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Frequently asked questions about water softeners

HomeFrequently asked questions about water softeners
HomeFrequently asked questions about water softeners

Frequently asked questions about water softeners

1. How does an EcoWater water softener work?

All salt based water softeners use the process of ion exchange to create soft water. Inside a water softener is a vessel of resin beads. Hard water passes over the resin beads which extract the hard minerals (calcium and magnesium) and replace them with harmless sodium ions. Scale is therefore taken out of the water which leaves the water softened.

The resin beads will eventually become exhausted and unable to pick up any more hard minerals. The softener will carry out a regeneration or recharge which will flush the hard minerals to drain. The recharge or regeneration process passes a salt water solution through the resin beads which detaches the hardness minerals, which are flushed harmlessly to the drain. The resin beads are left refreshed and ready to make more softened water.

EcoWater softeners meter the water every day

EcoWater uses its own patented algorithm  to control its regenerations.  Gathering a history of water use the EcoWater softener builds up a pattern of water usage. This enables it to firstly, always have soft water on demand and also decide the best point to regenerate for maximum efficiency. For instance, if you use more water at the weekends than during the week, the water softener will know this and adjust its capacity accordingly.

EcoWater softeners use proportional regeneration

For best efficiency EcoWater softener’s regeneration only cleans the exhausted resin beads. This saves significantly on salt and water.

EcoWater Softeners are high capacity for less regenerations

As EcoWater softeners have a high capacity they regenerate less often than other water softeners. On average a water softener may carry out a proportional regeneration once or twice a week.

EcoWater Softeners use a slow regeneration

EcoWater softeners slow the brine draw through the resin beads for a more effective exchange process.  The complete regeneration takes about 1 hour, this doesn’t mean it is using any more salt or water. During the regeneration process only hard water is available, but it carries out the regeneration in the early hours of the morning when water is not being used. This time can be changed to suit your lifestyle.

EcoWater Softeners use a counter current regeneration

The water softener reverses the flow of water when it regenerates to stop clean resin from being contaminated.

2. What size softener do I need?

Naturally the physical size of a water softener is a factor when considering the space available in your home. If the softener needs to go into a cupboard it can be difficult to sacrifice the space, but remember you don’t need to fill your cupboards with loads of cleaning products once the softener is installed!

When choosing the right size softener for your home, you need to consider running costs and wear and tear.  This means the more often the water softener needs to recharge, the harder it is working, the more it will cost in salt and water usage and the more wear and tear.

For some people considering 24/7 block salt water softeners, the size of the softener may appear irrelevant.  However,  a 24/7 softener can be expensive to run, if it needs to recharge 2 or 3 times a day. For others looking at single tank softeners may fear the wrong size will mean they will run out of softened water.  A single tank water softener, means only hard water is available when it regenerates.  If it is sized too small for the home’s water usage it also will be working too hard and costing more money than necessary to run.

Choosing the right capacity water softener for the home’s water usage will ensure you do not run out of soft water and it won’t cost a fortune to run.

What determines the water softener capacity?

The volume of soft water that can be created between regenerations is dependent on the design of the softener, the volume of resin it holds and the hardness of the water in your area.

EcoWater Designed for Every Home

At EcoWater Systems our single tank water softeners come in a range of sizes and capacities. Designed for all sizes of homes, their high capacity and intelligence won’t let you run out of softened water and maintain fantastic efficiency and reliability. We can help you choose the right softener for your home. Contact us, we will be happy to help.  T:  0800 052 1120.

 

3. Where can I install a water softener?

The simplest place to install a water softener is as close to where the mains water enters the home as possible. Often water softeners are fitted into kitchen cupboards because that’s where the mains water enters the home. However, an expert advisor can recommend where best to install the water softener, whether that’s the kitchen, utility room, basement, garage or even outside!

The best way to install a water softener

Water softener installations need to abide by water regulations.  Its therefore best to use a professional to install a water softener. You will need to test your water pressure and measure water hardness. You may want modifications to the plumbing for drinking and the outside tap.

The water softener is attached to the plumbing by inlet and outlet valves and a by-pass valve is fitted so the softener can be isolated if necessary, but not cut off the water to your home. Drainage for the softener discharge from the cleaning process is required, and an overflow to the outside or suitable escape for emergencies. Once properly installed a water softener needs very little attention, but occasionally needs to be filled with water softener salt.

 

EcoWater softeners use cheaper tablet salt

4. What type of salt does an EcoWater softener use? 

All EcoWater Systems softeners use tablet salt. This is widely available through retail outlets, builders/plumbers merchants, garden centres or from delivery companies. It comes in 10kg or 25kg bags. We do not recommend any particular make – just make sure it is tablet salt. Our water softeners do not take block salt because we believe it is inefficient and it is more expensive than tablet salt.

 

5. Why is the salt level not going down?

EcoWater softeners use very little salt, therefore, you may not see the level of salt going down for some time. The softener display will show the level of salt inside the softener, when the display shows one or two bars that’s the time to think about topping up with salt.

 

6. What are the running costs of an EcoWater softener?

A water softener uses salt and water to carry out its cleaning process (regeneration or recharge). Since EcoWater softeners use readily available tablet salt, and as EcoWater recommends a softener suitable to the home’s water use, this means our water softener running costs are low.

As a guide an average family could use 6 bags of 25kg of salt a year, which is approximately £60-£80 a year.

7. How much electricity does an EcoWater softener use? 

An EcoWater softener uses very little electricity, probably equivalent to running a digital alarm clock.  The water softener does not use electricity to produce soft water.

 

8. What happens if there is a power cut? 

An EcoWater softener does not use electricity to make soft water.  If there is a power cut,  soft water will be available as normal on demand. The water softener will keep all information in its memory and when the power it back on, it will be able to regenerate as normal.

For power outages of over 72 hours you will only need to reset the time.

 

EcoWater water softeners are the most reliable softeners on the market

9. Does an EcoWater softener need servicing?

An EcoWater softener is a long term investment and can last up to 15 years and more.  Some of our customers have been with us for decades. EcoWater customers can take advantage of our after care service. EcoWater servicing is optional and carried out by our own trained engineers. We are proud to offer this service to all our customers and we will keep each customer informed of the options available.

 

10. Will I run out of softened water?

No. All EcoWater softeners use smart technology, that measure your water use, as soon as they are installed.  By collecting a continuing history of your water use and patterns of water use, the softener will ensure you always have soft water on demand. Unlike many water softeners all our softeners have a high softening capacity, which means they do not need to recharge daily. This makes them very cost efficient and reliable.

 

11. Water softeners and water flow

A concern for householders is whether a water softener will have a detrimental effect on the home’s water flow. 

If your plumbing is a gravity-fed system,  ie: water is stored in a tank in the loft, a good quality water softener will have minimal effect on your home’s water flow, as the majority of the water used will be coming from your stored water tank. If a water pump is being used in the home to boost flow, the water softener is always installed before the pump, so this will not be affected.

However, mega-flow and combi-boilers are direct feed systems and require higher flow rates, as they depend on the pressure of your incoming mains water. These higher flow rates are normally obtained by larger pipework in your home. All EcoWater softeners are suitable for direct feed systems.

EcoWater also produces a high demand water softener range with a 1″ valve, for large homes which need exceptional flow rates.

 

12. Drinking softened water

Water softening introduces a small amount of sodium into the water. However, this is not considered a risk. To put the amount of sodium in context to other foodstuffs, British Water advise that the average amount of sodium in softened water is only a fifth of that in semi-skimmed milk, whilst processed foods can contain up to 20 times more sodium than softened water.

The water regulations currently state that a hard water tap is always recommended. However, where the water hardness is below 400ppm calcium carbonate, it complies with the drinking water regulations so there is NO mandatory requirement for a separate hard water drinking tap. Where the water hardness exceeds 400ppm calcium carbonate, the sodium level will be above the 200ppm maximum set by the drinking water regulations so a separate hard water drinking tap becomes mandatory.

A NOTE OF CAUTION: there are two specific situations where the use and drinking of softened water is inadvisable. These are:

  • In the reconstitution of infant formula powders, as softened water could affect its fine nutritional balance, or;
  • For anyone on a medically prescribed low sodium diet.

Where all taps receive softened water, a reverse osmosis drinking water filter will remove the majority of the minerals, therefore reducing the sodium content in softened water.

 

More information

Would you like to find out more about owning an EcoWater water softener? Do you still have further questions? Call us at 01494 480 605, or book a free home survey today! 

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