Why use a Whole House Water Softener System in your Home?

Oct 26 09:07 2007 Justin March Print This Article

Water is called "hard" if it contains a lot of calcium or magnesium dissolved in it.  A Water Softener is a device that monitors and reduces the hardness of the water it does this by removing the calcium and magnesium salts from a water supply.

What is a Water Softener?

Water is called "hard" if it contains a lot of calcium or magnesium dissolved in it.  A Water Softener is a device that monitors and reduces the hardness of the water it does this by removing the calcium and magnesium salts from a water supply.

All softeners work in essentially the same way,Guest Posting the incoming water enters the softener and passes through a tank of ion exchange resin. The resin traps all the magnesium and calcium that create lime scale and leaves the soft water to enter your water system. The machines often contain an automatic timer control which will periodically clean or regenerate the resin. This is done by passing salt water through the resin which swaps places with the magnesium and calcium ions and allows the trapped minerals to be flushed away. The remaining brine along with all of the calcium and magnesium is flushed down the drain. 


How could a Water Softener help me?

Hard water can cause 2 main problems in the typical household:

1. Issues Relating to Scale

The calcium and magnesium precipitates out of the water and sticks to things causing "scale" to form on the inside of pipes, water boilers, tea kettles and so on.  The scale doesn't conduct heat well and reduces the flow through the pipes which can ultimately become completely clogged potentially leading to expensive repair bills. 

2. Reducing the Effectiveness of Soap

Hard Water reacts with soap to form a scum and reduces soap's ability to lather, this impacts on cleaning throughout the house including washing, bathing and sink cleaning, glassware and crockery cleaning etc.


How do I maintain my Water Softener?

Water Softeners require little maintenance other than the occasional top up of salt, however there are various ways in which you can maintain your water softener and prolong its life:

Some water supplies contain impurities that may affect your softener if left untreated. Iron, dirt, silt, organics and bio film may not be removed by the salt regeneration system and older resin beds may start to suffer from iron fouling.  There are a range of products on the market which when added to your softener will solve these issues “Rust Out” and “Softener Mate” are two of the more common products on the market and maybe used annually or when required to keep your softener in tip top condition.

Avoid using standard rock salt in your softener although it’s less expensive in the long run large amounts of sediment may build up in the brine tank this sediment can clog the softener up leading to costly repairs.

Clean the brine tank annually and remove any sediment as even pure salt contains some contaminants.

Add more salt only when the salt in the brine tank is used up, only fill the tank to two-thirds full to avoid issues with sediment build up.


What do the Water Bylaws say about Water Softener Installation?

When installing your Water Softener the UK Water Bylaws require that one tap in the house is left unsoftened.  This may be accomplished by installing a third dedicated tap at the kitchen sink.  In effect the whole house has softened water and the dedicated tap provides hard water for drinking, cooking etc.  It’s also recommended that any outside taps are fed with unsoftened water to avoid waste. 

What else should I bear in mind before I install my Water Softener?

If you are about to purchase a new kitchen it maybe the ideal time to consider installing a water softener, alternatively you could install it in the garage, laundry room or airing cupboard.  Normally the water softener will be installed to soften all of the water in the house except for the dedicated tap at the kitchen sink and any outside taps.  This means finding a site that has space for a water softener and which allows:

  • Your plumber to find a route from your rising main to the water softener site.
  • You may wish to consider filtering the water supplied via your dedicated tap using a carbon filter; this will remove any tastes and odours that are present in your mains water.  In effect you will have clear fresh tasting drinking water and softened water through the remainder of your house.
  • For the regeneration process you will need to identify a place where waste water maybe disposed of.
  • You will need to supply the softener with electrical power typically this is reduced down to 12 volts via a transformer.
  • If your house has lead pipes then these have to be replaced, before softened water can flow through them. This is because soft water is more prone to cause the pickup of lead which is undesirable for obvious reasons.

All electrical work must be carried out by an qualified electrician and conform to current IEE Wiring Regulations and the applicable Building Regulations. You are advised to check with your local authority’s Building Control Department before starting work.


What is the best Water Softener Salt to use?

Water Softener salt typically falls into 3 categories; Rock salt, Solar salt and Evaporated salt. 

  • Rock salt occurs naturally in the ground and is obtained from underground salt deposits using traditional mining methods.
  • Solar salt is obtained through the evaporation of seawater and is usually sold in crystal form or as pellets.
  • Evaporated salt is obtained through mining underground deposits of dissolving salt the moisture is then removed by evaporation.

We would not advise the use of Rock salt unless you are willing to perform a regular brine tank cleanout as Rock Salt contains a relatively high level of water insoluble matter.  Evaporated salt is considered the best salt to use as it contains much less insoluble matter than even solar salt, if salt use is light then one could probably use Solar and Evaporated salt interchangeably, heavy use will lead to insoluble elements building up faster and the need to more frequently clean the brine tank will increase.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Justin March
Justin March

This article was written by Justin March on behalf of Water Coolers Direct suppliers of Water Softener Systems in the UK

WaterCoolers Direct.com Ltd offers this article as ‘Guidance Only’. Therefore, WaterCoolers Direct.com Ltd and its employees or representatives cannot be held responsible for any purchasing decisions or work carried out as a result of this article.

View More Articles