Water Softeners (etc..) advice/opinions/experience(s)

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Schizotypal Boy, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Schizotypal Boy

    Schizotypal Boy
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +2
    Living in a very hard water area, I've thought about getting a water softener or alternative over the last few years, but now as I am about to have a child, the idea returns to me and it's been somewhat difficult to determine the best option with all the pros and cons, weighing out what will be most cost effective in the end, and efficient enough, etc.. I forget the name of the company, but they have been consistent over the years in putting their gatefold pamphlets (with some parallels to a Scientology-style structure in terms of how they present themselves, which I found a funny angle for your marketing/promotion) through my letter plate, and last week I got another from a different company (Harvey's).. Also wondering whether salt or saltless is preferable, electronic or not electronic.. I'm more concerned with the water for showering and washing than for drinking (I have one of those Brita jugs for that), but seems the saltless will be better for drinking tap water.. There are so many brands, it's dizzying. I've been looking at these:

    This one (which a plumber told me about) seemed like a serious contender.. Nuvo H2O Reviews - Don't Buy without Reading this! until I see the bit at the end that says "However, if the hardness level of your water exceeds 10GPG, I wouldn’t recommend this product because you’ll need to replace cartridges frequently." which also made me think I need to get a water hardness testing kit to determine exactly how hard the water is before deciding on anything (though in the course of writing this, I did find this very useful site which seems to tell me the hardness in my area: How hard is water in my home, had to convert GPG to PPM for UK readings, 10GPG=171.3PPM.. the hard water in my area seems to be 261PPM, meaning 15.23GPG. Ah.).

    I found this website to be useful in explaining the pros and cons of different approaches, but it doesn't help make the decision easy! Salt Based vs. Salt Free Water Softeners – Water Softener Guide

    Premier Compact

    Water Softener | Water Softeners From UK's #1 Brand | Harvey

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00J6ANXYU/ref=s9_acsd_hps_bw_c_x_5_w

    Any suggestions or advice welcome!
     
  2. MrSossidge

    MrSossidge
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    6,299
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    East Riding of Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +5,281
  3. The Dark Horse

    The Dark Horse
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,299
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +845
    I have a Kinetico water softener, I think they are great. It isn't advisable to drink softened water, especially with kids or even water your garden with it, but they added another tap for unsoftened water to my sink for drinking. Another thing to be mindful of is some boiler manufacturers don't recommend the use of softeners if the boiler has a aluminium heat exchange, my one is steel so it was ok. Saying that the guy who runs Harvey softeners has argued for years that it makes no difference whether you have a aluminium one or not.
     
  4. Schizotypal Boy

    Schizotypal Boy
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +2
    Thanks, I checked the other thread, some insights.. also, interesting to read about the aluminium heat exchange as a potential issue. Will have to check my boiler spec I guess.. It all seems so complicated! I was mainly interested in water for showering, so perhaps one of those showerheads with built in filter is the way to go, a lot cheaper and targeting main concern. My problem there is the ceiling height and how those filters extend the showerhead by enough to make it touch my head, which obviously is not an acceptable compromise, unless I find a different showerhead filter that is within the showerhead and not attached to it.. (?).. But then I started thinking the soft water would be good for dishwasher and laundry too.. which bring me back to absolute ambivalence.
     
  5. The Dark Horse

    The Dark Horse
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,299
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +845
    Water softeners are said to prolong the life of your white goods, there is a noticeable difference to the water, much silkier and I found I glasses would slip out my hand a lot at first when taking them out the dishwasher. Before soap in the bath wouldn't bubble up, now it does and the kettle doesn't scale up like it did before. They aren't cheap but of your handy with DIY/plumbing you could install it yourself, I had to pay a company and it was around £1000 to buy and install. I think they are worth it though. Read up on your boiler, as I said the Harvey people dismiss the claims they can't be used if you have a aluminium HE.

    Can I use a water softener with my boiler if it has an aluminium heat exchanger? - Harvey Water Softeners
     
  6. Cliff

    Cliff
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Messages:
    6,438
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Kent Accra Rub Al Khali
    Ratings:
    +3,861
    I live in a hard water area an got one years ago.
    It's electronic, takes salt tablets and works well. Mine is an Ecowater, Perrmutat is similar. Look for one that only recharges after measuring the water you have used. Cheaper ones are just on a timer. The salt block ones don't use power, although this is about the same as a phone charger. Salt blocks are a little more expensive.(Kinetico)
    Best not to drink softened water regularly because there is some salt dissolved in the water.
     
  7. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    13,668
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Norfolk
    Ratings:
    +2,477
    We put in a second hand monarch water softener a few months ago and it definitely makes a noticeable difference. Second hand prices are rather low if you want to try it but aren't sure.

    It's a case of pros and cons though. There's less limescale build up but the water doesn't feel as nice. It's not as effective at washing soap off for example.
     
  8. DPinBucks

    DPinBucks
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    6,359
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Burnham, Bucks
    Ratings:
    +1,923
    We've had a softener for years. After the electric one finally gave up the ghost after 20 years or so, we've transferred to a non-electric one using blocks of salt. Not only does this not use any power, it measures the water and only re-charges when necessary, rather than after a fixed period of time. And blocks are infinitely easier to manage than loose granules or tablets.

    You shouldn't drink or cook with softened water, and anyway it tastes nowhere near as good as straight tap water, so we have a non-softened mains tap in the kitchen, and the garden taps aren't softened, either. Despite what some others have said, hard water straight from the tap is better for you than soft. The dissolved minerals are beneficial.

    If you have a dishwasher, you don't need to fill up its salt reservoir, because the water is already soft.

    I'm not sure what Endless Waves means about it not being as effective as rinsing soap off. It's perfectly fine for things like shampoo and bath liquid. If he means real soap, then it's far better, because there's none of the scum you get with hard water.
     
  9. Showoff

    Showoff
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,484
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,180
    I believe he means that it's harder to get that soaping/slimy feeling off your hands (etc..) with softened water which is true, but you just need to use less soap, which in another pro not a con.
     
  10. Cliff

    Cliff
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Messages:
    6,438
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Kent Accra Rub Al Khali
    Ratings:
    +3,861
    That is the perception but in fact it is wrong. Softened water actually is much better at getting the soap off. Yes it still feels so soapy longer than hard but that is because hard water doesn' t remove the soap so well. A good example would be like washing soap off with sea water. It would not feel slippery in one wash, but you would me mistaken in thinking you have rinsed off. The soap is still there.
     
  11. Gavin_Hall

    Gavin_Hall
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2001
    Messages:
    875
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Maidstone, Kent
    Ratings:
    +174
    We have had a water softener for nearly 15 years, it's a Harvey's non-electric water softener that takes blocks, but can also take salt pellets. We got it when we moved into a very hard water area. The shower cubicle was a nightmare to keep clean and not scummed up.

    The benefits are stated above, I couldn't be without one. Shower cubicle no longer requires an angle grinder to keep clean, white goods certainly last longer, no salt in the dish washer, less detergent in the washing machine, softened water is also fine in our condensing boiler. We have a non-softened water tap in the kitchen. I cook with the softened water, it's fine, no different to adding salt really when cooking. As for the taste, well I don't drink it, the taste is certainly different from normal tap water!

    As an added Brucy bonus, the softener appears to be beneficial to the wife's eczema. As soon as we had it installed, she noticed a marked improvement in her symptoms.
     
  12. thariq

    thariq
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,889
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Ilford
    Ratings:
    +290
    I am also interested in this. only thing is I am worried about the salt content in the water. My stop cock is in the foyer under the floor boards of the house, 1920s terraced and the kitchen is an extension, so I have feeling if the softener is installed under the sink the only tap that would be getting the softened water would be the sink. Any one had theirs done and has an idea of a good company who do the survey and install
     
  13. The Dark Horse

    The Dark Horse
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,299
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +845
    Try Harvey water softeners, I have never used them but they are a national company so likely to have local installers. I've heard they are good.
     
  14. russ123

    russ123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Messages:
    836
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    South Of The River
    Ratings:
    +115
    I had a quote 18 months or so ago from a local firm which was nigh on £1500. I thought that pricey but what really put me off was there was no easy way to run a separate untreated feed to the kitchen. I am South London so nothings cheap! The softener was going to have to go in the cellar before all the pipework split off and I've a tiled slate kitchen floor.

    I solved that this year by laying a polypipe myself when having some other work done upstairs which meant I could go up and over.

    Admittedly this was for the top end softener with dual chambers so it still softens when regenerating and no electric etc.

    I had Harveys in but the guy quoted £1800 (they only do the same sort of high-end machine). I asked him what the difference was to a much cheaper softener but he didn't really impress with his answers and just said this was the Rolls Royce machine so not comparable. They only give a one year guarantee and charge for any more, hardly Rolls Royce! They are like double glazing salesman so I'm sure you can haggle but he didn't even start the ball rolling. The one good thing with them is buy it and try it for a couple of months and see if you like it and then if you return it, just pay a hire fee.

    I ended up getting the original company back who honoured the original quote even though the unit had gone up since, included the separate kitchen tap plus an outside one and a couple of other bits. This unit always had a ten-year guarantee.

    Re the salt, it doesn't actually use salt to soften. The water passes through a resin bed which extracts the minerals/hardness. The machine monitors the flow to know when the resin bed needs cleaning. It then uses a salty solution to do this. Any salt in the supplied water is only picked up from any left in the bed which should be minimal with a good machine.

    Hope that helps.
     
  15. Wahreo

    Wahreo
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    15,263
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,400
    I did a softener a few weeks back. £900 all in.

    Closest price to me was £1350.

    I still did rather well for ¾ of a day at work.

    Decent water softener too. I also installed a pressure reducing valve which is often forgotten by installers.

    I'm half tempted to start a little side line in water softeners.
     
  16. thariq

    thariq
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,889
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Ilford
    Ratings:
    +290
    thanks Russ, I am in East London, was it a local company that did yours and would it be possible to send me their number?

    Wahreo, that sounds like a good deal, what type of softner was it and did you have to rerun any pipes?
     
  17. Wahreo

    Wahreo
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    15,263
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,400
    That was just a standard install. Pressure reducing valve, by pass in, drilled out the overflow and connected the waste in. Supplied a bag or two of salt and about £80 in bits.

    This one:-

    BWT Water Softener 14Ltr
     
  18. russ123

    russ123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Messages:
    836
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    South Of The River
    Ratings:
    +115
    The company is called Waterways in West Wickham and say they cover Kent, Surrey and South East London. I've a colleague in Richmond though and they wouldn't go there so I expect you are probably out of their area unfortunately.
     
  19. russ123

    russ123
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Messages:
    836
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    South Of The River
    Ratings:
    +115
    They fitted a reducing valve so I take that as an encouraging sign Wahreo!
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice