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What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains more minerals than ordinary water, specifically calcium and magnesium. The water hardness increases when more calcium and magnesium dissolves in the water.

How can I tell how hard my water is?

There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either carry out a hard water test, or you can contact your local water board who have this information on record. Alternatively give us a call and we can tell you.

What is Water Softening?

Water softening is removal of the ions (calcium and magnesuim) that cause the water to be hard. The best way to soften your water is to use a water softening unit that is connected directly to the water supply.

What does a water softener do?

Water softeners use a very simple chemical reaction to gently soften your water. A softener works by forcing hard water into a tank of special resin. As the hard water passes over the resin a process of ion exchange occurs and this causes the water to become soft. After a while the resin becomes exhausted and has to be regenerated.

This is all achieved without any user input, aside from topping up the salt tank periodically. NOT at any point in the water softeners operating process does any salt enter into your water system.

What is the difference between a timed and metered water softener?

Time Clock - The more basic water softeners operate on a timed basis. The time clock is set to carry out its regeneration on set days. This is usually calculated by the hardness of your water supply, the capacity of the water softener and number of people in the property. When installed, the softener is set to regenerate at usually 2.00a.m. at the calculated regeneration frequency. To ensure that soft water is always available, the interval between regenerations will be under estimated rather than over estimated.
The softener will then regenerate at this set interval regardless of the volume of water used. If the water usage is low, for instance, one or more of the residence is away, there will be unused softened water capacity at the time of regeneration, which can be argued as an unnecessary waste of salt and regeneration water. Similarly, if there is an increase in your water usage, the softened water capacity will me than likely be exceeded and the water would go hard towards the end of the cycle before the next regeneration. If you are going to be away fromthe property for a period of time, i.e. on holiday, and there will be no water flowing through the water softener it is advisable that it is switched off until your return.
Metered - Metered water softeners are the most economical softener when it comes to using salt and regeneration water. A metered softener will only regenerate when a pre-set volume of softened water has been used regardless of the number of days this takes.
This avoids under or over regenerating of the softener when your water demand varies. Again the volume of softened water is calculated by the hardness of your water supply, the capacity of the water softener and number of people in the property.

How long does a water softener last?

A good water softener should last you up to 10 - 12 years. Many softeners that were supplied in the 1980's are still working today. they require little maintenance apart from filling them with salt when required, but we would recommend having your water softener serviced once every two years.

How often do I need to add salt to my softener?

The need for adding salt to your water softener varies depending on your water usage. the more often a softener regenerates, the more often you will need to add salt. We usually recommend you check your water softener's salt level once a month. If your salt levels are down to about 1 inch refill up to between halfway and two thirds full.

Is softened water safe to drink?

Softened water still contains all the natural minerals that we need. It is only deprived of its calcium and magnesium contents, and some sodium is added during the softening process. So in most cases softened water is perfectly safe to drink. It is NOT recommended that softened water is consumed by small babies, people on low sodium diets or people with heart problems.

Should I have a drinking water tap available?

It IS advisable as best practice to have a tap left un-softened so hard water is available for drinking purposes, and at fountain softeners this is what we recommend. When you install your water softener, you can provide unsoftened drinking water by either bypassing the cold tap at the kitchen sink or by providing a seperate feed to a drinking faucet for cold water only.

Does soft water taste salty?

No. The additional sodium is in the form of sodium carbonate and not sodium chloride (salt).

Can a water softener be used with lead pipes?

It is recommend that if you are going to install a water softener then you should change your lead piping.

When I move can I take my water softener with me?

Simply - yes you can. You can either do this yourself if you are confident with DIY or you can get a plumber to do it for you.

Does softened water help with skin complaints?

Many people swear by softened water with dry skin conditions and various studies have found it to be beneficial, with some doctors recommending it to patients with conditions such as eczema.