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Tel: 0845 0563468

Frequently Asked Questions

How does your Water Softener work?

As rain water percolates through chalky soil/rocks it picks up calcium and mangnsium minerals. These calcium and magnesium salts (hardness) drop out of pipes especially in hot water. They stick to the surfaces forming lime scale. This blocks pipes and acts as insulation meaning boilers are inefficient and increasing heating bills. Softening water removes the hardness making the water feel silky, reducing heating bills and reducing the need for detergents.

An Automatic Water Softener consists of a pressure vessel filled with resin. Located on the top of the pressure vessel is the control valve. All of this is mounted in a cabinet. The mains water is passed through the control valve and down into the vessel. As the water passes across the resin bed, the calcium and magnesium attach to the resin so that the water leaving the unit is soft.

Periodically, depending on how much water is used, the resin needs to be refreshed. This is done by flushing away the calcium and magnesium, then flushing through a small amount of salt (stored in an external brine tank), through the resin vessel. Once this process has been completed, the resin is refreshed and ready to begin again.

How a Water Softener Works

C0    In the service position hard water enters the softener flows down through the resin were the hardness is held and up through the central riser tube and out to service.
When the resin becomes saturated with hardness it needs to be regenerated (with salt).
C1Backwash. Water flows from the inlet through the valve and is redirected down through the riser tube and UP through the resin. This lifts the resin and washes out any debris.
Brine draw and slow rinse. A salt solution is slowly fed through the resin which drives off the hardness which goes down the drain and sets up the resin for service again.
C4Re pressure. A small wait state to allow the system to equalise pressure.C5
Fast Rinse. In the unlikely event of any brine still being in the resin this stage flushes it out.
2nd backwash and fast rinse . Short backwash and rinse as another safety feature to make sure all brine is cleared.
C8Fill.  A measured amount of water is fed into the brine tank to dissolve a programmed amount of salt and produce brine ready for the next regeneration.
Calculating what size softener do I need and how much salt will it use ?
1 person uses about 140 litres of water per day
1 litre of softening resin can remove 50g hardness (CaCO3)
1 litre of resin requires 140g salt for regeneration
1 Kg of salt uses just under 3 litres of water to make a saturated brine solution

Eg 25 litre softener in London when the hardness is 300mg/l (0.3g)

Capacity or water between regenerations:       25 l x 50g = 1250g/ 0.3g =4166 litres  (at 160 l /day/person in London = 26 man days)
                                                                                              4 people in a house = 6 days between regenerations.
            Salt usage per regeneration:                               25 l x 140g = 3500g = 3.5 Kg
            Amount of brine in brine tank:                            
3 x salt = 10.5 litre

When sizing a system the average flow and the peak flow rate need to be taken into account. Try and size a system to run for 3 days without regenerating or a duplex for 12 hours. The average flow rate is normally 40 times the litres of resin (40BV) although peak flows are often higher. For a duplex softener a run time of 12 hours is ok as the standby system can kick in while the duty vessel is off line being regenerated.

How easy is it to Install a water softener?

Installing a Water Softener is almost as easy as installing a Washing Machine or Dishwasher. With a series of 3 valves, it is usual to form a bypass system on the water main, one valve on the inlet, one on the outlet and one on the bypass (normally closed). We suggest using 3/4 inch BSP braided flexi hoses for the inlet and outlet to ensure that there is no reduction in the flow rate. The hose to drain may be hooked over a waste stand pipe (same as a washing machine) and another hose is required for the brine tank overflow. To comply with regulations and bylaws, a check valve (non return) should be fitted immediately before the branch to the water softener and there should be an air gap between the drain hose and the drain. With a little DIY experience, you may wish to carry out the work yourself, alternatively, you may wish to get a competent plumber to do it.

What about maintenance?

Maintaining your Water Softener is easy. All you need to do is add salt. In order to ensure continued trouble-free operation we recommend that you have your Water Softener serviced every two years.

Where will I save money?

Softened water provides real cost savings in service, maintenance and replacement of water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and showers and also extends their life. It will improve the efficiency of hot water and heating systems - just 1.6mm (1/16") of scale build-up in heating systems will cause a 12% loss in heating efficiency. Softened water can also remove existing scale deposits in hot water and heating systems as well as the scale around taps, in shower heads and stains on bath and basins.

What kind of salt do your water softeners use?

We recommend using only pure, top grade salt in our water softeners. Water Softeners will work much more efficiently and last longer with the use of either granular salt or  tablet salt.  Tablet Salt is suitable for most domestic applications, however Granular Salt is more suitable for larger machines.

What is meant by "the service flow rate"?

Water will flow through our water softeners at a rate of up to 3,000 litres per hour, however, different models of water softeners have different service flow rates. If the service flow rate is exceeded, hard water will break through.

How do I work out the service flow rate required?

On average 160 litres of water is used per person per day. This normally occurs in two peak periods, one in the morning and one in the evening. A family of four typically uses 700 litres per day but may use 300 litres in an hour in the morning.

Can I drink the water after it has been softened?

Due to a slightly increased Sodium level in the water, Bye Laws state that wherever practicible, a supply of the pre softened water should be connected for drinking and cooking purposes. You may wish to bypass your water softener and leave your kitchen cold tap connected to the hard water, however, there is an alternative:

Simple under sink filter systems may improve the taste and smell of the water you drink and cook with, however, they are unable to remove Sodium and many of the impurities found in our water. A 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis is one of the few systems that will remove the sodium.

What's the difference between a digital TIME controller and a digital METERED controller?

digital Time controllers

With water softener units built with the Autotrol Logix 255-740 digital Time controller, the number of days between regenerations are calculated by the number of people using the water supply, the hardness of the water and the model of water softener.

The water softener will regenerate at the time and day programmed regardless of the amount of water actually used.

digital METERED controllers

Water softener units built with the Autotrol Logix 255-760 digital Metered controller are usually more economic on salt usage due to the water softener regenerating only when the metered amount of water has been conditioned, the unit is factory set to regenerate at 2:a.m. when necessary. The the 255-760 digital metered controller combines a meter and a microprocessor, every day the computer measures how much soft water your family uses. It "learns" your usage patterns, continually monitors changes in usage and regenerates only when necessary. The controller has a self adjusting reserve capacity and knows exactly how much soft water you use each day. It analyzes and adjusts the reserve capacity daily to meet your actual changing usage, as a result, the reserve is never too high (causing it to regenerate more often, wasting salt), or too low (which could cause hard water to break through). The water softener will regenerate when necessary but at the time of day programmed.

Enquiries, Please Call 0845 056 3468

Contact Information

Tel: 0845 0563468

UK Water Softeners
27 Old Gloucester Street

VAT No. 650934630