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What does a Water Softener do?

It may sound obvious but a water softener supplies you with soft water. In a nutshell this means no more water marks, no more lime scale build up on taps and heating elements and you will cut your soap usage to a fraction of its former levels.

So what is the difference between soft and hard water? Hard water contains a number of minerals, the hardest of these being Calcium and Magnesium. These minerals are deposited around your plumbing system and can typically be seen building up on taps and heating elements as lime scale and in the form of water marks in kitchens and bathrooms. A water softener removes these hardness minerals leaving you with soft water. Soft water doesn't leave water marks and can even break up and flush out lime scale deposits within your plumbing system, this protects your pipes and heating elements. In fact we're so confident in the benefits of soft water, Greens Water Systems will issue you with a lifelong guarantee for your boiler's heating element when we install a Water Softener. No lime scale deposits means your dishwasher, boiler, washing machine, kettle, anything with a heating element will work more efficiently and result in lower bills. You will also find your soap usage cut considerably.

How does a water softener work?

Water Softeners use something called ion exchange resin to remove hardness minerals in your water supply.Though you can have hardness of varying severity, there are no degrees of soft water. Once the hardness minerals have been removed you have soft water, and will enjoy the benefits associated.

To make your water supply soft you generally place the softener near to the property's rising main, as the water enters your house, it passes through the softener and filters through a vessel filled with the ion exchange resin, the resin captures the hardness minerals and allows the water to flow through and into your house.

What is water softener salt for?

A Water Softener uses salt to remove the captured hardness minerals from the ion exchange resin. The salt is dissolved to make a high concentration brine which is pumped through the resin and flushed out through a waste pipe, the salt that is put into Water Softeners doesn't actually soften the water, it is simply used to clean the resin.

Can you drink softened water?

Yes you can, however we always recommend leaving a single tap on hard water in the kitchen. Some people prefer the taste of hard water, or in very hard areas the the sodium level in the water can rise slightly so people with heart conditions or on low sodium diets should have an alternative. There are a range of 3 way taps that can provide both soft and hard water through one tap, or a separate filter tap can be installed alongside the softener.
There are many options available and should you be interested we would love to discuss which solution would be best for you.

How much will a water softener cost me?

There are a large variety of Water Softeners on the market each with pros and cons. We supply Softeners starting from £286 all the way up to £2000. However it is hard to give a simple price for a Softener because of the number of factors your choice depends on, please review the information below in the section "I might be interested in a water softener, what are my options?" to see what factors should be taken into account when selecting a Water Softener.

What are the ongoing costs associated with a water softener?

Modern Water Softeners are among the most reliable domestic appliances you can buy, but this does mean they can sometimes be forgotten about. Most manufacturers recommend you have your softener serviced every few years to ensure its longevity and smooth working. A Water Softener Service from Greens Water Systems costs £74.50 including VAT, and will ensure that your Softener remains working as it should. You can find out more about our Water Softener servicing here.

Salt
Your softener will consume salt during its regeneration period; how often it regenerates depends on the hardness of your water and how much water you use. As a very rough estimate you can estimate your salt usage as one pack of salt per person every month, but please bear in mind that this can vary dependant on your circumstances.

I might be interested in a water softener, what are my options?

There are many competing brands and models of Water Softeners. The best one for you will depend on your household water usage, the hardness of water in your area, the water pressure and flow rate and even the space available in your home.

If you live within Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire or East Yorkshire we would recommend a free home visit. This is without obligation and allows us to test your water hardness and pressure, and with a water bill we can calculate your water usage. With this information we can recommend a softener or two that best meet your needs.

For an engaging and informative hour with one of our water softener experts at no cost to you (although a coffee would be nice!) just call us on 01522 509383 to arrange a visit or request one using this form.

If you would like more information on the types of Water Softeners we have on offer or you can find info on our specific softener models in our online shop here.

What does a water filter do?

The concept behind filters is simple: capture all the undesirables and let clean water through. This is accomplished using a material with microscopic pores, or holes. These pores, which can be less than 1/1000th of a millimeter in diameter, let water molecules pass through but are too small for bacteria and viruses to fit.

How does a water filter work?



The vast majority of filters used by consumers once water reaches our homes are made of activated carbon. Activated carbon is popular because just a very small amount has a very large surface area; just a single gram of activated carbon has the surface area of four tennis courts! A large surface area in such a compact volume means there are a greater number of very small pores available to absorb organic compounds and pollutants.

What is the difference between a water softener and a water filter?

A water filter takes out the bad tastes and smells from water, making it safe to drink, but a water filter does not filter out limescale. A water softener takes out only the minerals that cause Limescale from the water, protecting your household plumbing and appliances from the damages and cleaning requirements of limescale.

This is the basic difference between the two systems. Some customers have both installed for the best of both worlds.

What are the different types of water filters?

Here are the different types of filter systems available and their functions.

Reverse-Osmosis
Reverse-osmosis devices, usually installed underneath the sink, use a membrane with pores tiny enough to screen out inorganic chemicals such as chloride and sulfate. They can be expensive to purchase and may be difficult to install. In addition, they can waste as much as three gallons of water for every gallon that is treated.

Activated Carbon Filters
Carbon material—such as coal, charcoal, and wood—is used in these devices to reduce organic chemicals, such as those that can cause offensive tastes and odors. They are less expensive to purchase than many other types of treatment units and don't waste water. Some units can enhance bacterial growth, so frequent replacement of the filter cartridge, which adds to the cost of the operation, is necessary.

Distillers
Distillers are effective at reducing the levels of most chemicals except organic chemicals. A distiller boils water and then condenses the steam, removing contaminants in the process. A distiller is less expensive to purchase than a reverse-osmosis system but more expensive to operate since it uses more energy.

Filters
The simplest type of point-of-use devices, filters trap particles in a porous material while allowing water to pass through. They can reduce particles like sand and rust but cannot remove anything dissolved in the water. Filter devices are relatively inexpensive to purchase but do require regular maintenance, which adds to the cost.


Ion Exchange

Ion exchange devices—such as iron removal, softening, and chlorination systems—are normally installed at the point that the water enters the home; however, these type of water treatment devices may also be installed at the point of use.

As with most things, there are different levels of filters with associated costs. Filters with a higher grading of filtation, can often be the more expensive filters.

When shopping for a water filter, it is good practice to have in mind the reasons why you are looking for a water filter and a known your budget.

Speaking with a water system specialist like Greens Water Systems is always advised as they have expert knowledge and can advise the best system for you and your needs.

How much will the ongoing filter costs be?

As with most water systems, there are ongoing cost associated with filters.

Where as water softeners have an ongoing salt cost, the entire filter will require changing (just the filter unit, not the filter surrounds).

A water Softener system of Ion Exchange will only need changing around the 20 years mark.

A water filter will need changing much more frequently as a built in filter cleaning system is not possible to the same degree as with a water softener.

Greens would recommend the average family with average water usage, to look at new filters between 1 - 2 years depending on the filter installed. Smaller fridge containted filter jugs will need to be changed much more frequently than this dependant again on brand and type.

How often will my filter need to be replaced?

When installing a new filter, it is a good idea to confirm its average life span.

Different filters have different life spans, so you will need to consult with your product specifications or speak with a Greens expert to determin the exact life span of your chosen filter.

I might be interested in a water filter, what are my options?

So, you have decided that a water filter system is the right system for you.

We would highly recommend speaking with an expert at Greens Water Systems to discuss your specific needs before purchasing. For local customers, Greens Water Systems will also be able to install your filter as well as provide expert advice and assist you with regular free health checks should anything not be working as you expect it to.

Please call one of our friendly advisers on 01522 509 383
Or alternatively you can email: hello@water-systems.co.uk

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