Water softener efficiency (which one is cheaper to run?)

Joined
30 Aug 2019
Messages
359
Reaction score
5
Country
United Kingdom
I’d like to buy a water softener; I’ve been looking at the BWT that ScrewFix sells and they are about 500-600£ (they’ve probably gone uo in price in the last year)
Other brands like Harvey must be over 1000£, even though they don’t seem to want to advertise their prices and I can’t really be bothered to fill in their contact form to ask for a price

However I can easily find a used Harvey with dual tank for 200£-300£

Does anyone have a figure of running costs per liter of water?

I can buy 10kg of salt for £9.5 at ScrewFix which should fit the BWT softeners
The Harvey salt is about 4kg and costs £13, which is a lot more expensive; I’m under the impression that you have to use their own salt, but correct me if I’m wrong

Both BWT and Harvey are metered; can I assume that the efficiency is the same between the two? Without any further investigation I would assume that the BWT is cheaper to run
Am I correct?
 
Sponsored Links

JohnD

T*ts like coconuts
Joined
15 Nov 2005
Messages
79,975
Reaction score
5,238
Location
South
Country
Cook Islands
A metered softener, that takes sacks of tablet or granule salt.

You can get it delivered (do not carry it in your own car as a single spilled granule can eat a corrosion hole right through)

If you are strong, 20kg bags work out cheaper

I buy a years worth at a time.

A good tip is to phone your local water softener company and ask if they repair softeners and deliver salt. If yes to both, ask what brand they sell. The technology is very simple and many assemble their own from proprietary parts, such as the Fleck head which contains all the connections and working parts and is used worldwide. Parts and service are readily available.

Cheap brands may be impossible to get repaired.
 
Joined
28 Oct 2005
Messages
13,755
Reaction score
3,345
Location
Daventry
Country
United Kingdom
Harvey ones are more expensive because they are twin tank. This means they can continuously soften the water and you get consistent quality. Single tank softeners are cheaper but cannot regenerate and soften at the same time, so during their regeneration phase they allow hard water back into your system. Dual tank softeners like Harvey's can regenerate one tank whilst supplying softened water via the other, so there's no interruption to the softened supply. This also means that it doesn't matter what time of day they regenerate, so they always do it at the perfect time, whereas electronic softeners will be set to regenerate in the middle of the night, usually a bit earlier than they really need to, so they end up using more water over time.

You can use any block salt in a Harvey's softener, you don't have to use their branded salt
 

JohnD

T*ts like coconuts
Joined
15 Nov 2005
Messages
79,975
Reaction score
5,238
Location
South
Country
Cook Islands
I think it's more accurate to say that "Harvey's softeners are more expensive"
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
30 Aug 2019
Messages
359
Reaction score
5
Country
United Kingdom
Let me see if I understand metered softeners: with a single tank metered softener, if it needs regenerating every 500L and it's set to regenerate at 4AM, every day at 4AM it checks the water used since the last regeneration, if it's likely to go over the 500L in the next 24hrs, it starts regenerating immediately rather then wait for the next day; for example if I use 101L/day, it may regenerate after 4 days, rather than 5. Does it work like this?

While the twin tank regenerates whenever 500L have been used?
 
Joined
14 Apr 2017
Messages
164
Reaction score
28
Country
United Kingdom
Monarch do excellent twin softeners, I bought one a couple of years ago, it uses a 25 kilo bag of salt every 3 months, it can also use salt blocks.
 
Joined
27 Jan 2008
Messages
20,555
Reaction score
2,067
Location
Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
Country
United Kingdom
I was involved at work fitting a water softener, the amount of setting up required surprised me, even in the dish washer you have a strip to test water with and set up how much salt is used.

So you need a water supply which does not alter, otherwise you can't really set it up, here in Mid Wales not so bad, but in North Wales our water supply altered depending on if Vyrnwy, Bala, or Celyn lake water was being used, Vyrnwy can discharge into the Dee or Seven, so it depends on lake levels and flood prevention how water is supplied, so unless you are told when the water supply changes, or the water softener is automated, and can work out what is required, it means daily testing and altering settings.

So in the main we under treat the water, we clearly want to protect our water heaters and boilers, but to consider how much salt they use, clearly they should all use same amount of salt if set up correctly, and the government was it seems considering a salt and sugar tax, to reduce our salt intake, so really only the hot water should be treated, as we don't want to drink that salt, which means filling the kettle from the hot water tap if protecting the kettle, and then we are still drinking the salt.

The water supply companies treat the water to make it potable, there is no real need to further treat the water unless you are running things like steam engines.
 
Joined
14 Apr 2017
Messages
164
Reaction score
28
Country
United Kingdom
My monarch softener drequired no setting up at all. Just plumb it in.
 
Joined
30 Aug 2019
Messages
359
Reaction score
5
Country
United Kingdom
I am looking at efficiency calculated using the manufacturers figures

It looks like the kinetico regenerate every 400-500 L (with my current water usage, that’s 10 regenerations per month)
The BWT one (electric) regenerates every 2500L (so about 2 regenerations per month); this means a regeneration every 15 days, even if it does it 1 day earlier, it would waste only 6% more (1/15)

So I don’t see much difference between a non electric twin tank and an electric single tank
 
Joined
21 Dec 2017
Messages
169
Reaction score
29
Country
United Kingdom
My monarch softener drequired no setting up at all. Just plumb it in.
You still need to set it up to tell it how hard the incoming water is.

I've spoken to a few people who have a misconception about what this actually does.

The softener is a pretty simple and dumb device, it applies 'full softening power' to all the water passing through it, regardless of the hardness of the incoming water. It's not changing the level of softening it applies. This is why, on many softeners, the instructions tell you to crack the bypass open a bit if you want to reduce the level of softening; it's fully softening everything passing through it, then you bleed a bit of raw back into that stream to back the softness off.

All the hardness level setting does is tell the machine how many litres of water it can let through before needing to regen. Thus if you set the hardness higher than it needs to be it will regen more often than it needs to and vice versa, so it's important to try to get it right otherwise you could be wasting salt.
 
Joined
14 Apr 2017
Messages
164
Reaction score
28
Country
United Kingdom
I live in an extremely hard water area so it didn't require any setting up.
 

JohnD

T*ts like coconuts
Joined
15 Nov 2005
Messages
79,975
Reaction score
5,238
Location
South
Country
Cook Islands
we don't want to drink that salt, which means filling the kettle from the hot water tap if protecting the kettle, and then we are still drinking the salt.
softened water does not contain salt.

it contains a tiny amount of sodium bicarbonate, as used in indigestion remedies and baking powder.

The sodium content is less than milk, coca cola, or a slice of bread
 
Joined
27 Jan 2008
Messages
20,555
Reaction score
2,067
Location
Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
Country
United Kingdom
Salt = killed acid, so is not sodium bicarbonate a salt?
Home Serve said:

What Is Water Softener Salt?​


Water softener salt is a type of salt — usually sodium chloride — that goes into the brine tank of your water softener. Some water softener salt uses potassium chloride instead. As hard water goes through the water softener, sodium ions from water softener salt take the place of the minerals that make the water hard. Water softener salt comes in different types based on the manufacturing method and in different forms, including pellets, crystals and cubes. You need to top off the salt regularly.

What Are the Different Kinds of Softener Salt?​

Water softener installation can be pricey, so you want to maintain the machine properly and use the right salt for your system. Understanding the different types of salt that are available helps you choose the best option for your situation.

  • Evaporated salt: This type comes in pellets or cubes so it dissolves evenly. It's usually the purest form of water softener salt, which reduces potential contaminants that could damage your system. It also tends to be the most expensive.
  • Rock salt: Typically the cheapest option, rock salt can have higher contaminant levels due to being mined from underground salt mines. It doesn't dissolve as easily and can cause clogging.
  • Solar salt: This type of water softener salt usually comes as pellets or crystals and is made when seawater is evaporated in the sun. It has higher purity than rock salt, but it may still have some contaminants that can clog the system.
Check for recommendations on the best type of water softener salt from your system's manufacturer. Some water softeners work best with a certain type of salt.
 
Joined
30 Aug 2019
Messages
359
Reaction score
5
Country
United Kingdom
Ok, I just bought a refurbished Harvey off ebay with replaced orings and beads

All working fine, I tested the water and thisnis the result before and after

1657274559068.jpeg


The only thing I am not sure about is that after I manually regenerated it to test the drain, it next regenerated after only 250L (read from the house water meter); I thought it would be every 350L, but maybe the manual regeneration doesn’t actually reset the softener’s own meter? I’ll keep an eye on when next regen happens

I also noticed that of the 2x4kg blocks, only 6 kg are left after two regenerations (the manual and the automatic), but I guess that’s just because the first time it just needs to saturate the fresh water with salt?
 

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.


Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

 
Sponsored Links
Top