Harvey’s Crown Non-Electric Block Salt Water Softener
Designed by Foundation Softeners for Harvey’s in West Sussex, England the Crown non-electric block salt water softener is built by professional and experienced hands who have had over 50 years’ experience in the design of water softening systems.
But while it might have a quality construction that doesn’t always mean this is the water softener for you does it? Put to find out the answer let’s take a closer look at how the Harvey’s Crown non-electric block salt water softener works.
Design and Installation
The Harvey’s Crown non-electric block salt water softener is a traditional non-electric twin tank model that is compatible with block salt. Designed with high quality white plastic with total measurements of 49cm in height and 21cm in width this water softener is small and compact so ideal for smaller places.
The water softener is also 46cm deep and weighs 20kg making it light weight when compared to similar sized models. Due to being non-electric the Harvey’s Crown water softener runs using water pressure alone which means it’s a more cost effective option and as a more streamlined installation. It’s also supplied with both 15mm and 22mm fitting kits so can be installed on a variety of pipes and you’ll likely be able to install it easily thanks to its straight forward design.
Operation and Features
Due to the Harvey’s Crown water softener being non-electric it is actually simpler to operate than many alternative electric models. The water regeneration cycle is based solely on the water consumption rather than on automatic features like a timer meaning you’re less likely to waste water.
Also due to the traditional twin tank design you can get your soft water while it is still regenerating and can set it to regenerating whenever you want. Because of its smart and extremely efficient water softening method this Harvey’s Crown water softener is perfect for small to medium sized houses, apartments or even offices.
So is the Harvey’s Crown water softener the right choice for you? While it does lack automatic features it is still a very versatile water softener with a simple set up and while it might not have a timer when used correctly you’ll have instant access to soft water whenever you need it.
However it can’t be denied that some people will prefer having the peace of mind electric power and automatic features bring. It’s also got very low running costs and can comfortably cope with larger than average households. Be aware though that it’s only designed to work with UK plumbing systems so take that into account before purchasing.
Eco+ Whole House Water Filter System & Salt-Free Water Softener
This dual filter unit might look a little more unusual compared to the more traditional or standard water softener system but it’s still a high quality water softener system that you can rely on to do the job. Designed with blue plastic and crafted by experienced professionals in the West Midlands the Eco+ Whole House water softener is a brilliant water softener but is it the right system for your home?
Design and Installation
Each part of this dual unit is 21cms deep and 48cms wide with a total height of 49cms. So while it might seems a little bulkier than many other alternatives it balances this out by being very lightweight. With a total weight of just 10kg meaning it’s suitable for a variety of different areas and households.
The Eco+ Whole House water softener does however have a slightly more complex installation process because it needs to be connected to the colds main water pipe. While the water softener comes with all the fittings you need unless you’re knowledgeable in plumbing you should ensure the water softener is installed by a professional.
Operation and Features
The Eco+ Whole House water softener is a little more unusual because it requires no salt or any other kinds of agents to work. Due to its dual filter design it just doesn’t soften the water either it can also purifier it as well. Due to this innovative design it requires no electricity giving you a lower cost of use.
The dual filters will ensure that your water is free of impurities, odours and has a fresh clean taste. However in order for the Eco+ Whole House water softener to maintain its high performance the filters will need to be replaced periodically. Once a year for the first chlorine and heavy metals filter and once every three years for the second filter is the average.
So how does the Eco+ Whole House water softener hold up? Well it certainly is a versatile device that actually does two jobs in one. It also keeps running costs down due to not needing any electricity and is also a very eco-friendly option. It’s well suited for smaller households and homes with three to four people living in them.
While the Eco+ Whole House water softener certainly is a quality machine it’s more complex installation means you’ll likely need professional assistance to install it and some people may find its lack of automatic features unappealing. You also need to ensure you’ll remember to change its filters when needed to ensure its performance doesn’t suffer.
Tapworks Ultra 9 Beige Ultra 9 Demand Water Softener
Designed by a team of experienced engineers from across the UK Tapworks have an impressive history and their ultra 9 demand water softener certainly lives up to it. While it might not seem to be the most technologically advanced water softener available and it may have a more old fashioned design it will still do its job and do it well. But does this mean anyone looking to buy a water softener should choose this one?
Design and Installation
With its more traditional (some would say old fashioned) design the ultra 9 demand water softener is ideal for smaller households but does have enough extra capacity to deal with more medium sized homes. This does make it a bit bulkier than some alternative models though but it is still compact enough to fit in most kitchen cupboards and other similar settings.
If you have three to five people in your home then the ultra 9 demand water softener is good choice. It has a total depth of 468mm, a height of 535mm and a total width of 296mm it also runs quietly so they’ll be no annoying or disruptive noise to worry about.
It’s also designed to be installed simply and comes with an installation kit that makes it compatible with both 15mm and 22mm plumbing. However if you aren’t overly knowledgeable about plumbing then you should call a professional to assist you.
Operation and Features
The ultra 9 demand water softener may look a little old fashioned but it’s still packed with some impressive features. This includes an automatic proportional recharge and a high flow valve for both direct and indirect systems which gives the softener some added versatility.
It’s a metered water softener which makes it one of the most economical water meters available because it will only regenerate the water after a pre-set amount of softened water has been used. You can set the limit so you get the best results for your household to ensure you always have soft water when you need it and don’t waste any.
So how does the ultra 9 demand water softener measure up? It has a great capacity and is still relatively compact meaning you probably won’t struggle for a place to fit it. And due to being a metered water softener it is also environmentally friendly and has a lower cost of running than some other models of water softener.
However if you’re unfamiliar with metered water softeners then you might find it difficult to use at first and finding the correct amount to set for your household can take some trial and error. If set incorrectly then you could end up with hard water trickling through into your supply, however once you’ve got over the learning curve you’ll find this water softener to be a valuable and versatile device.
W2B200 by Water2Buy
Designed and manufactured by the Irish company Water2buy the W2B200 water softener is a high-quality softener designed to be more simplistic. It might look simple and somewhat plain on the outside but don’t let appearances fool you this is a quality water softener that offers great value for money.
Design and Installation
This compact water softener is crafted from white and blue plastic and is 44cm deep, 23cm wide and 64cm high. The size makes it ideal if you don’t have a lot of room to work with and still ensures a good performance with good sized capacity. Due to its size most households should have no issue placing the W2B200 water softener under their sink or in a water cupboard.
It weights 18kg in total and can handle households that use up to 1250 litres per day, based on this the average house or apartment with up to four people would be well matched with this water softener. The W2B200 water softener is designed to be simple so if you have a little DIY ability and the right equipment (connection hoses and a waste/ overflow kit) then you could easily install the softener without a plumber.
Operation and Features
The W2B200 water softener is a salt based, electrical system and its regeneration cycle can be controlled so it will cycle when it suits you. This can be done in 30 minutes and is the most efficient way to ensure your water is softened. It is also very versatile and can use many different types of softeners including: blocks, tablets and crystals.
It also includes a built in water mixer so you can easily adjust the hardness levels and it can be set to self-clean at a time that suits you. The W2B200 water softener is also very quiet due to its compact size so a noisy water softener isn’t something you need to worry about.
The W2B200 water softener is a cool and compact device that will suit many homes, while it’s a small device and may look relatively low tech it will do a great job at softening your water with the added bonus of working quietly. The lack of extra features like a timer (although a model with the features is available) may be a drawback to some but it also makes the softener more straight forward and simple to set up.
It is very much a simpler, no-nonsense water softener and it might not have all the high tech features of more advanced models but it still will make a great water softener for smaller households and does its prime job very well.
Water Softening Systems – Combatting The Dangers Of Hard Water
Hard water is an unusual term that many people have likely heard but might not know the exact details about. Hard water is actually quite straightforward, it is water that has a high mineral content. This might not seem like a bad thing at first. But hard water can have a variety of harmful effects so it’s best to convert it into soft water.
Hard water is created when water is filtered through deposits of limestone or chalk that are made up of carbonates like calcium or magnesium. The effects hard water can have on a person’s health are fiercely debated and research into it is still continuing to this day. However one thing that is known about hard water with 100% certainty is that it can cause issues with plumbing and pipes.
Unsurprisingly such problems can be very costly to repair especially if the damage is extensive meaning you’ll have no option but to replace the pipes. So preventing or reducing your exposure to hard water is certainly something everyone should attempt to do.
But like many things this is much easier said than done! Water is pretty much everywhere isn’t it? There’s pipes stretching under the ground for miles so at first glance it may seem impossible to prevent or reduce your exposure to hard water. But it can be done with a water softening system!
A water softening system is one of the most practical and easy ways to prevent a build-up of minerals and will quickly and easily convert any hard water into soft water. But how will you even know if you’re exposed to hard water in the first place?
Despite what many people think hard water isn’t something that just effects certain areas, it is very much a problem on a global scale. America, Australia, Canada the UK and many more places all around the world have shown that some of their drinking water falls under the hard water category to at least some degree.
Finding Out If You Have Hard Water.
There’s many ways you can test whether you have hard water including homemade testing methods that you can quickly set up. Simple examinations of your taps or laundry can also make it clear whether you are suffering from the effects of hard water. For example if you see a build-up of soap scum (thin grey or dark film with a sour scent) on clothes that have been through a wash then you likely have a hard water problem.
Similarly if you notice your clothes colours are faded or the clothes don’t seem to have been cleaned at all then it again points towards a hard water issue. You might also notice a build-up of white scale around your sink, shower, bath or taps. If you do see this then it’s a sign that your pipes have become blocked up with minerals that have built-up over time. The only way to get rid of the problem from this point onwards is to install a water softening system.
You should also check with your water company as they should have records of your home or local areas water hardness levels. You could also opt to buy a professional testing kit, one common method is to use testing strips to give yourself a general idea of your waters hardness levels. Or if you really want accurate results you could also opt to send a water sample to a water testing lab or facility.
Why You Should Make Sure To Test Your Water!
While you might be thinking hard water doesn’t sound that bad I’ am sure I don’t need to really worry about it, you really shouldn’t be so laid back! Hard water may not have many negative health effects (although research is still on going and findings are often debate) it can end up costing you a lot of money to deal with and repair. The benefits of soft water are also well known and soft water is just a much better alternative for both yourself and your home.
Why Hard Water Should Be Avoided.
The mineral build up that hard water can cause is the main problem that a lot of people fear, but that is far from the only problem. Hard water can also cause damage when it comes into contact with your clothes and can damage various appliances. While the effects hard water can have on your body if you drink it are fiercely debated evidence as shown that it can affect your hair and skin.
With water being used so much in various rooms of our homes the damage that hard water can cause and its potential to spread is very serious if not identified and fixed quickly. Let’s take a closer look at the problems hard water can cause.
Hard Water Can Cause Issues With Plumbing
This is probably the most common issue you’ll face if you have hard water in your home, the build-up of minerals can clog up pipes and restrict your homes water flow. The scale that is build-up can also hugely damage your bath, sink, shower and pipes. Ceramic tiles and bathroom and kitchen fixtures are very susceptible to hard water damage and the problem can build-up slowly over time so many households could be suffering from hard water related damage without even realizing it.
The build-up of hard water can cause many problems for pipes and the increased stress can cause them to break down and clog. And it’s not just the pipes that go to your bath or sink that can be negatively affected by hard water any outlet that your pipes connect to can feel the effects of hard water so things like water heaters/ boilers can also be affected.
Caused A Build Up Of Soap Scum
Soap scum is another an all too common problem with hard water, the build-up it causes not only effects your pipes and outlets but it can also do a lot of cosmetic damage to your bath, sink and general surroundings. Bathroom tiles for example are very susceptible to damage from a build-up of soap scum.
While there’s a variety of different cleaning products you can use to tackle soap scum if the build-up of hard water becomes too big then simply cleaning it away is not always going to help you stop the problem. If you really want to stop the build-up of soap scum you’ll need to tackle the problem at the source.
Hard Water Can Affect Appliances
The risk of hard water on your appliances is very real and can be very expensive to fix and repair. While hard water typically does affect appliances like your bathroom and kitchen taps it can also spread to areas all around your home. Water heaters in particular can have their operational life shortened significantly by hard water.
But even if the water doesn’t stop the appliance from working it can easily affect its performance, dish washers, washing machines and much more can all be negatively affected by the presence of hard water. For example glasses and dishes could come out of the dish washer spotted with film and this will of course impact the taste of any drinks, while clothes from the washing machine can appear unclean or have a strong sour odour to them.
Can Cause Damage To Clothes
The heavy mineral content of hard water can cause a lot of issues with clothing in particular and can easily wear them down and affect their colour and quality. So hard water can really cause a lot of problems if left to build-up and if you have an unexplained issue with your clothes suddenly become worn out after a wash then hard water is likely responsible.
This can be particularly annoying and troublesome since hard water can be difficult to identify and is likely not what many people will think is the issue if they see their clothes coming out of the wash unclean or dulled.
Can Have A Negative Impact On You Hair And Skin
The potential dangers that come with drinking hard water are still being fiercely debated, however research has shown that hard water that comes into contact with your hair or skin (commonly through your bath or shower) can have a negative effect. The heavy concentration of minerals in hard water can cause your hair to develop a thick filmy substance, much like soap scum that will result in your hair feeling and looking dry, dull and frizzy.
You hair will also often lose is lustre and vibrancy more quickly if it’s being regularly washed with hard water. The same goes for your skin, it might start to feel dry or itchy and if you suffer from skin conditions like eczema then it can make you feel even more uncomfortable and sore.
Since many people don’t often realize their water is what’s causing the problems these sorts of issues can go one for a long period of time and will only get worse as time goes on. So to avoid all the risks and potential problems that exposure to hard water can have you’ll have to combat the problem at the source.
But how exactly do you combat hard water then? Well if you want to avoid costly repair work or replacements then the best way to combat hard water is with a water softening system! But don’t just take our word for it, let’s take and in-depth look at how water softening systems work and find out how exactly they can help you fight off the dangers and eradicate the risks of hard water.
Water Softening Systems – The Best Way To Beat Hard Water!
With hard water being present on a global scale there’s a very high change that your home will be exposed to hard water to at least some degree. The water from our taps may look fine and clear, but to the naked eye hard water and soft water look very much the same. So if you want to avoid exposure to hard water and ensure you and your home don’t feel the effects of hard water then you’re going to need a water softener system.
How Does A Water Softener System Work?
A water softener system is pretty self-explanatory it’s all there in the name. It will essentially convert hard water into soft water. It is in the majority of cases a machine that is attached to your home’s water supply, it works by trading out the minerals in the water and replacing it with sodium (sodium might not always be the chemical element used but it is the most common) this process is known as the ion exchange.
Water softener systems are also able to directly target the calcium and magnesium in hard water because they contain polystyrene beads that carry a negative charge. This directly attracts calcium and magnesium which both carry a positive charge, thus ensuring that the majority of these minerals are filtered out of your homes water supply.
The beads are then recycled through your softening systems mineral tank which uses a sodium rich salt solution that will then coat the beads once again, while the hard water containing the calcium and magnesium is washed away into your drain.
Sounds complicate doesn’t it? While it might not be the simplest process to wrap your head around think of it like this, a water softening system attracts the minerals that make up hard water and replaces them with sodium thus turning the hard water into soft water. This water is then passed through your pipes into your kitchen, bathroom ect while the remaining minerals are washed away into the drain.
The Benefits of Using a Water Softener System
Having a water softener in your home will give you a number of advantages, all the issues that hard water can cause (that we’ve already examined) can be easily combatted with a water softener system. It won’t only give you a healthier more pure water supply it will also ensure your appliances stay in working order and last longer.
This means that everything from your pipes and taps to everyday household products like washing machines and dishwashers will be able to avoid the dangers and damaging effects of hard water. Items like glasses and cups as well as cutlery will be cleaner and stronger and clothes that are put through a washing cycle will look more vibrant and colourful.
But it’s not just appliances and fabrics, soft water will also be much better for your skin, you can avoid soap scum and any skin issues that hard water can cause to flare up with soft water. Meaning baths and showers will feel much more relaxing and cleaning your hair and skin with soap and shampoo will also be much easier and refreshing.
All these things together will save you both time and money, your goods will last longer and items like shampoo will be able to go much further. Soft water will ensure your appliances are preserved and last longer and water heaters that use soft water will also run a lot more efficiently. With research suggesting that you could save up to 30% on the cost of your water heating. Plus by using a water softener it will also help to reduce greenhouse gases.
So to conclude there’s a great number of benefits to using a water softener system and if you want to avoid the many problems that hard water can cause then getting a system is really the best option available.
But it probably won’t surprise you to learn that there’s a great variety of water softener systems available, so what should you consider if you want to buy one? Well let’s take a look at what you need to consider so you can find the best water softener system for your home.
What You Need To Consider When Buying A Water Softening System
There’s “no one size fits all” solution, they come in many different forms, makes and models. While many work using the same principles that doesn’t mean every system is the same.
Finding the one that is the best fit for your home might not sound simple but with our help and guidance you’ll know exactly what you need to look for. So let’s examine the key features that anyone looking to buy a water softening system should look out for.
The term flow rate might be something you’ve heard before, it can sometimes be referred to as a volume flow or other terms. The flow rate means the quantity of the gas or liquid that flows through the pipe within a set period of time, per second or per minute for example. What does this mean when it comes to buying a water softening system exactly though?
Well it means the larger the home or the more pipes the higher the flow rate you’ll need, while having a high flow rate might always sound like a good thing if you live in small property then there really is no need for a water softener system with a high flow rate. However if your home has a mega-flow or combi-boiler set up then you will need a water softening system with a higher flow rate.
If you’re unsure about what flow rate is right for your home you’ll often be able to work it out simply by examining the size of your home and looking at how your water system/ boiler is set up. But if you’re unsure then consult an expert to find out for sure. It’s rare but certain homes (particularly larger ones) have larger pipe work that might need a specially designed water system with a higher flow rate to do the job.
The salt levels in any water softening system are of the upmost importance. Without salt in your water softeners brine tank your water softening system won’t be able to convert any hard water into soft water. Every system will have a different capacity for salt and how much salt you actually need will depend on the hardness of your water. So you’ll need to be sure your softening system can actually hold enough salt to do the job.
Research has shown that the average household uses about 9 to 10lbs of salt per week but there’s also the type of salt you need to consider. All salt might look the same but there’s many types of salt with their own densities, so it isn’t quite as simple as just looking at the salt levels. The average capacity for a softener tank in a water softener system is 9” but there are many other sizes available.
When it comes to capacity levels for your water softener there’s two things to consider, the tank capacity (this is usually specified in litres) but there’s also the total grain capacity. This is measured in a slightly more unusual manner with just numbers like 24,000 or 32,000 all being common sights when you look up the various systems. So what does this mean exactly?
The grain capacity number is the amount of hardness the water softener system can remove before it needs to go through its regeneration cycle. However due to how they operate the number quoted won’t be exact. The total capacity doesn’t take into account the softener resin that will be in the tank to allow it to remove and replace the minerals in hard water.
So while a system with a 32,000 capacity might in theory be able to remove 32,000 grams due to the resin the actual number it can convert will be closer to 30,000. The change isn’t anything severe as you can see but it is something to beware of.
How big your home is will of course effect the capacity you should look for, the bigger the home the bigger the capacity you’ll need in order to ensure you always have soft water when you need it. But if you live in a smaller home then you can also get by on a water softener system with a smaller capacity.
I am sure if one thing has become apparent during this guide to water softener systems it is that they’re complex machines. And due to the nature of hard water, malfunctions or operational issues with softener systems can happen. In the majority of cases these problems are easy to identify and solve.
Your salt solidifying and blocking up your brine tank (a process known as bridging) is one of the most common problems with water softener systems but can easily be solved simply by breaking up the salt. You should also regularly check your water softener to make sure it is running smoothly and completing its regenerating cycle normally.
A check once a week is fine although many people only check once or twice a month. But you should make sure to give your water softener a regular clean every so often to ensure the brine tank is clean. If you notice your water is suddenly not softening anymore (once you’ve got used to soft water you’ll likely be able to tell quite quickly) then you should inspect your water softener straight away.
If you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary then you should contact your systems manufacture, many water softening systems do include warranty cover and many water softener systems are designed to last for many years.
The Many Types Of Water Softening Systems
The last step on our journey of water softener systems is take a look at the many types of systems available. While there’s variants available including some that don’t use salt the main three types of water softening systems are: non electric, metered and time clock (or timer) water softeners. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three main types and see how they work.
Non Electric: Non-electric water softeners might seem unusual at first glance but don't worry they do the job just as well. Rather than being powered by electricity these water softeners are powered entirely by water pressure. Due to there being no electrical supply needed these types won't fall victim to electrical faults or run the risk of giving you an expensive electrical bill.
They are also usually easier to install and have a more basic and understandable control scheme. There will be no trawling through guide books or instruction manuals to find out how to work a non-electrical water softener. All you need to do is add the salt and you're done, the downside is that when problems do arise they can be more difficult to identify.
There's also the lack of extra added features that other types of water softeners can provide and while these might not be strictly necessary they do give you added peace of mind. If you're more familiar with other types of water softeners then you might also think non-electrical softeners to be too old fashioned. However research has shown that while they may indeed be more basic they also are on average longer lasting and more reliable.
Metered: A metred water softener is likely the most well-known type of water softener and also has the benefit of being the most economical option available. Metered water softeners will only regenerate when a pre-set amount of soft water has been used. So you can set these water up to work in perfect balance with your household.
Due to the way metered softeners can be set up you can easily avoid problems like the over regenerating of your softeners, which will save you what could have otherwise been wasted money. Metred water softeners while being very useful are slightly more complex and you will need an understanding of your homes water consumption to make sure you set it up correctly.
Time Clock: Sometimes called timer or automatic water softeners, these water softeners operate on a time basis which you can set yourself. Once it has reached the end of the set time the softener will then begin its regeneration cycle, once installed timer water softeners will usually have a pre-set timer in place which you can then alter if you wish.
The main downside to this type is that it will only regenerate at the set interval regardless of the amount of water used. This means it could cycle away unused soft water or could even start letting hard water through if you’ve increased the volume of water you’re using.
While this can be corrected by altering your settings it does mean that you might have to make adjustments a lot of the time to avoid wasting water. For things like holidays it is advised that you switch these water softeners off completely to cut down on waste. While they are incredibly useful they do require planning to use efficiently and may not be suitable for every household.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
Well we’ve looked at everything you need to know about hard water and how to combat the many problems and issues it can cause. While water softening systems might not seem like an essential part of your home trust us when we say they can make a world of difference to any household!
Once you’ve seen the ways they can improve your home you’ll never want to go back to life without one. Your home, clothes, hair and appearance will all be improved when you have soft water flowing through your pipes and while researchh as shown that there may not be any health risks with hard water anyone will tell you that soft water is certainly the better of the two.