Domestic Water Softeners.

dreamdaisy
dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
edited 28. Sep 2014, 11:41 in Community Chit-chat archive
Living as we do in the East of England hard water is a fact of life. I like the taste of it (thanks to our filter tap) but don't like what it does to our domestic machines etc. We've done the magnetic thing (and tried various other options to little avail) but I am wondering if any of you out there have experience of these things? We have one which is not connected (and I have no idea how it works) but someone is coming out to inspect next Tuesday, and hopefully provide me with useful knowledge. Friends of ours around here have them, and swear by them, but I would appreciate any further information you can provide. Thank you. DD

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,707
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry, can't help. We're in a limestone area.
  • villier
    villier Member Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry can't help either don't have that problem.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,257
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry DD I have heard of them but not a clue how its works..
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well, today is the day and I have answered my own question about our current one. The lady from whom we bought No.10 had the kitchen radically altered so probably disconnected the softener - I think the chap will confirm this. Technology has moved on and I reckon the way to go is one being fitted under our kitchen sink. The kit for our new bathrooms is gleaming, the glass shower panels are clear and I want to keep them that way. I know that softened water is not too good for one's heart but, given the state of me, I'm not that bothered. :wink: DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,707
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There's nowt wrong with your heart, DD :D
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's as I thought, the outside softener is around 35 years old, electric and not working. We are having a new one installed in one of the kitchen cabinets, it's non-electric and costs around £60 per annum in salt: end of expense. It will take some time to pay for itself but I think it's a very good thing, it will keep our new bathroom kit all shiny and free-flowing and improve the performances of our washing machine, dishwasher, boiler and kettle.

    We're getting things done, one at a time, and that is good. If we can get the house as we want it within the next year it will see us out. DD

    PS Thank you, Sticky, you are very kind. :oops:
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't believe it. (Yup, my inner Victor Meldrew is alive and well. :wink: ) We are forty-eight hours in and my limited psoriasis has eased, my hair and skin are softer, as is laundry. The taste is as not clean as hard water but I'm sure I will adjust. We had a hic-cup yesterday as drinking water (via my Brita filter tap) had a salty tang but that was sorted and all is well. I should have had this done years ago.

    If any of you are living in a hard water area then please consider this as an option. Our leccy bills should drop as the softened water cleans the boiler, dishwasher and washing machine, plus we now have to use half the quantity of cleaning agents. It appears to be a win-win. I hope so. DD
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What a result. I'd never even thought such a thing existed but as I live in London, another hard water area I shall look into this.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,707
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm very pleased for you. As I've lived in soft water areas most of my life I naturally have beautifully soft, silky skin - and a tendency to be economical with the truth :lol: I'm glad it's a success, DD.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Skin still better, hair still softer, showers etc. not scaled at all but I cannot drink the softened water. It tastes very salty to me - very slightly salty to Mr DD - but it's affecting the taste of everything for me, my cups of tea have a tang and even my brekkie boiled eggs taste salty. They have rigged it so even the outside tap is softened water, there's a lovely ring of sparkling white salt round the edge of the birdbath. :roll: I am now buying bottled water for drinking, I usually have between three - five pints a day and that had dropped to almost nothing so big five litre bottles are now in the kitchen.

    I do not add salt to food, I have never boiled veg in salted water, we don't have salted butter so I guess I am very aware of its taste. The softener people came out yesterday and assured me that it is the normal taste for artificially softened water whereas I think I'm drinking brine. :lol: We also had Anglian Water round yesterday to check our domestic pressure - at the end of our drive it is 40 litres per minute - terrific! - but in the house it's between 7 - 9 litres per minute, which is pathetic. Our lovely ground-floor crip-friendly shower does not work properly due to the lack of pressure (both heads require between 15 - 20 litres per minute) so more expense is beckoning. We have the choice of replacing the pipe that connects us to the main (if we can find it) or fitting something called an accumulator which will fix the pressure problem. My gut feeling is the latter, it will be quicker, easier, nor so disruptive and it should help everything in the house run better. Even our boiler struggles with the low pressure.

    The most irksome thing, however, is this. The company we chose to fit the bathroom not once checked our water pressure. Not once. As a result they cheerfully fitted our choice of heads despite their being unfit for purpose and also despite knowing that this area of town is renowned for low pressure. AW are working on improving matters but that won't come about until late 2016, a long time to wait.

    I am peeved. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,707
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head with the key phrase 'not fit for purpose'. Contact your local Trading Standards Office for advice. Don't just chuck more money at it as that would give the people who sold it to you 'wriggle room'.

    Maybe also check with your local Environmental Health people to see if the water is safe to drink.

    I'd never heard of a water accumulator so I had a look on t' interweb. From what I can understand of what I've read :oops: , this would solve your shower problem but do nothing for your drinking water as they appear to work only on appliances that use hot water.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    They are two separate issues, Sticky, and the thot plickens when it comes to solving the pressure issue.

    We have four options.

    1. Find then dig out the old pipe that connects us to the mains and replace with a brand new one - this will also require the excavation of the kitchen floor to expose the pipe work which enters the house (but no-one knows where).

    2. Fit an accumulator, a one-off expense and no maintenance costs involved.

    3. Fit a cold water break tank and two pumps: the pumps alone are £756 plus VAT and will cost in 'leccy.

    4. Replace our super-duper but ultimately useless shower with an electric one (as the makers themselves recommend when I enter our water details on their website).

    I am waiting to hear back from the softener bods so in the meantime have bought eight litres of mineral water. I am glugging my second pint as I type. DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm with SW on the shower DD. It is the responsibility of the firm fitting it to ensure it is suitable, and tell you if there is a problem with the one you have chosen - they are supposed to have the relevant knowledge after all. Does the firm belong to any trade body or registration scheme?
    As for the water softener I always understood that there had to be one tap with unsoftened water for drinking purposes. It isn't difficult to arrange as the rising main should be in the kitchen, and so the softener is fitted on the 'house' side of the coldwater tap to the sink. Having softened water to the outside tap strikes me as daft - the plants won't like it(and neither would anything in a pond if you had one - chlorine is bad enough) and it will increase the rate at which the salt is consumed.
    In the interim would a jug filter be of use?
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have learned from others who have these that we are supposed to have a dedicated drinking water tap - earlier this year (before the softener was fitted) I replaced our jug filter with a Brita tap which has a long-life cartridge under the sink but that isn't doing much to alter the taste. I am going to read my side-effects leaflets (not a habit of mine) to see if altered taste is listed anywhere, some of my generic tablets have been changed so maybe they could be at fault.

    I know that cut flowers don't like the water, so far the few houseplants I have seem to be OK. The visiting cat has stopped drinking the hedgehog's water (I'm not leaving any out now) and bird bath activity has dropped off quite considerably. The water butt is empty too - we need rain so I can water the birdies!

    The bathroom company make no mention on their invoice of belonging to a trade organisation but there are registered and VAT numbers. I will check about that, thank you, Daffy, for the nudge. They are making the right kind of noises but it may be time for me to hand this over to 'im indoors. He knows the right noises to make back whereas I would be very thankful and possibly grovel. :oops: Believe it or not I am quite a quiet person who doesn't like to cause a fuss. :oops: DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    DD, your mention of VAT number prompts me to ask whether VAT was charged on the shower work and if so whether possible exemption from VAT charges on disability grounds was mentioned?
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Daffy, yes it was and no, I hadn't thought about that aspect; I shall investigate next week. Yesterday was a day a sheer physical hell: cupboards emptied, endless teas and coffees, much walking and standing around as holes were dug, part of the kitchen floor taken up (and a plumbing nightmare discovered) - I currently wish we'd never had any of this done. They are returning on Monday or Tuesday because we cannot locate the mains supply into the house. It isn't where logic suggests.


    Re. the water softener - the lack of a dedicated hard water drinking pipe was discovered (after parts of the kitchen floor were taken up) so the company that installed it will come a week on Monday to correct that at no extra charge because we should not be drinking artificially softened water. It is now turned off and we are back to the glorious taste of hard (and Brita filtered) water. I don't care about the showers etc., they'll be OK for a week. DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You so could do without this DD, as they say. I don't know about you but it seems to rankle more when things that are supposed to make life easier/better go wrong than when it's just run of the mill stuff.
    Another thought(sorry this will be the last!) does the water softener have a minimum water pressure requirement? I wondered if the slow passage of water through the unit would increase salt concentration - even if you don't drink it there doesn't seem much to be gained from using more than is necessary, and salt is corrosive to metals.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No, it doesn't have a minimum water pressure level, Daffy, but it does reduce what little pressure we have. :roll: I spoke to the previous owner of the house this morning and I think I may know where the water main that joins the house to the is located. She took out an old, dying tree near the end of the drive and found that the ground was waterlogged - she was wringing water out of the remaining wood. Curiouser and curiouser. DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So perhaps it's a broken main causing low pressure rather than just distance from the 'big pipe'?
    I do hope you start getting answers to act on instead of just more puzzles.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    We are having a new main installed sometime next week, it seems to be the only way to fix the trouble. I suspect a major leak somewhere in the original piping (which is probably lead), the previous owner of the house rang on Sunday and told me that she had removed two trees at the end of the drive, found that their wood was sopping wet but didn't wonder why. What a div.

    So, the drive will be dug up, two kitchen cupboards will be taken out, holes will be dug and drilled, the dedicated hard water feed pipe to the sink will be put in (more oak flooring to be taken up), the softener re-connected and re-commissioned and then all will be restored.

    I am dreading it. DD
  • mig
    mig Member Posts: 7,152
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Blinking eck DD only just read this what a mess. Mig
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    The works are confirmed for Thursday and Friday next week, so I will empty the two cupboards on Wednesday (these are floor-to-almost-ceiling cupboards and ergo full of stuff) by ferrying things through to the sitting room via a tray or maybe Hermione (which seems like a better plan). The dining table can play host for a few days to the stuff (and I suppose it will give me a chance for a clear-out which will gladden one of the DD's hearts :wink: ). I hope the cupboards will be re-installed by the Friday afternoon so I can then spend a merry time restocking them in time for the weekend.

    Ye gods. I sincerely hope that this all results in a more efficient gas combi-boiler and a much better showering experience for yours truly. It'd better. DD

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