Water softener unit – anyone had one fitted?

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  • Water softener unit – anyone had one fitted?
  • I had a water hardner fitted. Helps me to avoid needing to MTFU.

    nsaints
    Member

    I have one – fitted by the previous owner
    I’ve decommissioned it – the price of the salt needed has gone through the roof

    The Fopster
    Member

    Follow the dosage instructions – you probably need to use more washing powder. It has softener in it (i.e. like Calgon). If you use the right amount you shouldn’t have any issues and shouldn’t need more additives.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Thanks for sensible and not-so-sensible replies!

    I’ve not seen water as hard as this before. My kettle looks as though it needs descaling every week. Have used Calgon in the past and that worked out expensive.

    Just wondering if it’s worth having the whole water system (apart from drinking water) on soft water. Surely showers would work more efficiently?

    nsaints
    Member

    You don’t want to drink softened water – you’re removing the minerals – right?

    my installation at home has a seperate feed/tap for drinking water which bypasses the now decommissioned softener

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    No, one would still have a separate tap for drinking water.

    Hard water tastes best

    King-ocelot
    Member

    My mum and dads house has really bad water. We used to go through shower heads, kettles, washers really fast. They got a Britta (sp) filter and it only improved a bit, same with calgon etc. Now have a water softener fitted and everything’s much better, neighbours followed suit and all say it’s improved.

    GTDave
    Member

    For what area? Ours is harder than nails, Calcium Carbonate content of 300mg/L (120mg/L Calcium).

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    Got a water softener , use 25 kg of salt every 6 weeks. Works out a lot cheaper than all the descaler, soaps, shampoos. Cost me £4 a bag delivered. Also my wife had excema and that has all cleared up. Kiddies skin is better, no need to descale the shower heads, taps and spend a fortune on Viakal to clean the baths and showers.Muck on the baths and showers are just a light dust, which wipes off easily. Its nearly all a win situation. If your water is as hard as you say, then the long term is that the hot water cylinder will be totally scaled up and the pipes too. It thats the case then you are wasting more than the £4 in energy a month in heating nothing for a bag of salt. Genuine benefit to us and anyone that uses one.

    johnners
    Member

    You don’t want to drink softened water – you’re removing the minerals – right?

    It’s possible that sufficient minerals are available from elsewhere, like food maybe? I mean food’s pretty solid compared to water so I’m guessing it’s got a higher mineral content.*

    *I’m not a scientist.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    GTDave – mine’s 311mg/L

    I thought that not all units ran on salt these days?

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    Water softeners have resin inside them, that absorbs all the bits out the water you dont want and the salt is used to backwash the bits out the resin to start the process all over again. there are other alternatives you can buy, but when I was looking, various plumbers said, dont waste your money and get a softener.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    According to my water company, I live in a ‘very hard water’ area. Have just had the heating element of a 3.1/2 year old washing machine replaced due to limescale BUT have only lived in this area for a couple of months. 😯

    From what I can see, it’s a lot of money to buy a unit but what I don’t know is how much it would cost to run. Is it really worth spending the money?

    Would be very interested to hear of any experiences.

    As always, thank you so much. 🙂

    Murray
    Member

    Got one, no longer have to descale the toilets, scrub sink to get rid of limescale etc. Highly recommended provided it’s metered properly i.e. only regerates as required. Also, fix all dripping taps etc or it’ll cost a fortune softening water that you don’t use.

    They work by subsituting sodium ions for the calcium ions in your water using an ion exchange resin. The sodium and carbonate ions will then be in your water. You don’t want to be drinking the softened water unless you want a high sodium diet!

    The salt regenerates the ion exchange resin by replacing the calcium ions captured from the water with new sodium ions.

    Marge
    Member

    They are great (where required).
    We have had one fitted now for around 18months and it has got rid of the scale build up.
    This had damaged our boiler not no mention, the more replaceable household items.

    Make’s more bubbles in the bath now too 🙂

    We had one in our shared house in reading, salt was about £5/25kg bag depending on where you bought it and quantity (basicly if you bought it from a supermarket it costs 5x more, costco/makro not bad, industrial supplies was basicly free + delivery).

    Used a bag every other month between 3 of us.

    Missus’ flat in the same area, we spent more than that on shower heads as the limescale would rip appart the rubber bits or block plastic holes in under a month! Swaped for a ‘limescale proof’ showerhead costing a fair bit but is rebuilable and has a pressure activated spikey thing that breaks up the scale in the head when it starts to block.

    tonyd
    Member

    CG – you’re in the Crowthorne area if I remember from other posts? I’m in Fleet and the water is really hard, same experience as you – taps, shower, everything is really hard to keep clean. The wife bought a new kettle a while back and within days/weeks it looked years old. We have to descale it almost daily – we’ve a young baby and have to use a tea strainer when making up bottles!

    We’re in rented currently so it’s not so big an issue for us but when we find a place to buy I’ll be looking closely at softeners so will watch this thread with interest.

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    CG and Tony, I get my salt from a place in Basingstoke. Minimum order of 6 bags for free delivery. I ‘think’ they are called Just Salt. A lot cheaper than most. I get it delivered to Thatcham for free, so you could to Crowthorne/ Fleet etc.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    Avoid the ‘magic moonbeam’ electric ones that run on a coil around your water pipe. Previous owner had one fitted, I’ve noticed no difference with it on or off over several months.

    I can see a benefit of a proper one, have you had any quotes yet?

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Thanks for so many replies. 🙂

    tonyd – no longer there but Wiltshire instead. Have compared carbon calcium levels and Wiltshire is harder.

    I’m shocked that my washing machine has needed a new heating element after only 3.1/2 years, live on my own too. Previous machines have gone 6/7 years without replacing it. Can only assume therefore that the Berkshire area has been getting progressively harder water.

    I’ve bought some Miele descaler sachets that should be used every 3 months but am really concerned as to heating bills/appliances not working efficiently.

    As soon as I moved here, I replaced the shower heads and hoses cos they looked like a health hazard!

    Those using them – does the price of salt increase regularly?

    Thanks. 🙂

    Premier Icon sadmadalan
    Subscriber

    I too live in Fleet and have a descaler. Ours uses the block salt variety which also has gone up in price, however we are very happy that we don’t have to clean all the scum from all the services or spend a fortune on Calgon.

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    CG, salt is like a gold market and can fluctuate. It obviously goes up in the winter relative to salt they might/ probably wont ( delete as appropriate) put on the roads etc………

    thered
    Member

    My next door neighnour has had one and is very please with it, sorry but I’ve no idea about costs

    nsaints
    Member

    C_G this is who supplied my softener – they’re in Marlbourgh
    http://www.thewatersoftenercentre.com/

    owenfackrell
    Member

    We have one of these and it is very good. We live in hampshire with hard water and both my wife and daughter have eczema and find that soft water helps as you use less soap in every thing and its knder to the skin. the blocks last a good while though i couldn’t give a week period. they aren’t that expesive to buy as you can buy in bulk and store them easily enough. The softner is not cheap to get in the first place but it doesn’t use electricity. As i said we got it for the eczema problem but it has other benifits like no scum on the tea. and i have not had to descale anything since we got it and it actually helps remove scale build up.
    We also use water sofning plant here at the hospital so that we don’t have scale build up which backs up the claims of it being cheaper in the salt than the costs of scale build up.

    tyke
    Member

    The missus decided she was fed up with the limescale and also felt the hard water was irratating her skin. So we plumped for one of the more expensive models – Kinetico 2020c Water Softener. Her view was get the best and we will take it with us if we move. Had it about 3years, been trouble free and as a sceptic I have been surprised that even I can notice the difference. As most of the posts say shop around for salt. Ours uses block salt and lasts around 6 weeks, so not too expensive to run.

    When looking to buy the softner unit you might not find much difference in prices between suppliers and most include “free” installation, so negotiate on the amount of free salt they will give you.

    Bear
    Member

    second the Harvey softener (am a dealer for them but don’t really push that side of my work).

    Salt prices are very stable actually, think there is usually an increase every 18 months or so. Block per person per month is the rough guide for a Harvey softener. The benefit is all round the house except drinking water which should remain hard.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    Water softeners have resin inside them, that absorbs all the bits out the water you dont want and the salt is used to backwash the bits out the resin to start the process all over again

    Afaik this is wrong. The process is an ion exchange where the ‘hard’ salts are replaced but the ‘good’ salt that you add. The resin is used to hold ‘good’ salt ions during the exchange process and there is a timer or counter that says when the resin needs to be flushed of all of the hard salts and ‘reloaded’. The point of all of this is that you *can* drink the water that comes out (we do in our house), it is just a little saltier than normal. You can’t really taste it in tea/coffee but you are advised against using it for making up baby food.

    Check out how much they cost to service annually, you might find there is some silly part that they insist on replacing every couple of years at a silly price

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