How Much Does It Cost to Install a Drinking Water Fountain?
$1,000 - $6,000
$1,000 - $6,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated October 3, 2022Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.
The average cost of water fountain installation is $2,300. Most people spend between $1,000 and $6,000. The main cost factors for installing a water fountain are type and design of the fountain, location, and labor. Most units cost between $500 and $3,000, but can also be as high as $5,000. You can hire a plumber to install the fountain for you at a rate of $45 to $200 per hour. Costs are typically similar for residential and commercial installations.
|Average Cost||High Cost||Low Cost|
The fountain costs $300 to $5,000. Where it falls in that range depends on the type you choose. Each type listed below offers features that set it apart from others, thus influencing the cost.
|Water-efficient||$400 – $1,500|
|Double fountains||$700 – $4,000|
|Side spout||$600 – $1,200|
|Recessed||$1,900 – $3,600|
|Foot pedal||$900 – $2,000|
|Touchless||$1,500 – $4,000|
|Refillable water bottle stations||$500 – $1,200|
|Filtered Units||$1,200 – $4,000|
|Refrigerated||$1,000 – $1,500|
|Countertop||$400 – $700|
|Hot water dispensers||$400 – $700|
|Frost-resistant||$1,600 – $3,400|
|Free-standing units||$1,500 – $5,000|
|ADA compliant units||$400 – $1,500|
A water-efficient drinking fountain costs between $400 and $1,500. These types of fountains are typically simple in design. They save water and energy through features like automatic valve shutoffs. Liquid pressure is typically low, making these products a good fit for residential applications.
A double fountain costs $700 to $4,000 and features spouts at different heights. Double fountains are perfect for public spaces, allowing people of all ages and abilities to drink. For high-usage areas such as locker rooms, units with up to four spouts on the same level are also available.
The price of a water fountain with side spouts ranges between $600 and $1,200. Unlike most alternatives, a side spout doesn’t dispense water diagonally. This alternative is especially beneficial for smaller spaces because the basin can be smaller. However, installation costs can be higher because most products need to fit into a semi-recessed spot in the wall. Budget for drywall repair costs when installing this type of fountain.
The average drinking fountain cost for a recessed unit is $1,900 to $3,600. Because they blend completely into the wall, they are perfect for narrow hallways. They don’t simply attach to a wall or stand on their own, so installation is more complex. You might need to hire a remodeling contractor and also work with a plumber near you to install this kind of fountain.
A food pedal fountain costs between $900 and $2,000. While most fountain types operate with hand-pushed buttons, this one requires pressure from your foot. Designs emulate the pedal-operated fountains from the early 20th century. Wiring and plumbing are similar to free-standing units.
Touchless fountains cost $1,500 to $4,000. Unlike more traditional options, this variety includes either an automatic sensor or a large button you can lean against. It’s among the most expensive alternatives. Installation of this type of fountain makes sense in germ-heavy areas like hospitals, where users' hands might not be clean.
Refillable water bottle stations cost between $500 and $1,200. You can add a bottle station to your existing unit or install a new one with both drinking and bottle-filling options included. More modern and expensive varieties include a counter of how many plastic bottles the station has saved. This makes them especially valuable for organizations prioritizing green initiatives.
A new filter ranges from $60 to $100. You can replace the filter without significant expertise, but you’ll need to access the water supply, which can complicate things and make it necessary to hire a plumber.
Filtered products range between $1,200 and $4,000. Most units automatically filter lead out of any liquid flowing through. Specifically, filtered fountains also remove other bacteria, making drinking water healthier. Costs can range based on the filter quality and whether the product includes a filter change indicator.
The average cost range for refrigerated fountains is $1,000 to $1,500. This option internally cools any liquid flowing through. It results in a more pleasant drinking experience for users. However, refrigerated units tend to be more expensive to install. They're also costlier to run because of extra electricity. These units will also require you to hire an electrician to install an outlet to plug them into.
A countertop drinking fountain model ranges from $400 to $700. This option is perfect for residential units because it doesn’t require wall space. The water flow is typically low, making it more effective the less traffic and use it gets.
Expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500 for hot water dispensers. With the right product, your fountain can distribute hot water for beverages and other uses. This option is most commonly available for indoor, wall-mounted units. Additional plumbing for the water heater will be necessary, but some products come with their own heating unit.
Budget between $1,600 and $3,400 for a frost-resistant drinking fountain. Products designed for outdoor and non-heated spaces need to account for the weather. Adding frost resistance to your project means increasing your unit price. You’ll also need to ensure your water lines cannot freeze before the liquid even gets to the tank.
Fountains that don't attach to a wall cost $1,500 to $5,000. Free-standing products mount to the floor and are best for public exterior spaces. With all the high-end or custom options, this could cost up to $9,000 for a bi-level pedestal with a pet drinking station.
An ADA-compliant fountain ranges between $400 and $1,500. Any ADA-compliant product must be accessible from multiple heights, with controls on the front or side that are easy to push. These are typically wall-mounted because of the necessary handicap access clearances below the unit.
"If you’re installing a unit in a public space, you’ll probably need to make sure it’s ADA-compliant," says Jeff Botelho, Expert Review Board member and Massachusetts-licensed journeyman plumber with 18 years of experience. "Always check with state and local plumbing and building codes prior to starting any plumbing project, especially in a public place."
Most of your budget will go toward a plumber, who costs between $45 and $200 per hour. Other professionals are only necessary for complex installations. Where your project falls within the overall $500 to $3,000 price scale also depends on the type of fountain and where you install it. Indoor units, for example, cost less than outdoor alternatives.
Installing an indoor fountain typically costs between $500 and $1,000, while an outdoor project can be as high as $3,000.
Indoor installations typically cost less as they take less time to complete. Waterlines are more easily available for indoor fountains, and the product doesn’t have to be weatherproof or frost resistant. Costs can rise with more complex units, however. For example:
A hot water fountain might need a new power supply in addition to plumbing.
Recessed options also increase the installation price because they require you to hire a wall contractor.
Laying pipes below the freezing line in the ground can increase plumbing needs and your budget.
Installing a fountain in a public space like a school, college, or park ranges between $600 and $1,500. Any products you install in schools and other public spaces need to be ADA-compliant, which can raise the installation price.
Tapping into the water supply for a drinking fountain usually requires a permit. This fee is minimal, about $50 to $100 depending on location. However, applying for a permit extends the installation timeline. A certified plumber can walk you through the process or get it for you.
Installing a residential product tends to be relatively inexpensive, ranging between $500 and $1,000. That’s because plumbing requirements are typically minimal. Small countertop units designed for indoor use are easy to install. Larger options by a pool or pool house can become more expensive.
Expect your budget to rise by between $1,000 and $2,500 if your drinking fountain requires special plumbing. Specialty units, for example, might need more extensive plumbing work, such as added waterlines for multiple basins. Filtered and bacteria-resistant options might also need the installation of new pipes that keep the water clean before it gets to the spout.
Long-term, the cost of installing a drinking fountain offers a large return on your investment (ROI). Bottled water typically costs more than $1 per gallon. Common 16-ounce bottles can cost $5 or more.
According to the EPA, tap water is between 200 and 1,000 times cheaper than bottled, costing around $2 per thousand gallons. For a business or homeowner, that difference can result in significant savings. An average consumption of 20 gallons per month for a small business would require a budget of up to $1,200 per year for bottled water.
Compared to tap, drinking fountains significantly increase the water quality. They also help to reduce the high environmental costs of disposable bottles.
If you’re handy and have some experience with plumbing, installing a water fountain yourself, especially if it’s a simple unit, can help you save on costs. However, we recommended hiring a professional plumber for most plumbing projects.
For more complex units (like refrigerated, hot water, and frost-resistant fountains) that require a lot of site prep work—including plumbing and electrical work—it’s usually best to hire a fountain installation professional to do the work for you. You’ll have to pay extra initially, but you can be sure the job gets done right.
An expert can also recommend ideal units and placement for your needs. Most also offer some kind of warranty on their work, so you won’t have to pay out of pocket if anything goes wrong after the installation.
You can buy water fountains from most home improvement stores and online retailers. Brands like Grainger and Elkay also sell products directly on their websites. For professional installation, consider contacting a pro first. An experienced plumber can recommend a unit that will work for you and will include costs in the total project quote.
"Another benefit of having a plumber or contractor procure the unit is that they may provide some sort of warranty for their installation, which can be a big help if any problems arise during the installation," says Botelho.
A bubbler is a regional term that describes either a drinking fountain or a faucet. In Wisconsin and Rhode Island, it’s a common substitute for a drinking fountain. In that case, all the above costs apply. A bubbler can also describe the faucet or spout. Faucet installation costs range between $150 and $320.
The valve might be the problem when your product leaks from the spout. You can get a new valve for under $100, but make sure it matches your model number. Internal leaks can be due to a broken drain gasket, cooling tank, or push-in fitting. If your cooler doesn’t work anymore, the thermostat or refrigeration system could be the issue. Beyond replacing simple parts, hiring a pro who can reliably evaluate and fix the problem always makes sense.
Installing your own unit is a complex process that starts with finding the right spot. An indoor product should only attach to a wall that can support it, close enough to an existing drink water supply. It should secure to the wall and seal to the right pipes. DIYing this project can save money on installation costs—but it can also cost you if you make mistakes that you’ll need to correct later on. That's why it’s often best to work with plumbing professionals.