Frequently Asked Questions about Water Softeners: Some Answers

How does it work?

Water softeners remove the minerals (calcium and magnesium) that are the cause of hard water. On average home 70 kilos of scale-forming elements (rock) are removed by a water softener from an average family home each year. The minerals are then washed away using a brine solution.

Should I leave my drinking water unsoftened?

It is usual, where practical, to leave one tap unsoftened. As part of your site survey we can advise on options for your drinking water.

How much will it cost to buy or rent?

As each household's needs and installation requirements vary, we offer a free no-obligation site survey to advise on a water softener.

Will I save money in the long term?

Yes, after as little as one week you will notice a minimum of 50% decrease in the amounts of detergents and soap powders that you are using. As softened water removes existing scale from the hot water cylinder and boiler you will benefit from a reduction in water heating bills, and appliances such as your washing machine will last longer.

What running costs and maintenance requirements are there?

You will need to top up the salt levels when the systems indicates the need for this. The cost of the salt is easily covered by the savings that you will make on soaps, detergents and cleaning products alone. The majority of water softeners we supply require no annual servicing. Although older water softeners do benefit from a 'health check' every now and then to check the efficiency and clean the resin.

How can I find space to put it?

Depending on which model you choose, the units are designed to fit into standard kitchen and utility room units, under a kitchen worktop, or could be installed in a garage or other suitable locations. For installation outside, a weatherproof cabinet can be used.

How is the water softener installed?

The rising main is intercepted and diverted to pass through the water softener, supplying soft water to the majority of the house, usually with the exception of a drinking water supply and outside tap. The water softener is installed using flexible hoses, so, like your other appliances, it can be relocated to a new property if you move.

What differences will I notice?

Several - firstly, you should notice that you need to use less soap, shampoo and detergent in order to feel clean. Laundry will feel softer and sinks and baths will be easier to clean. Your showers will run better and you won't need to descale appliances as often.

Will soft water improve my skin condition?

Yes, your skin and hair will feel softer. Many eczema and psoriasis sufferers notice an improvement in their condition and a reduction in itching and dryness. This is thought to be due to the removal of the elements that cause scum to form with soap, resulting in a lather which is kinder to skin. Click here to read more about eczema and soft water.

How can I find out more about hard water?

The Drinking Water Inspectorate has independent information about hard water areas, how hard water is formed, and advice about water softeners. Call us on 0118 984 1500, or complete our contact form for more information.