Hard water solutions?

  • Thread starter sparkyspike
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sparkyspike

Hello. Can anyone recommend a whole-house water softener device? We have very hard water (south downs) and I've just fitted a new Baxi HE boiler which I want to protect from scale, along with my dishwasher etc. Plus it would be nice to not have to filter tap water all the time. I've seen plenty of different types in Screwfix, but can't see which ones are better than others. I'm not bothered whether it is an electric wrap-round type, a push-fit one, or one you have to solder in. As long as it WORKS and doesn't cost a fortune to replace all the time! I have a copper 15mm supply from the stopcock. Any recommendations?

Thanks
 
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What is your water supplier's measurement of the water hardness?
 
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Not all the South Downs has hard water, it all depends where it comes from.
Have a look at this Water Hardness Map

But, as Softus says, your supplier will give you detailed info.

If you do install a water softener, you will still need one tap which provided un-softened water.

Cheaper solutions:
1. Keep the HW temperature between 55 and 60; you will not get the pipes furring up.
2. Protect the CH system by putting a limescale reducer, such as Sentinel X200, in the system; it will stop the limescale forming. (You will still need a general purpose inhibitor, e.g Sentinel X100.)
 
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if you actually want softened water, the only thing that does it is an ion-exchange softener (Permutit type) that you tip a sack of salt into every month or so. I use one (South of the Downs) and it is fantastic. It will cost some £hundreds and is about as easy to fit as a washing machine. Be sure to get one with Metered regeneration so it replenishes itself when it runs out according to usage.

you can either get a very cheap one from the DIY shed and throw it away when it goes wrong, or find a local company that does servicing, and buy one of theirs.

I am on my second Permutit, I have only had two faults in over 20 years. However the brand name has been bought up and is not so good now.

Older plumbers will tell you softened water is not good for CH. Sentinel X100 is an effective corrosion inhibitor even if you have softened water (check their website).
 
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Kes

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If you do install a water softener, you will still need one tap which provided un-softened water.
Only if you use the salt ion-exchange system. The electronic/magnetic/polyphosphate types do not require an untreated supply for drinking, as they are really scale reducers rather than water softeners.

I have an electronic 'wrap the wires around the pipe' system. It works quite well, certainly cleaning out limescale, but there is some deposit on the upstairs washbasins which needs regular cleaning. I can't really see the magnetec inline scale-reducers working well, but I may be wrong.
 
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Only if you use the salt ion-exchange system. The electronic/magnetic/polyphosphate types do not require an untreated supply for drinking, as they are really scale reducers rather than water softeners.

Oh dear!

Some people will believe anything written on a packet!

Those purport to be scale reducers and NOT scale removers like the ion exchange softeners.

There is no genuine evidence to show that any of them work at all! The best type are the permanent magnet type which can have "an" effect.

Tony
 

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Isn't that what I said, the non ion-exchange devices are scale reducers? The OP included them in the generic water softener group and asked for opinions. My point was to clarify where a separate tap was required.

For some non-evidenced opinion, a few days after I fitted a Water King electronic scale reducer I found that the top compartment of the Britta filter contained a noticeable amount of grey slush, and a few months after the shower head squirts a fine spray instead of a central dribble. And the kettle is still fairly clean. That'll do me.
 
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Well you are one of only a very few who think that its doing something useful.

I have considerable experience of them in the launderette industry and have been to an IPHE seminar on water treatment.

The magnetic ones can certainly do something useful but most people find that the domestic units and particularly the electronic types have virtually no effect at all.

Tony
 
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Well you are one of only a very few who think that its doing something useful.
And it's the very existence of those few who demonstrate how wrong everyone else is. :D

I have considerable experience of them in the launderette industry and have been to an IPHE seminar on water treatment.
..which makes it all the more astonishing that you appear to know so little. Although the IPHE is full of closed-minded ad self-contradicting stuffed shirts. :rolleyes:

The magnetic ones can certainly do something useful but most people find that the domestic units and particularly the electronic types have virtually no effect at all.
Those people haven't installed them correctly. ;)
 
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sparkyspike

Thanks for the answers so far. Now to clarify a few things. Firstly I don't know the difference between a 'water softener' and a 'scale reducer'. My water supply is classified as 'hard'. I have trouble with limescale deposits in my kettle and dishwasher elements and marks on the sink enamel from the cold tap. When I fitted my boiler, I asked a CORGI gasfitter to connect the gas and he also filled the system with Sentinel for me. I can't remember whether it was X100 or X200; I'll look when I get home. He did imply though that the Baxi boiler was relatively tolerant of scale due to a ceramic plate, or something.

Finally, I can't afford to spend £100s on a top-notch system. More like £50!

Does this help narrow down my options?
 
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Polyphosphate dosage does work but its not generally recommended except for homeowners who are going to ensure they will change the cartridge annually.

It also causes lime precipitation in the drains. Thats a considerable problem in launderettes although far cheaper than ion exchange water softening.

Tony
 

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