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Do you own a water softner?

(20 Posts)
napkin Tue 19-Mar-13 17:16:45

My washing is coming out of the machine bobbled and worn. Has anyone bought a water softner and found it benefits their washing? Trying to convince my OH in getting one but he thinks it's all a gimmick!

chocoluvva Tue 19-Mar-13 20:16:45

A very high spin-speed will do this too. I don't spin anything at more than 1200 (except for towels).

wendybird77 Tue 19-Mar-13 20:39:13

Soft water will be easier on your clothes. It also prevents limescale wrecking your appliances / gunking up your shower head / spots all over your shower door / crust around all your taps / etc. I grew up in the US where they are standard and it was a real shock moving to the UK where they are not! We've just bought our forever house and got one installed ASAP. We paid £500 for it and had it installed when we had our boiler changed. I'm told that it is as easy as plumbing in a washing machine. My hair is much nicer and cleaning is much easier since we had it installed. You will have an on-going salt cost which will depend on your water usage. Generally our salt costs are going to be about £10 a month. Once you have one you won't go back.

undercoverlara Tue 19-Mar-13 22:02:30

We recently moved to an area with very hard water. It played havoc with my skin, I started to get eczema. We then had a water softener fitted and it is amazing the difference to all of our skin. The sink and shower are easier to clean etc etc, it is amazing.
We had a local watersoftner salesman come around and he softens the water (from your tap) and then shows you the difference, the unsoftened water goes scummy whilst the softened water has lovely bubbles. I thought it was a gimmick too until I saw that. Of course you need to live in a hard water area to see the benefit. I haven't noticed a difference with the washing except that I put less detergent in now.

I agree with Wendybird77 once you have one you would not be without it.


PigletJohn Wed 20-Mar-13 01:43:30

Yes and wouldnt be without it.

Dont know about bobbling.

ppeatfruit Wed 20-Mar-13 16:43:28

Bobbling can be helped by washing everything inside out.

Softeners don't have to cost £500 plus (in Fr. those salt using machine softeners cost nearly a 1000 euros!!) You can buy magnetic rings that fit to your pipes and stop the calcium going into the house and they cost £25 or so. I love softened water for everything and our water is very hard so i use a water filter for drinking.

Because they don't sell the rings here in Fr.hmm I use special magnetic softener balls that go into your washing machine and also into the toilet cistern. I put sea salts in the bath water.

PigletJohn Wed 20-Mar-13 17:13:39

Haha! Magnetic water conditioners! They work in the same way that a copper bracelet cures rheumatism, and are equally effective.

napkin Thu 21-Mar-13 16:47:38

I already have a magnetic water softener on my pipework, i have 2! They don't work!! I also wash all my clothes inside out, this helps a little but not a lot.

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 11:12:47

Yes I googled them and the results were not impressive I admit. napkin the balls in the washing machine help though. IMO!! At least they're better than the crap stinky liquid clothes softener that DH likes yuck.

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 11:15:47

napkin I used to put the cheap version of Calgon in my machine and that worked for the clothes, I now put a laundry ball of sodium bicarb in which is lovely for softness and colour etc.

lolalotta Fri 22-Mar-13 11:26:52

How are softness fitted and how do they work?

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 11:32:49

lolalotta There are different types; the expensive ones Maybe all the effective ones blush) use salt added to the water to 'soften' it and are fitted on to the pipes where your mains water comes into your house. Your best bet is to go to somewhere like John Lewis who'll be able to advise you.

PigletJohn Fri 22-Mar-13 11:54:32

Salt is not added to the water.

ion-exchange water softners are connected to the incoming water main so that water passes through them, and the water coming out is softened by the removal of Calcium from the water.

The machine does this by having a cylinder containing resin beads which, as the water passes between them, absorb the calcium from the calcium Carbonate dissolved in the water, and replace it with Sodium Bicarbonate (as used in baking powder and indigestion remedies).

When the resin beads are saturated with Calcium, the machine switches over, and passes a strong salt solution through the resin. This forces the calcium out (and is run to the drain) and the resin is recharged with sodium, ready to start the softening cycle again. Any remaining traces of salt are then rinsed away with fresh water, and discharged to the drain. When the machine has finished its regenerating cylcle, it then switches the valves back so that water is taken from the main again, and sent on to the taps.

During the regeneration cycle, the machine sets the valves so that any water used at the taps does not pass through the machine. For this reason a timer is included so that the resultant hard water will only be connected in the early hours of the morning, or at some other time when users will not often be using taps. Some machines have two cylinders, which they regenerate in turn, so that softened water is available from one while the other is in its regeneration cycle.

Depending on the size of your machine, and the amount of softened water used, the machine may have a regeneration cycle at intervals of a week or two. Most machines incorporate a small water meter so that they know when regeneration is due. Some operate on a timeclock which you set according to typical water use.

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 12:10:51

That's helpful Piglet and would explain the high cost of the machines, our house had one when we moved in but it was broken and we couldn't get it repaired (we tried believe me).

What would you say about using that 'softened' water for drinking? Is it best to keep a drinking water tap separate?

PigletJohn Fri 22-Mar-13 14:09:18

if you are on a very low sodium diet, for example you have kidney failure, or a FF baby, you would want an unsoftened water tap. I am happy with softened water.

I believe that the amount of sodium in a day's worth of softened water is less than in two slices of bread or a squirt of tomato ketchup. and far far less than in a macburger. You might want to look for the figures.

ppeatfruit Fri 22-Mar-13 14:18:36

I would have a normal drinking water tap because hard water is better for teeth and bones too. I love the soft water for the shower,bath, taps, cisterns and machines etc.

napkin Fri 22-Mar-13 16:53:51

ppeatfruit how much sodium bicarb do you use? Do you use less detergent and fabric conditioner with it?

ppeatfruit Sat 23-Mar-13 12:17:05

Sorry napkin My last post was just as MN went offline grin.

I don't use either detergent or fabric conditioner. I use one of those special balls with tiny detergent granules in them that you can refill. I use half to 3\4 of a normal laundry ball with bicarb depending on the state of the wash and its very successful it also 'keeps' the colours good.

Chipping75 Thu 28-Mar-13 21:03:53

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

napkin Sat 30-Mar-13 21:39:23

Thanks Chipping75 that is very useful information x

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