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Water Softener

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Water Softener

I'm thinking of installing a new water softener. Any suggestions as to a good make and rough cost?
25 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Water Softener

Mistral, I have two of them. See http://www.ukwatersofteners.co.uk/prodpage.cfm?CategoryID=32189&CFID=7888337&CFTOKEN=47524013
£400 to £500 pounds.
Most important is to not let it run out of salt, the salt is purely for backflushing and cleansing the internals of the water softener resin, the salt does not actually perform the softening.Remember this and you will get many years of life from the resin.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Water Softener

I'd look for a local installer (recommended by someone you know) who will make sure you have an appropriate model, properly set up for the water in your area, and installed to suit your needs.
We've had water softeners for many decades and in our situation it is installed outside under an insulated cover.
They last a long time, but not for ever. We're on our second. Both have been the "automatic" type that meter the water used and regenerate overnight when required.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Water Softener

If you're in an extremely hard water area then a softener is a good idea.
But, don't replace you're entire water supply with it, artificially softened water should not be drunk so keep a mains tap for drinking water. Softeners come into their own when feeding domestic appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. For dishwashers you can ignore that "low salt" warning, with washing machines the powder/tablets can be drastically reduced, you probably won't need a fabric conditioner either though the ladies like the smell.
Good for baths and showers....but don't drink it.
Some softeners can be surprisingly expensive to run.
Edit: youngest son has a sink mounted water boiler (never uses a kettle) these should also be mains connected, so therefore will still have the usual scaling problems hard water produces.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Water Softener

We have a separate "hard water" tap, added by our installed, for cold drinks etc.
And don't forget any outside taps you have, depending what used for (e.g. washing or watering) you may want them hard or soft (we have one of each).
Drinking it isn't a problem, it just doesn't taste right, hard water tastes MUCH nicer.  Smiley
BUT it does IMHO make much better tea and coffee and reduces furring up of the kettle.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Water Softener

@HP, softened water has a very high salt (and other chemicals) content which will account for the "taste" whether boiling removes these is open to debate.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Water Softener

No, not salt. If you have salt (sodium chloride) you have a faulty softener!  Shocked
Softened water is made by ion exchange of cations, largely sodium for calcium. The anions are untouched.
That's why it can feel a bit "slippery" to the touch, the same as a very dilute solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate).
How much crystallises on the element etc. when boiling will depend on how soluble the sodium salt is compared to the calcium equivalent around 100C. Most sodium equivalents are more soluble so deposit less.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Water Softener

It's a myth about you shouldn't drink softened water - in the US, everyone drinks it.
We had a Culligan softener previously that lasted 10+ years, but looking on their site it's not clear if they do domestic softeners anymore. I think now ours is a BWT Waterside softener.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Water Softener

One concern is the sodium content (salt equivalent)  but that really isn't a problem https://www.harveywatersofteners.co.uk/softened-water-faqs/drinking/yes-but-how-much-salt-is-that
There is also this http://www.ukwaterservices.com/drinking-softened-water which has a recommendation
Quote
It is the UK Department of Health that suggests limiting sodium to 200mg/l in drinking water for babies and those individuals on a sodium free diet.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Water Softener

Uhmm!! Ok, never being one not to admit an error, my experience of water softeners was during the 70's when working in R&D when we brought in from the states a number of softeners for trial purposes (mostly going to executives of the company) we would also be involved in the supply of the softening medium (packaged) sadly my memory doesn't recall the name of the product but I do remember the wrapping had a "do not drink the water" warning quite prominently on it.
Obviously things have moved on from then.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Water Softener

I had a water softner installed when I initially moved to East Kent in 2002 but with a separate drinking tap in the kitchen on the advice that the water wouldn't taste as nice filtered.
My parents, who moved around the same time to a house opposite from us, didn't and their water is horrid to taste straight from the tap. Strangley it is not as bad when it's been chilled in the fridge.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-11-2014

Re: Water Softener

My friend across the pond has a water softener (the water's so hard it's a case of "Do you want water with your glass of rocks?" as it comes straight from untreated limestone aquifers), works like a charm apparently and makes the water drinkable, prior to him having it installed the water always left white powder all over his shower (tiles, screen, etc.) after one or two showers, but afterwards it's stayed clean as a whistle... Smiley
Community Veteran
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Re: Water Softener

If you are happy adding Sodium to your diet, rather than calcium it's probably okay to drink softened water.
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sjptd
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Registered: 01-09-2014

Re: Water Softener

We have had a softener for years.  We usually drink water from the hard water tap they installed with our first softener, but use soft for the kettle.  We often drink the soft water directly as well if we are not handy for the hard tap; for example our bedside water.  No significant taste to the soft water; the hard water does have a slight taste which most people brought up in hard water areas prefer.
re: youngest son has a sink mounted water boiler (never uses a kettle) these should also be mains connected, so therefore will still have the usual scaling problems hard water produces.  The softener will usually be fitted on the mains inlet, so all mains water will be softened except for special taps taken just before the softener.  So the son should not have a scaling problem with a sink mounted water boiler.
We got a Harveys (branded Fountains), similar to Kinetico but slightly cheaper and (possibly) slightly better.  These don't need electric, and have dual tanks so they don't need to serve hard water during regeneration.  As regeneration is usually at night on a regular softener this is not a huge advantage.  Certainly get a metered softener rather than a timed one, they are a little more to buy but cheaper to run (on salt and on water).
Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Water Softener

I'm a bit confused. Some water softeners are mains powered others are not. What is the difference?
Also I read that some have timers but others don't. How do these vary?