Things you might not know about water softeners
Water softeners are of benefit for many reasons, not just to prolong the life of your washing machine. They are advantageous for –
- Softening skin.
- Reducing the risk of limescale.
- Saving money on washing powder and softener.
- Reducing your water bills (a family of four can save up to £400 per year)
But what about the things you might not know about water softeners?
Is softened water drinkable?
In the UK, most softened water complies with the Drinking Water Regulations, ensuring the concentration of sodium does not exceed 200 mg/l, making it safe to drink. There are some reports that state babies and people on ‘low sodium’ diets shouldn’t drink softened water but if the levels are kept under the regulation 200 mg/l it makes it not only safe, but in fact wholesome.
Does softened water taste differently?
Just like most things in life, taste comes down to individual preference. Many people describe the taste of softened water as clean and pure, but some have a negative reaction to it, reporting a slightly metallic or ‘flat water’ taste. On the whole though, the majority cannot distinguish between the taste of softened from that of hard water.
Can you use softened water in a dishwasher?
Not only is that a yes, but if you set the water hardness indicator on the dishwasher to 0, you’ll no longer be required to put any salt into the machine, saving money too.
How quickly can you remove limescale when you start using softened water?
This is dependent on the level of limescale, but an average seems to be –
- Six weeks from a kettle, showerhead or iron.
- Six months from a boiler.
- Up to two years from pipes.
Where does all the scale inside your pipes go after you fit a water softener?
As the softened water begins to gradually dissolve the hardness, the tiny particles that breakaway are so minute they don’t affect performance of appliances or quality of water. Softened water that contains limescale from pipes contains 10 – 15 parts per million of hardness minerals, compared to hard water containing 300 parts per million hardness minerals. Once all the limescale has been removed softened water is completely free of hardness minerals.
Reports say that softened water has a slimy feeling. Is this true?
The transition from hard to soft water can take time and often the initial feeling of softened water can feel strange, not unpleasant, just strange. The slimy feeling however may be due to the amount of detergent, soap and bath products people are still using. It’s important to remember to halve the amount you would have been using with hard water. Soft water creates lather much more productively than hard water and in some reports “it can actually be up to a third more detergent that’s needed, compared to a soft water”.
Will my water softener require regular maintenance?
Adding the right kind of salt to the water softener is the most important routine maintenance required. This can be done on a quarterly basis by the homeowner for residential machines or by a professional company for industrial and commercial equipment. Although the machines are self cleaning, it’s good practice to get them serviced every 2 years. The modern machines are equipped with resin that should last a lifetime and therefore never need a replacement.
Can I take my softener with me when I move?
The simple answer is yes. A modern water softener is easy to disconnect from the mains supply and then install at a location of your choice in your new home. It’s worth remembering that these machines are compact and don’t take up the whole of the space underneath your kitchen sink.
For more answers contact one of our experts.