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FAQ


Please email kevingoody@uk-water-softeners.co.uk if anything remains unanswered...

Hard Water Map of the UK

What is hard water?

For a description of where hard water comes from, please click here.

How hard is the water in my area?

Much of the UK, particularly the south, suffers from hard water. 
To find out the condition of water in your area please view this map.

Why should I upgrade my water softener?

There are many reasons why it could be worth upgrading your existing water softener to a TwinTec S3. 
Please view this page to see just a few.

Can I take a water softener with me when I move?

The TwinTec S3 Water Softener

Most certainly, this is possible with modern softeners. Installation techniques involve quick fitting connections, similar to those used with washing machines. All that is necessary, is to close off the inlet and outlet valves to the softener and open up the bypass valve, allowing hard water to flow to the storage tank and household taps. The softener can then simply be disconnected, moved to its new location and replumbed as necessary.

What are the running costs of a water softener?

This can depend of the hardness of water in your area.  However, an indication of the running costs can be found here.

Can I use softened water in my aquarium?

Softened water is satisfactory for most fish and should not have any undesirable or toxic affect on the aquarium. When changing the water, it is always advisable to do so gradually. This is important so as not to disturb or unbalance the aquarium's environment. Temperature and pH of the water is critical to some tropical fish and any drastic change could result in fatalities. The change from hard water to softened should be undertaken over a month or so, replacing only about 25% of the aquarium's capacity at any one time.

How much soap and detergent should be used with softened water?

Softened water will cut the amount of detergents and cleaning fuids required.

It is always better to use too little than too much. In a washing machine it may be possible to use only a heaped tablespoonful of washing powder for a full, lightly soiled load. You may only need a teaspoonful for a handwash. Over a period of time experience will show you what is sufficient in most cases.

Can I use softened water in my steam iron or car battery?

Distilled or demineralised water ONLY is satisfactory for use in this type of equipment. Neither hard nor softened water has all the minerals removed. Therefore they should not be used in steam irons or car batteries.

Is softened water safe to drink?

In most instances softened water is perfectly safe to drink. The beneficial minerals essential for good health, come mostly from food in a balanced diet. Neither hard nor soft water can provide a significant proportion of the daily needs for minerals. Although we use low sodium milk powders in the country it is advisable that as softened water can contain up to 300mg/l of sodium, hard water only should be used when making up powdered milk for baby feeds.

Will softened water help dry skin conditions, such as eczema?

Bath foam forms much more readily with softened water.
Sufferers of conditions such as dry skin, eczema and psoriasis notice benefits from the use of softened water. Due to the complexity of eczema it is impossible to quantify why softened water helps. Successful reports suggest the following:
  • Water softeners eliminate scummy soap curd and result in a cleaner lather which is kind to skin, reducing dryness and itching.
  • With softened water, the amount of soap used when washing clothes can be greatly reduced. Also pure soap products can be used with softened water in preference to detergents.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham are currently researching the effects of softened water on childhood eczema - see http://www.swet-trial.co.uk for the latest information.  You can also read an encouraging BBC News story on their efforts.

Should softened water be used for watering indoor plants?

When using hard or soft water to water houseplants, it should be remembered that both contain minerals which will be deposited in the soil. If allowed to accumulate, plant growth will not necessarily be sustained. Rain, distilled or deionised water is preferable. Hard water is the second choice and softened water an inadequate third choice. Only a few plants take to artificially softened water in the long term although it is unlikely that any positive harm will result. Watering the garden with softened water can be very wasteful, unnecessary and expensive. We advise that all outside taps used for garden watering be left connected directly to the incoming hard water main.

How much money am I likely to save with softened water?

You will most likeley save money with a water softener, not the other way around

The savings provided by a water softener will produce a payback within 2-4 years.

Will softening drinking water deprive my family of essential minerals?

No. Food is the primary supply of minerals for our good health. A small amount is absorbed from the water we drink but it is not significant. Most potable water supplies whether hard or soft are unable to supply all the minerals we need. A single pint of milk can supply the mineral equivalent of 3 gallons of
drinking water.

My hard water comes from a local bore hole on my farm. Is this likely to present problems?

It is possible to soften a private bore hole supply. The installation of the softener may be more complicated. Most softeners operate within a minimum and maximum pressure limit and as most well water must be pumped into the house, it is important that the right kind of pressure pump is fitted. It is also preferable to insert a filter to remove sediment and other waterborn contaminants, that may be present in the raw water. Most companies marketing softeners will advise you on the installation requirements and provide the necessary plumbing components.

My rising water main comes up in my hall by my front door. Will this make installing a water softener difficult?

A TwinTec S3 can be installed out of sight beneath your sink.

This situation is fairly common but does not make for an easy installation. It may however be possible to utilise a gas or electric meter cupboard, or fit the softener under the stairs. Flexible piping has greatly simplified this type of installation and enables a softener to be sited in confined locations, often many metres from the water supply. A softener can be installed in an adjacent garage, utility or store room. In some cases softeners can be sited on an external wall, as long as the appliance is well insulated from extreme weather conditions. It is quite common for external salt cabinets to be fitted in this way. Polystyrene lined boxes for this purpose are available from some softener suppliers. It is not advisable to install a water softener in a loft. Although convenient for installation purposes, it is a considerable chore lifting heavy salt into a loft to refill the softener. An installation that may seem impossible to the DIY handyman, may easily be tackled by the professional installer who has developed techniques and has the right tools to cope with most problems. It can pay considerable dividends to consult the experts. Most softener suppliers will visit your home and advise you without any obligation whatsoever.

Can a water softener be used with lead pipes?

Some of the lead pipework may have to be replaced first. Although lead pipework in hard water areas may not cause a problem, it is advisable to replace it. However, soft water (natural rainwater or artificially softened water) in lead pipework systems may cause the pickup of lead. If your lead pipework has not already been replaced, any pipes that carry softened water must be changed. Grants may be available for such renovation of pipework for households with low income. Further information may be obtained from your local authority.

Can a water softener drain into a septic tank?

Yes. Regeneration waste water for a water softener will have no adverse effect on a septic tank, provided both are the right size for the number of people in the family. Softened water can help reduce the amount of detergent discharged into a septic tank.

Do water softeners work with combi boilers and pressurised systems?

Yes, the TwinTec has a high flow rate and is designed to work effectively with both the traditional and the more modern, direct feed mains systems.

When you remove scale from pipes, do they start to leak?

Softened water will be good for your pipes, not the opposite.

No. The hole in your pipe would have been leaking long before the scale formed and as the scale is porous, it would continue to leak. A hole appearing in a pipe after scale has formed would also leak for the same reason. This also applies to taps and other plumbing fittings.