See our top tips when looking for a water softener
Single tank v Twin-tank
What’s the difference? Whether a single or twin-tank, these tanks are filled with food-grade resin and this is what is needed to treat hard water. Both types of units have a metering device to measure the amount of water used. Once the single tank has reached its capacity, it needs to clean itself, this is called the regeneration process. When this process is happening the single tank softener will then give you hard water whilst the twin-tank will switch to the other tank of resin, giving you continuous soft water.
Electric v Non-electric
An electric softener must be plugged into a mains electrical supply to power the timer in the machine. You will need to set the machine to clean itself the same time every day, usually, this is set for when you are asleep. However, these can be noisy and very wasteful. The machine will clean itself at the same time every day, even when it doesn’t need to wasting salt and water! Non-electrical softeners are demand operated that means the unit is mechanical and runs using the incoming mains pressure, they only regenerate as and when they need too, saving you money!
Everyone has experienced when you get in the shower and someone flushes the toilet the shower reduces to a dribble, this is to do with flow rates. Having a water softener should not impact on the flow of water unless you have every shower and tap in the house running at once, then there may be a marginal drop in pressure.
Dependant on how far you’ve got in your research you would have found that Water Softeners greatly vary in price. Same as car manufactures, there is a wide range of softeners available from top-end brands and cheaper units. The main thing to remember, as with anything, is you get what you pay for. Cheaper units tend to be the single-tank electric ones that are extremely expensive to run, can be noisy and you will need to have an electrical feed fitted near your stop-cock before you can get it working, by the way, water and electric don’t mix well! Twin-tank non-electrical units are more expensive, but they usually are far cheaper to run day to day and easy to install most importantly they will provide constant soft water with no downtime. They will last you a long time as all the parts are mechanical.