Here you’ll find the answers too many of the questions people have asked us over the past 50 years regarding water softeners and hard water.
What Are the Affects of Hard Water?
The visible signs are scale, scum and tidemarks around baths, basins and taps etc. The mineral contained in hard water manifests as scale when heated or when water is left standing to leave evaporation stains. What you see in your kettle is an excellent guide to what is happening in other parts of your water system.
WILL MY MONARCH WATER SOFTENER REMOVE THE EXISTING SCALE?
Yes it does.
Using softened water will start to remove scale from the moment the softener is installed. The amount of scale already in your home can affect how quickly softened water will get rid of it.
- In 4-6 weeks, scale will be gone from your kettle
- In 6 months, scale will be gone from your heat exchanger
- In 18-24 months, scale will be gone from the rest of your pipework
How it is removed…
Hard water comes into the home at anything from 300 ppm up to an incredible 570ppm, depending in what part of the country you live. Our factory is one of the unfortunate ones in that its 570ppm for us! After the water passes through a water softener, the level of hardness is nigh on zero.
This means when the water enters your pipes, it dissolves the chalk and limescale – reflecting the natural process when water flows underground to create chalk caves etc. Over time, hardness is removed from your pipes and exits through your taps, leaving you with softened water.
During this process, the level of softness of the water that comes out of your tap will vary between 10 -50ppm, as determined by the amount of scale build up you already have.
ALL AROUND YOUR HOME
Hard water has a detrimental effect on anything in which it comes into contact. There are numerous examples of this that can be seen every day, as well as those you don’t see inside your system.
To name but a few:
- Misted glasses, streaky plates, and spotted and stained utensils.
- Blocked showers and shower heads
- Leaking ball-valves
- Scaled up cylinders and immersions
- Dull finish to the bath, basin etc
- Tide lines around your bath and basins
- Spots and stains on the shower screen
- Low water flow out of the hot tap because the pipe is scaled up
- No lather when you wash
- Dull and dingy clothes
HARD AND SOFT WATER
Hard water is water that contains dissolved chalk, lime and other minerals.
Rainwater is naturally soft but, as it percolates through the ground, any chalk and limestone it passes through becomes dissolved to create hard water.
Soft water (natural) is rain that falls onto rock and cannot enter the ground.
Examples of this are areas such as Wales, Scotland and The Lake District etc. As a guide only 40% of the country has natural soft water, leaving the remaining 60% to suffer with hard water.
SOFT WATER BENEFITS
- Saves time. With no scum marks or evaporation stains to clean away, housework is reduced.
- Can save up to 50% of washing powder, soaps, shampoos and conditioners etc.
- Will protect your and increase the life of your system by removing existing scale.
- Saves money on hot water bills – with no scale to heat first. Just 1/16″of scale will cause a loss of efficiency of 12%.
- Rinses away without staining.
- Can help dry skin conditions including eczema
- Makes laundry brighter and fresher.
- Has a clean silky feeling, and makes bathing a luxury without the need for expensive bath oils etc.
THE GENTLE TOUCH OF SOFT WATER
There is no clearer benefit of soft water than that shown by a dishwasher with soft water. Shiny dishes and plates, clean clear glasses and cutlery you are proud of, all come from soft water. If soft water is doing this to your dishwasher, just imagine what it is doing in the rest of your system, and do not forget, that with your dishwasher using soft water, you do not need to put anymore salt in it.
This also applies if you prefer to wash by hand. Gone are dry cracked hands you get with hard water.
Clean, bright clothes, gentle on your skin, every time with soft water.
Soft water gives you cleaner, brighter, fresher fabrics, simply because your washing powder can concentrate on washing your clothes, not fighting the effects of hard water every time. Remember that with soft water flowing through your washing machine and de-scaling it, it will work better and last longer!
With soft water, you can cut your soap powder by nearly half, which proves that SOFT WATER SAVES YOU MONEY.
FOR THE FAMILY…
Smooth completion, creamy lather in the bath and shower, lower household bills, soft towels, smooth wet shave, efficiently running appliances leading to no unnecessary repair bills
AND FOR ANY CHILDREN TOO…
Lovely fresh soft clothes to ensure their delicate skin is being cared for, all day every day, even when tucked up in bed in those crisp clean sheets.
How Much Does a Water Softener Cost?
The cost will be less than other home improvements and will be considered an investment. The average payback time for a water softener is less than 4 years and with the softener lasting upto 20 years, no other home improvement can compete with such value for money.
A family of 4 in an average hard water area can save over £200 a year! Compare these savings against the outlay of the softener, and you will see that it is arguably the most cost effective home improvement you can make.
How Can I Justify My Investment?
Most people who have a water softener would simply say that to wash and bathe in scum free water is enough. However, a water softener fulfils many functions and gives substantial savings.
The long term benefits are the increased life of appliances, protection of taps, bathroom suites, your boiler etc, not to forget the daily savings on household bills by reducing soap consumption to name just one by up to 50%
What About Maintenance?
A water softener is working automatically 24 hours a day. All the homeowner has to do is ensure that the unit is kept full of salt.
If I Move House Can I take it With Me?
The simple answer to that is yes.
Taking your water softener with you when you move is as easy as taking other appliances i.e. washing machine. Simply disconnect the hoses from the isolating valves and away you go. In many cases a water softener has been known to assist in the sale of the house, prospective buyers will undoubtedly be impressed with scale free taps, gleaming baths and sinks etc.
Why Not Soften Just the Hot Water?
Some people do this. But as soon as they run cold hard water into the hot soft water they are reducing the obvious benefits of soft water considerably.
I Have Lead Pipes, Is That A Problem?
You should not use soft water in lead pipes. About the only benefit of hard water there is, is that scale on the inside of the lead pipe stops the lead leaching into the water. Grants may be available from the local council to replace any lead pipes in the house.
If you have a lead outside main, this will not pose a problem to the installation of a softener.
Will Soft Water Affect My Heating System?
With central heating inhibitors designed for hard water, it is recommended to fill your radiators with hard water and use an appropriate inhibitor. For full guidance, please click on the link below for the UK water softener and boiler industries position on the use of softened water.
Must I have A Mains Water Tap?
Yes. It is accepted that the majority of people can drink artificially softened water with no adverse effect. However, there are two groups of people who we would recommend do not drink artificially softened water. Namely, bottle fed babies (powdered milk already has its maximum concentration of sodium) and anybody on a low sodium diet. The BEWA Code of Practice also requires that, for all new water softener installations and wherever else reasonably practicable, a pipe leading to a mains water tap for an un-softened supply should be used for a hard water drinking supply.
There are 3 ways of having a mains water tap in your home…
- You can leave the existing cold tap on your sink on mains hard water.
- You can have a dedicated, standalone new mains water tap fitted with optional water filter. Every Monarch domestic softener includes a Rapid-Fit bypass. It is a simple in-out connection block that connects to the pipework (Click here to see our Rapid-Fit bypass) and facilitates an easy installation. One of the features of the Rapid-Fit, is it has 2 no. 3/8” speedfit connections, one for mains hard water, and another for a soft water option too.
- Or you can have a 3-way tap fitted to give you Hot, Cold and Hard water all from the same tap.
Will Those Who Prefer To Drink Soft Water Be Deprived of Any Minerals Deemed Necessary For Good Health?
No. The minerals necessary towards your daily diet come from your food. Neither hard nor softened water provide any significant quantity of minerals. For example, a glass of milk contains 4 times the amount of calcium, compared to a glass of water!
How Much Sodium is There in Soft Water?
A normal daily intake of sodium for an adult is approx. 2,400 mg. Many natural and manufactured foods and drinks contribute to this daily intake. As a guide, you would need to drink 60 glasses of softened water to achieve your daily intake
Typical examples of sodium levels are:-
One glass of milk contains 160 mg
One slice of bread contains 190 mg
One glass of softened water contains only 40 mg.
Will Soft Water Help My Dry Skin?
It is difficult to say that it will definitely cure dry skin conditions. However, we have seen literally thousands of people in our 50+ years selling softeners with conditions like dry skin and eczema sufferers who notice a considerable improvement in their condition once a water softener is installed. Due to the complexity of eczema it is difficult to say exactly why soft water helps.
Opinion suggests the following contributing factors:
- Water softeners eliminate scummy soap curds and produce a clean lather that is kind to skin, reducing dryness and itching allowing you to rinse clean every time.
- The amount of washing powder can be reduced by up to 50% when using soft water, therefore when the washing machine is in the rinse cycle; it finds it easier to wash away excess soap that in turn block the pores of your skin.
Is A Water Softener Easy to Install?
Modern water softeners are small and compact enough to fit inside either a kitchen unit or in the utility room. Monarch’s top selling Midi HE water softener has been designed to fit inside any kitchen cupboard, and with it being 99mm shorter than its competitor it is not difficult to see why the Midi HE is chosen by more people than any other softener.
An ideal site is near to the rising main, with access to a drain and a power supply (13 amp socket). Here is a typical installation layout of a water softener using the Monarch Rapid-Fit bypass. Picture shows a trapped up-stand, alternatives to this are:
- Open gully, or
- Fast Flow Drain Kit – ref FFDK
Do I Need Electricity?
Our models Solo, Solo Ultra, Premio and Duo need no electricity to operate. All other models need a 13a socket. Even our meter control models i.e. Midi, need a power point to ensure the regeneration is calculated to ensure it regenerates at the correct time of day, when little, if any water is being used. This is defaulted to 2am but can be changed for families who have shift workers etc.
Does A Water Softener Need A Specific Water Pressure?
A water softener needs a minimum dynamic pressure of 20 psi (1.4bar). If water pressure exceeds 70 psi (5bar) then a water pressure limiter needs to be fitted – ref PLV
Will The Installation Comply With Local Bylaws?
Providing the installation complies with the diagram you will be O.K.
Can A Water Softener Drain Into A Septic Tank?
Yes. Regeneration wastewater from a water softener will have no adverse effect on a septic tank. With up to 50% less detergents etc being discharged, a water softener is in fact beneficial to households who use septic tanks.
CONTRIBUTES TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Besides the obvious benefits to the environment of reducing soap powders, cleaning agents etc by up to 50%, extensive research has shown that every water softener installed reduces CO2 emissions to the same level as leaving your car at home for a whole year!
WATER SOFTENER GUARANTEES
All Monarch water softeners are fully covered by our comprehensive IN HOME parts and labour guarantee, with all warranty work carried out by our own service engineers. Domestic models have 7 years parts and 2 years labour, foodservice models are 2 years parts and 1 labour (Tradeline softeners are 12 months parts and labour). Extended warranties are available with full details on request.
UK’s No 1 CHOICE FOR SOFTENERS BY INSTALLERS/PLUMBERS NATIONWIDE
As part of our ongoing service to you, you can ring us direct on a dedicated line. So if you have any queries regarding sales or installation, however small, please call us on 01986 784759 and we will do everything possible to help you. If your call is out of hours, please leave us a message (option 1) and we will call you back the very next working day.
Monarch Water is the UK’s top water softener manufacturer as chosen by installers/plumbers nationwide, established since 1964. Our softeners are designed solely for a UK home and its varied plumbing systems. The softener we recommend to you will be based solely on your individual requirements.