary to keep a steady flow of filtered water in your home. Water filter systems must have filter and membrane replacements for them to work at their most efficient levels. The replacing of some filters should be done every 2 to 3 months, whereas some filters can last years. Reverse osmosis units have multiple filtration stages, and therefore have more expensive maintenance than simple faucet filters. 

Range of Cost by Type of System

Now that we have a good idea of what factors contribute to cost, let’s break the costs down of each type of system.

Whole-House 

Whole-house filters can cost a pretty penny: anywhere from $300 to $3,000, or even more for a high-end unit. Though it may be an expensive initial investment, you can end up saving money in the long run due to the system’s longevity and low-maintenance. A whole house filtration system will also increase the longevity of your plumbing system and appliances. 

The installation of the unit can be anywhere from $100 to $500 for 2 to 4 hours of work. This means your initial first-year investment cost would be $400 to $3,500 or more. Additionally, maintenance costs would be between $100 to $300 annually. 

A glass of clean water with osmosis filter and cartridges in a kitchen interior.

Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to separate ions, unwanted molecules, and larger particles from drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis 

Since reverse osmosis systems are more complex than some of the other options, they can get really expensive. If you are looking for an under the sink, faucet-based system, you are looking at between $250 and $1,300. For a whole house reverse osmosis system, it can cost between $1,000 and $4,000. Don’t forget that regular filter changes are necessary for optimum efficiency.

This could add up from $60 to $200 yearly. For an under the sink RO system, it can take 1 to 3 hours of work for a plumber, adding up to $100 to $300 to install. This adds up to between $350 to $1,600 as the first year investment cost. For a whole-house system, it is a little harder to estimate the installment price since these systems aren’t standardized. 

Under-Sink 

Under-sink, systems are great for homeowners who want filtered water for drinking but not for showers, laundry, or dishwashers. An under sink water filtration system can cost $50 to $400. Installing with a professional runs between $100 and $300, making your first-year investment $150 to $700. After that, you are looking at maintenance costs of $20 to $150 annually. 

Countertop and Faucet-Mounted 

Countertop and faucet-mounted filters are both easy to install. You simply attach them to your existing faucet in minutes. These systems allow you to switch between filtered and unfiltered water. Countertop filters cost between $50 and $120, and then $70 to $130 yearly for maintenance. Faucet-mounted filters cost between $50 to $120, and then $20 to $40 annually for maintenance. 

Pouring water from a filter jug into glass.

Water filter pitchers are an affordable, easy-to-use option for purifying your water, which is why they’re so popular.

Pitcher

The easiest and most affordable filtration system are pitchers. They can cost between $20 and $70 for the initial investment, then $60 to $150 annually for additional filters.

What’s Best for Your Health and Pocketbook?

Now armed with more knowledge, you can make the right choice for yourself and your family.  Whether it be a whole house filter, a simple pitcher, or anything in between, choose the option that is best for your health and pocketbook. 

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Joshua Perkins

Joshua Perkins

Joshua spent ten years as a water systems technician in California before settling down with his wife and two young children in Nashville in 2018. Through all of his experience, he learned the benefits and shortfalls of so many different types of water filtration systems, from pitchers to whole-house installations. He started Water Filter Authority in 2019 to empower other families to make the right decision for their long-term health and wellness.