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Water softeners

Image showing hard water area in the South of England

Installing a water softener gives visible benefits around the home and can save you money by increasing the boiler's efficiency and improving the central heating system and flow of hot water.

Problems caused by hard water and limescale

Here in the southeast of England, the mains water supply is hard. This causes limescale build-up in the hot water system and pipes, unsightly scum and scale deposits in the kitchen and bathroom, skin problems, wasted energy and higher household running costs and fuel bills.

Does it really make a difference? Yes it does - the efficiency of an A-rated boiler can be reduced to a C-rating due to limescale and as little as 3.2mm of scale can increase fuel bills by as much as 25%!

Scaled-up heat exchanger from a boiler...

Scaled-up heat exchanger from a boiler...

Scaled-up pipework

and what it should look like!

Benefits of fitting a water softener

The images below show some of the benefits of fitting a water softener:

Scaled-up showerhead

Shower head

Scaled-up pipework

Central heating pipes

Scum and scale on the kitchen sink

Basins and sinks

Scale-free showerhead
Scale-free pipework
shiny sink no limescale

Save money by fitting a water softener

A water softener can pay for itself within five years and last up to 20 years. It can even move house with you!

The cost of the unit itself depends on the type and size, installation costs are based on the existing plumbing and accessibility. Installation is usually straightforward as it requires no power and can sit conveniently under the kitchen sink or in the garage. Thereafter, running costs and maintenance are minimal, it just needs a periodic top-up of block salt.

A typical family of four spending £250 a year heating hot water could save around £20 to £30 per year by installing a water softener because the boiler and hot water heating system can operate more efficiently. Existing scale in the system is gradually removed and doesn't form again so the life expectancy of your boiler and central heating system is extended.

The working life of home appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers is also extended, thus saving money on repairs or replacements. The need for day-to-day household products such as scale removers, washing detergents, shampoos and soaps is reduced.

How does a water softener work?

Rainwater is naturally soft but as it flows underground it collects calcium and magnesium minerals, gradually increasing in hardness. Unfortunately for us, the water supply companies don't soften this water before supplying it to our homes, despite the obvious damage it can cause!

This diagram shows how a water softener works

Mains hard water enters the water softener. Hardness minerals are trapped in a resin bed. This is periodically regenerated (cleaned) by flushing with brine (salt dissolved in water)

Water softener diagram

Softened water is distributed to the house, gradually removing existing scale deposits. Used brine flushes the hardness minerals down the drain.

Water softeners installed by Christopher Plumbing Services are made by Harvey Water Softeners. Contact us for further information or to make an appointment.