Mar 262012
 

You don’t have to shell out a lot of money to get the benefits of a water softener – at least not all at once. In most cities and towns, you can find rentals that will only cost you around $20-30 a month. But does water softener rental really make sense? In most cases, the answer is no. However, it’s a good idea to look at both sides of the issue to find out what the best option is for your home.

Water Softener Rental Pros

Here are the main advantages of renting a water softener for your home:

Low initial cost. This is probably the main reason people are interested in renting. A new softener can cost you over $1000 installed. By renting, you avoid a large bill upfront and spread out your payments over the long haul.

Service. It’s nice to know that if anything goes wrong, your rental company is responsible and not you. Your rental service will likely offer water softener salt delivery, too, making it a truly hands-off, worry-free experience.

Low commitment. You can generally cancel your rental at any time. If you’re planning to move in a couple of years, renting may sound like the better option.

Protection from local law changes. If you live in a city that is considering banning salt water softeners, then that’s the best reason of all to rent instead of buy. By renting, you’re not out your investment if the law changes.

Water Softener Rental Cons

Now here are the cons of renting a water softener system:

Higher cost in the long run. If you rent for just $20 a month, you will pay the cost of a new water softener in just 1-4 years (depending on the model).

Limited selection. The rental company may give you no choice of models. At best, you’ll have a limited selection that probably will not include things like salt free water softeners.

Old equipment. You’ll likely get a used water softener. While you won’t be on the hook for repairs, the system may not run as efficiently as a new model – and that could cost you money.

The pros aren’t that compelling after all. Other than the point about local laws, the pro argument for renting falls apart on closer inspection. Low initial cost: You can often get a new softener for low monthly payments through financing. Service: A new softener will come with a warranty, and you can get water softener service – including salt delivery – separate from your purchase. Commitment: If you move, you don’t lose the cost of your softener because it adds to the value of your home.

The Decision is Yours

As you can see, we’re partial to owning over renting a water softener if you can manage it. However, if you don’t have the cash and can’t get low interest financing, then that can be a pretty convincing reason to rent. Water softener rental certainly makes more sense than ignoring a serious hard water problem, which could be costing you more than the rental cost each month in increased utility bills. If it will make a difference in your decision, you may want to pay a few bucks for a water hardness test to confirm how hard your water is.

If you have to rent, look for a rent-to-own deal. Failing that, plan on renting in the short term while saving up for a purchase. If you have hard water, a softener is an essential – and permanent – part of the house that will add value to it for years to come.