Well done – you have decided that you need to do something about the dreaded limescale and want to get a water softener, but… you have also noted that there are lots of choices. If so, this is the blog for you!!
There are loads of different options and we will go through them all here:
Single tank or twin tank?
Very simply water softeners contain either one or two tanks. They both have benefits and it is a case of which is right for you:
Single tanks – these are a cheaper option than a twin tank machine so if price is a factor then they may be the right answer for you. Downside is that if the tank is regenerating, you will be on hard water whilst that occurs. Word of warning though – if you have a storage tank in the loft, and you introduce hard water to the tank during the regeneration process, then you may have to wait up to 3 weeks for the tank to be clear of hard water. Some electric single tank machines are metered and this is preferable to one that regenerates on a timer. This means that the machine regenerates on demand rather than setting a timer to regenerate at 2 o’clock in the morning. The BWT range of softeners we supply are metered single tank machines https://ukh2o.co.uk/product/bwt-water-softener/
Twin tanks – these are more expensive than the single tank option however they will provide soft water 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Whilst one tank is regenerating, the machine automatically switches to the other tank giving you continuous soft water https://ukh2o.co.uk/product/premier-compact-kinetico-softener/
Electric vs Non electric?
The big debate – the running costs of an electric machine are higher but to be honest, the cost is minimal. Some machines regenerate on demand, some on a timer so you need to ask which one yours is. The metered one, like the BWT range is preferable as they aren’t wasting water unnecessarily. A machine on a timer will go off every day at the same time even if you are on holiday so you can be wasting water by not using enough or you can be on hard water if you use up your allocation before the timer kicks in. A metered one at least tracks the water used and only regenerates when it is required.
Some water softeners will affect the flow rate – you will notice a drop in pressure when the toilet is flushed and you are in the shower for instance. The Kinetico and the BWT range of softeners are not affected by flow rates and can cope with demand – you just need to check that you have the right size machine for your requirements. A property with 6 bathrooms and 5 people living there will need a larger capacity machine than a 1 bedroom flat. We can advise on the right size machine for you.
Block salt or tablet salt?
In some machines you can use either block or tablet salt. A Kinetico and a BWT softener can take either. Block salt is easier to handle, tablet salt is more economical. The main thing though is to never use granular salt as this doesn’t dissolve properly. Also lesser quality salt can clog up and affect the machine. We recommend Kinetico block salt or Broste or Hydrosoft tablet salt only.
This is the biggest one, the important thing is to get the right one for you. An electric machine will be cheaper but the running costs are higher.
We always use the car analogy – you can buy a Screwfix style softener for £500 which is similar to a Lada – a small run around which will suffice but won’t cope with flow rates, have higher running costs and may be noisy, Likewise, you can get a Maserati or Ferrari and some dealers will sell you these. We prefer to sell good reliable machines that will last – the BWT range is akin to a Citroen or Peugeot, the Kinetico is similar to the BMW or Mercedes range!
Hope that helps, the main thing though is to just get one as the benefits are enormous!