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Salt Softeners

Salt softeners are the traditional method of removing scale from your house and softening the water.

Softened water is "slippery" to the touch and requires much less soap / detergent to wash things.

 

How Do They Work?

Salt softeners work by running your water over a "resin bed".

The salt is used to clean the resin via a regular process known as "flushing" aka "backwashing" - see below.

This process uses up the salt - so you need to add salt into your softener regularly.

 

Benefits / Pros of Salt Softeners

- They definitely work. The water is "slippery" / soft to the touch - and no scale forms

- Good for whole of house treatment

- Reduces heating bills by ensuring your boiler and pipes work properly

- Your kitchen and other appliances will last longer

- Save money on soaps / detergents

 

Disadvantages of Salt Softeners

- High initial cost

- Can be very expensive. There's a lot of advantage taken of "consumer ignorance". Units worth £500 are sold for £1,000 plus

- Requires high maintenance (regular addition of salt - heavy bags ! )

- Ongoing cost of salt and some replacement filters

- Should not drink the softened water (need a spare tap for non softened water by UK law).

- Not very eco-friendly. Besides issues with ongoing use of salt and electricity, the salted water causes issues after it leaves your home.

These disadvantages are why many people opt for the new saltless softeners instead (More information here)

 

How Long Do They Last ?

Ten to twenty years, depending on the quality of the brand.

Ours should last for 20 years plus.

 

Do They Remove Pre-Existing Scale?

(Meaning will they clear scale that has already built up in your plumbing / pipes).

Yes, usually.

 

Are there Different Types - What should I be Looking Out For?

The basis of softening water with salt is the same regardless of the type or make of softener.

As with anything there are good brands. But as we've seen with other appliances such as washing machines, hoovers and dishwashers, because so many things are now made in China, a good brand name no longer guarantees high quality.

Be aware that anyone with a garden shed and access to a parts catalogue could make their own softener - and some people do. The problem with these is that they are unlikely to be high enough quality - if they fail the resulting water damage to your home could be significant.

Even a cheap washer or other small part can lead to failure.

A good rule is not to buy too cheap OR too expensive. (This applies to many things).

The following are the main variations to be aware of:

 

Size

The amount of water softened per hour depends on the size of the softener.

(Note: The "litre sizes" below refer to the resin's softening capacity - not to how much salt is used).

The most common domestic sizes are:

10 Litres

10L units will produce 0.5 cubic metres an hour. This is 500 litres per hour - suitable for a small to average sized house or flat.

15 Litres

15 L units give you around 0.7 cubic metres an hour, ie is 700 litres per hour - suitable for a larger house or flat.

Larger capacity softeners are available eg for commercial buildings like B&Bs or hotels, factories and so on. (If you need a bigger size please contact us)

Backwashing

This is the process of "regenerating" the resin by washing it with salted water. (The salt water left over from this process is what goes into your water supply - and makes the water unsuitable to drink).

(The resin is what actually softens the water - it changes the chemical composition of the calcium carbonate so it doesn't stick to your pipes).

Regenerating needs to be done regularly. There are 2 main ways of doing this

1) Timed / Clock

You set a timer / clock control on your softener to regenerate at a certain time of day, typically in the dead of night when no one's using the water.

2) Metered

The amount of water used before regenerating is pre-determined. When that limit is reached the softener starts the backwashing / regenerating process automatically.

This type of softener is more expensive to buy. But over time less salt will be used so it's the better alternative in the long run.

Both the above require electricity. If you have an issue with connecting your softener to an electric supply, there are mechanical / clockwork type timers available - though these are more expensive. Please contact us

 

How much do softeners cost?

A good water softener should only cost between £500 to £700.

Unfortunately some suppliers take advantage of customers who can end up paying £1000 or more. We have heard of people paying £3000 - particularly to direct sales operations ie people who knock on your door.

Buyer beware !

 

Our Recommended Best Buys

We have carefully researched the market to bring you the best value salt water softeners and have found the following.

These softeners are high quality units made in the UK - though some parts are made overseas and assembled in the UK.

 

Best Buy Timed Softeners

10 litre Cabinet Softener Unit, incl. 10 x 17 NSF Certified Mineral Tank, 1” Time Clock Softener Valve, 10 litres Cation Softener resin, and bsp adaptor kit. Plus brine well and float assembly. Read about NSF's strict product certification standards.

On sale now Only £495

Made in Britain

5 Year Manufacturers Warranty

More information and Ordering

 

******

15 litre Cabinet Softener Unit, incl. 10 x 24 NSF Certified Mineral Tank, 1” Time Clock Softener Valve, 20 litres Cation Softener resin, and bsp adaptor kit. Plus brine well and float assembly. Read about NSF's strict product certification standards.

Picture coming soon

On sale now Only £597

Made in Britain

5 Year Manufacturers Warranty

More information and Ordering

 

Best Buy Metered Softeners

10 litre Cabinet Softener Unit, incl. 10 x 17 NSF Certified Mineral Tank, 1” Metered Softener Valve, 10 litres Cation Softener resin, and bsp adaptor kit. Plus brine well and float assembly. Read about NSF's strict product certification standards.


On sale now Only £527

Made in Britain

5 Year Manufacturers Warranty

More information and Ordering

 

******

15 litre Cabinet Softener Unit, incl. 10 x 24 NSF Certified Mineral Tank, 1” Metered Softener Valve, 20 litres Cation Softener resin, and bsp adaptor kit. Plus brine well and float assembly. Read about NSF's strict product certification standards.

Picture coming soon

On sale now Only £597

Made in Britain

5 Year Manufacturers Warranty

More information and Ordering

 

Do you need a High Flow Kit ?

Standard plumbing systems installation kits included in the above prices. However if you have a combi boiler or an unvented system (eg megaflow etc) you will need a high flow kit. This gives you the required higher flow rate. Cost for the High Flow Kit is an additional £50 plus VAT

(We will call you after purchase to double check if you need this).

 

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0800 009 6611

 

Read About the New Alternative to Salt Softeners: Salt Free Water Softeners

 

More about Water Softeners / Anti-Scale Conditioners