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Water softeners - do I want one?! Why are they good?

(47 Posts)
RubyRedRuby Fri 31-Mar-17 09:54:30

House is being re-plumbed and the plumber has asked us to make a quick decision about whether we want one or not. Anyone got any thoughts on the matter? Thanks

PigletJohn Fri 31-Mar-17 10:26:21

Yes

Your hair, skin, towels and clothes will be softer.

Your bathroom and kitchen will look cleaner and need less effort and less cleaning materials

Your mirrors and windows will be clearer

Your car will be shinier

Your iron will last longer

You will spend less on washing powder, soap, bath foam, household cleaners

Kiroro Fri 31-Mar-17 12:01:11

Yes yes yes! This is my dream to have when/if I get a chance to redo my kitchen!

NewPurrs5 Fri 31-Mar-17 14:15:44

Please tell me what magic this is so I can get one too!

LapdanceShoeshine Fri 31-Mar-17 14:16:29

How hard is your water?

RubyRedRuby Fri 31-Mar-17 17:24:14

Our water is hard - lots of limescale on kettle/showerhead etc. I'm not sure how I would quantify exactly HOW hard it is though.

Thanks PigletJohn, you seem very passionate about it! The thing that's putting me off is drinking water being restricted to the kitchen only.

PigletJohn Fri 31-Mar-17 19:14:12

the amount of sodium (not salt) in the water is extremely small, less than in milk, mineral water or coke, or a slice of bread or a blob of ketchup or a bowl of cornflakes.

So even if you drink your bathwater by the gallon, I doubt it will hurt you.

I believe softened water is not considered suitable for FF babies or people with kidney disease.

I did copy some links about it on a previous thread.

didireallysaythat Fri 31-Mar-17 22:54:51

You can look up how hard the water is in your area by putting your postcode into your water suppliers website. Worth looking at the map of the UK too. MIL said her water was hard until we pointed out ours was massively hard and hers quite soft.

llangennith Fri 31-Mar-17 22:59:07

You could also have a drinking water tap put in the bathroom. It'll cost more but if you're having work done anyway...

llangennith Fri 31-Mar-17 23:00:05

Water softening treatments usually involve adding salt to the water so definitely not for drinking!

PigletJohn Sat 01-Apr-17 02:29:59

No they don't.

Salt is used to regenerate the synthetic resin which absorbs the calcium from the dissolved calcium carbonate which causes water hardness.

Softened water actually contains a tiny amount of sodium bicarbonate, as used in baking powder, indigestion remedies, etc. Not salt.

PigletJohn Sat 01-Apr-17 02:36:04

Here we are

www.merleswater.com/blog/bid/144148/Drinking-Softened-Water-How-Much-Sodium-in-Softened-Water

Look up the amount of sodium in a slice of bread, and compare it to the amount in a glass of softened water.

Then try a teaspoonful of skimmed milk.

Idefix Sat 01-Apr-17 08:30:19

I thought you weren't supposed to drink the water in the bathroom etc as it comes from a tank, or is that just the hot water? confused

PigletJohn Sat 01-Apr-17 09:54:50

Depending on local practice, some bathrooms have cold water straight off the mains, and some, from a loft tank. Loft tanks might have drowned spiders and other wildlife in them, especially if they do not have a tight fitting lid.

But I was not seriously suggesting you should drink your bathwater.

shocklate Sat 01-Apr-17 10:52:38

We had a water softner put in for the whole house plus we had a tap dedicated to drinking water in the kitchen. It's also a hot/cold tap - so it's filtered but not softened.

All works very well.

pinkpanda101 Sun 02-Apr-17 11:09:07

Do it! We got one in our new build and the difference is amazing. Old house had 5yr old taps that had practically disintegrated from limescale (I'm not a very diligent cleaner!) and the kettle was a disgusting mess. Water softener means no need to add salt to dishwasher and everything's sparkling clean, it's also economical in terms of laundry detergent, bubble bath and washing up liquid. The kitchen tap and the water dispenser on the fridge are mains water (unsoftened) - realistically how often do you pour a drink of water from any other tap in the house?

You will need a 60cm cupboard to house it in however smile

RubyRedRuby Sun 02-Apr-17 18:01:14

Thanks everyone. Any recommendations on which one to fit? I've seen a Wickes own one which has really good reviews.

RandomMess Sun 02-Apr-17 19:01:24

Mine was the best money ever spent, cleaning becomes easy peasy, even got a black kitchen sink grin

We went with the following one as recommended by our local merchants. They told me that the designer basically nicked all the best ideas from the other manufacturers! It was small - designed to fit under a sink or certainly only half the width of standard kitchen cupboard.

I've just copied and pasted from the local merchant's website

"Water conditioning
There are several ways to provide ‘conditioned water’ for a house, but the most commonly recognised is the water softener. We supply softeners from several manufacturers, but one we can fully recommend and endorse is the Atlantis AT210, which we have been offering for about six years. During that time we have had only the smallest problems with estimated breakdowns of less than one a year! It is offered as either standard (conventional coldwater storage tank) or highflow (pressurised water system) options."

PigletJohn Sun 02-Apr-17 20:36:19

I'm in favour of getting one from your local specialist. Phone and say "do you repair water softeners?"

If no, try another.

Then ask if they deliver salt in 10kg bags, or in blocks.

If they do all that, ask if you can call and look at the softeners they sell.

The machine is very simple, made up of standard parts, but you need someone local. IME they will go ten or twenty years. Last time I bought a recon exchange because it was better value than a repair.

A big one has a larger container so needs filling with salt less often. Consider how you will carry the bags and tip them in. Mine is in the garage and easy to get at. Some places only sell 20kg or 25kg bags.

They are heavy when full so stand on the floor, not the bottom of a cabinet.

Do not carry salt in your own car because even a single spilled crystal will eat a rust hole through the body. Look in the delivery van and you will be shocked. Also do not put the softener where you can't sweep up spillages and sponge clean easily, or where salt may contact tools, bikes etc.

thenightsky Sun 02-Apr-17 20:47:15

we've had one for 2 years now. We buy the blocks of salt, which last about 6 weeks.

Best thing ever. No more opaque shower screens. No more stalactites on the taps.

We have, however, kept a tiny tap in the utility room purely for tea making. Tea tastes slight odd made with softened water. Coffee, hot choc, etc, all taste fine.

We are in the hardest of hard water areas in the UK I think. Lincolnshire.

RandomMess Sun 02-Apr-17 20:56:06

Thames Valley for us, very hard water.

We had a filtered tap fitted by the sink anyway (rather than use a brita jug) so everything else in the house was softened. Loved my black sink, and how my shower screen stayed clean! Grew up with softwater so limescale gave me issues grin

shocklate Mon 03-Apr-17 00:08:06

Ours is a Monarch. It seems to work well but I've nothing to compare it with having grown up with soft water but then moving here to hard as Henderson's water. Our softener is in the garage, next to the bags of salt. It doesn't seem to use much (had it two years)

ShortLass Mon 03-Apr-17 17:21:28

Just watch out that some manufacturers (eg, Miele) don't recommend connecting washing machines to water softeners. My parents have a water softener, but connect their washing machine and dishwasher (which softens water itself with salt) to the unsoftened mains water.

It seems bonkers, I know, but I did a quick google and it seems to be a thing.

I'm about to get a water softener for when I refurbish the house and I was shock at this.

pirsonal Mon 03-Apr-17 17:31:08

ShortLass - I think Miele and any others that are saying that are just covering their arse. You know what it's like these days. Its not going to damage the machine.

yellowdaffsarein Tue 04-Apr-17 06:38:43

Go for it.
Our plumber persuaded us when we were doing renovations and I love it.
No more limescale showers and washing is much softer.
We do have unsoftened in the kitchen tap though for drinking, but I fill the coffee machine from the utility room to avoid it clogging up.

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