Water Softener Basics – What You Need To Know
Water softeners are something you’ve heard of, but you might not know what they are or how they function. BWT water softener technology is based on a process that also occurs in nature. The process is referred to as “ion exchange”. In this process, calcium and magnesium ions are removed from the water and replaced with sodium ions. Water Softener systems can transform even extremely hard water into silky soft Luxury Water.
This article explains everything you need to know about water softeners, from what they are to how they work and how they can benefit your household, as well as how to choose one and install it in your home.
What is Hard water?
Water is vital for all life on planet earth. It covers 71% of Earth’s surface be it in its liquid form or as ice. We think you’ll agree that’s pretty amazing. However, the water that reaches your home isn’t always as amazing as it could be.
If you live in a hard water area and don’t have a water softener then you’ve probably noticed limescale. The cause of limescale is the geological makeup of the ground that the water passes through. Rainwater is naturally soft but when it reaches the ground, it can pick up different minerals from the surrounding geology. If the ground is comprised of rocks like granite, the water will pick up little in the way of minerals. However, if the ground is chalk or limestone, which is easily eroded, the water will pick up a lot.
Chalk and limestone contain large amounts of calcium, which can leach into the water. Although calcium and magnesium in the water are beneficial to humans and animals, they can play havoc with your home. Calcium is the main cause of limescale, which is not only unsightly but can affect the efficiency of your appliances. That’s where BWT comes in.
Softened Water from BWT can help protect your home from the effects of limescale. Luxury Water softeners use ion exchange to remove the minerals that cause limescale. The benefits of this include smear-free glass and worktops, shiny taps and fittings, and efficient appliances. The WS range or Perla Silk Range of Luxury Water softeners are compact enough to fit into most kitchen base cupboards. Meaning you don’t have to sacrifice a huge amount of space to improve your water.
Check to see if you have hard water
BWT has developed an at-home hard water testing kit, which includes a reagent, a dropper test tube, and a storage box. The testing process is simple gradually add the agent to a sample of your tap water, one drop at a time until the colour changes. There is enough reagent in each kit to conduct several tests. Making testing your water at home simple and convenient:
How does a water softener work?
An explanation of the functioning of a water softener system:
Water enters softener usually at the top of the resin vessel and percolates through the resin beads to the bottom. These tiny beads attract and retain the calcium and magnesium minerals in the water and in turn ‘exchange’ them for sodium ions. As the water leaves the softener and travels throughout the house, the mineral deposits cling to the resin. When the resin becomes saturated the softener regenerates the resin with a brine solution recharging the resin and washing the accumulated hardness minerals to drain
All BWT softeners in the UK Softeners are programmed so that this happens automatically at night when the household is asleep. This regeneration cycle does not affect your drinking water tap.
Why do you need a water softener?
High levels of water hardness can cause expensive problems for households. As a result of heating hard water, deposits form in pipes and valves. Limescale that builds up in appliances and hot water systems can increase running costs, cause damage that is expensive to repair and shorten their useful lives.
Most people in the UK who live in areas with hard water know what it does. Scale, hardness, and scum are the problems. BWT Luxury Water solves all of them at once and gives you, your family, and your home a lot of other benefits as well.
Hard water can also have an impact on our bodies especially our skin and hair. In extreme cases this can even involve the possibility of irritating sensitive skin disorders. However, even healthy skin can suffer and tends to become tighter after bathing and showering. After washing, hair can become dull and dry, and the clothes we wear can feel rough to the touch and whilst colours can also fade more quickly.
Cleaning also becomes difficult and more time consuming because scale deposits appear anywhere that water drips, stands, or flows. These limescale stains in the kitchen and bathroom are challenging to remove. To achieve the same results as you would with soft water, you need up to twice as much detergent, skincare, and hair care products, which costs you more money.
What is water softener salt used for?
BWT water softener salt has been developed especially for the regeneration of water softening systems and is available in tablet, crystal and block format to suit a wide range of water softening systems. BWT water softener salt is a high-quality food grade product available from our online bwtshop in handy double packs and all good plumbing merchants and leading DIY stores.
There are three types of salt we offer: Block, tablet and crystal.
Here are the differences between them:
- BWT Tablet Salt, or “Care Cubes”, are tablet or button shaped and are available in 10 and large 25 kg bags, as well as our convenient 20kg double pack, which is available online at bwtshop.co.uk. They are ideal for the regeneration of domestic or small commercial water softener systems, dissolving completely to form a good quality brine with no waste.
- BWT Care Crystals are very similar to those used in dishwashers. They dissolve quickly to make a high-quality brine and are perfect for some older water softeners. Care crystals are also available in 10 and 25kg bags from most good DIY stores and plumber’s merchants.
- BWT Block Salts are rectangular-shaped blocks of salt that are available as 2 x 4 kg in an 8 kg bag or from our online shop as a 4 x 4 kg multi-pack from bwtshop.co.uk. The blocks are easier to handle than tablet salt and, in most cases, easier to store. Each block is placed whole in your water softener’s block carrier. Most water softeners designed to accept block salt will have a tall lid to allow for additional blocks to be added as the prior block dissolves.
BWT Water softeners only require periodic topping up of salt, and water for the regeneration process and a minimal amount of electricity. The exact amount will vary depending on the size of the household and the local water hardness. Around 75 liters of water and 1.2 kilograms of salt typically produce 1600 liters of softened water at 300 ppm hardness.
Each BWT water softener is controlled by a microprocessor, which constantly monitors water usage. The system will compile a history of your water requirements and calculate the most economical regeneration pattern. This will ensure a constant supply of softened water while maintaining high levels of water and salt efficiency.
BWT Luxury Water softener will remove the minerals that cause scale and scum, making it easier for soaps, shampoos, and detergents to lather and rinse away meaning you can use up to 50% less and with the rising cost of living that’s a saving that worth having.
Are water softener systems expensive?
In the past, some people may have been put off soft water systems because of their perception of the cost. When in reality, today’s modern BWT Luxury Water systems are energy efficient and the costs involved are quite modest when compared to other home improvements. Any investment involved can be offset in years to come by the savings you make on cleaning products, longer appliance life and central heating efficiencies.
Say goodbye to hard water with a BWT luxury water softener starting from £599 or request a quote for your installation today:
Peace of Mind
The good news is that with a BWT luxury water softener, you can save money and enjoy peace of mind with their 5 year parts and 2 years at home labour warranty BWT’s free at home commissioning, ensures you get the very best from your BWT Luxury Water softener. They are easy to install and specifically designed for UK homes and plumbing systems. Luxury Water is an ideal choice for protecting your kitchen and bathroom and can be fitted with a minimum of fuss often in less than half a day.
For information on how water softeners and other BWT products can help you save money you will find interesting our blogs: