Frequently Asked Questions
At Honeyman, we know water. We have long been the choice for major pharmaceutical and life sciences highly purified water and steam supply, distribution, testing, analysis and validation. We supply a variety of water treatment products and services throughout the UK and Ireland and to all types of businesses and individuals.
From total purified water, water for injection and pure steam generation and distribution systems for medical equipment and pharmaceutical use to sediment filters for direct borehole well supplies, de-ionisation in private water supply installations or softening and de-mineralising hard water to your home – we have solutions tailor made to fit.
Here we aim to demystify all of the terms and processes and answer questions surrounding water treatment, specifically softening and filtration, so you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Water Softener FAQ's
We all know water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen (H2O), but that’s not all it contains. There’s a lot more to consider when you’re talking about water for human consumption.
You may get your homes water from a borehole or well, or more likely your water comes from treated water from a reservoir, or perhaps a combination of both.
The impurities vary from water classed as “hard water” – water with a high mineral content, e.g. high concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions – to chlorination lingering from treatment at your local drinking water treatment plant, to iron and manganese, sediment and floating particles.
Hard water is safe to drink but can create a variety of problems in your home, including limescale buildup that can damage your pipework.
A lake or reservoir may be more likely to contain bacteria and sediment in comparison to groundwater.
No matter where your water comes from, it will contain some source impurities. Even if your home receives water from a municipal source that has been treated to meet safe drinking water standards, your water likely contains contaminants that make it less than ideal for household use.
Water that has high concentrations of dissolved chalk, lime and other mineral content, most commonly calcium and magnesium, is known as Hard Water. Hard water is found where water supplies pass through, or are stored in, chalk, limestone, and marble and is responsible for the formation of scale. It is visibly cloudy and can soil and clog pipework, fixtures and fittings, including appliances and anything else using mains water. This can cause major issues if not treated, throughout your plumbing, heating and water appliances such as boilers, showers, dishwashers, washing machines etc.
Water hardness can differ across the country, varying depending on the soil and rocks from where your water supply is taken. For example, water that has been held in chalk or limestone will tend to be harder whereas water from moorlands tends to be softer.
The map below should provide a sense of the water hardness in your area, but check with your local supplier for more accurate details based on your postcode.
If you live in an area where the mains water supply consists of hard or medium hard water then a water softener would benefit you by:
- saving you from costly repair bills by increasing the life span of your appliances (e.g. boiler, washing machine, dishwasher)
- spending less time cleaning and save money as less products are required
- cleaner and healthier hair and skin, with less products needed
- brighter and softer clothes, towels and bedding
Soft water helps prevent limescale forming that can cause inefficiency and costly unexpected breakdowns in appliances such as boilers, dishwashers, and washing machines. Softer water saves you money on energy bills by reducing scale build-up on heating elements as well as costly repairs and component replacements.
Washing with softened water results in cleaner, brighter crockery, cutlery, glassware and silverware. Clothes and towels are softer and last longer with brighter whites for longer. Cleaning with soft water even saves time as it reduces the appearance of streaks or spots on hard surfaces.
Soft water lathers much better with soaps and shampoos leaving skin and hair soft to the touch. Hard water does not wash away soap as effectively as soft water and therefore does not remove dirt or irritants from your skin as easily which can lead to dry or irritated skin and damaged hair. Hard water can cause or exacerbate skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
The ion exchange resin bed inside your water softener becomes exhausted every few days, clogged with the presence of hard mineral particles. When this happens the resin is less efficient and needs to be flushed clean with a brine solution, which washes away the trapped ions, before resuming with softening your water again. This takes place automatically controlled by a pre-configured timer or water meter, depending on the type of controller valve your softener has.
Salt is the rinsing agent used to make the brine that cleans the softeners ion exchange resin bed. Salt will never enter your water supply, it is simply flushed away down the drain during regeneration.
You can use either tablet, granular or block salt in your water softener, top it up no higher than 2-3 inches below the lip of the cabinet / brine tank. Top up your salt either once a week or so. Your salt usage will depend on your water usage, how hard your water is and your water softeners resin bed capacity.
Your resin bed should last many years if looked after, 10 to 15 years is not uncommon however it depends on its usage throughout its life.
We recommend that a routine service is carried out on your water softener on a regular basis, certain models have guarantees that make a service mandatory for the guarantee to be maintained.
Softeners regenerate their resin beds automatically, either based on a pre-set meter or a timer. Most control heads / valves are set to only perform one or the other.
Metered regeneration occurs after a specified amount of water has passed through the resin. A metered water softener will regenerate once the capacity usage is reached.
Timed regeneration allows you to programme a set time for the softener to regenerate automatically.