Which water softener should we choose?

With a Minimax to meet every home, every flow rate and every site condition, you can be confident you have the made the right decision

From a one bedroom flat to a large family home with multiple bedrooms, power showers and high demands of water, the Minimax caters for every situation…

 

Single Cylinder or Twin Cylinder?

With so many different makes of water softeners on the market, it can be very difficult and confusing to know which is the right one for you. If you know what to look for, making your decision is actually really easy. It comes down to knowing that some softeners are single cylinder water softeners, and others are twin cylinder water softeners. Once you know that, all you need to do is ask yourself a simple question:- “Do I want soft water just some of the time, or do I want it all of the time?”

 

Changing Times

To help you to which is best for you, here’s what you need to know:- When water softeners were first invented back in the early 1920’s, all machines were single cylinder. As both technology and the understanding of water softening has evolved, water softeners have moved towards twin cylinder models which offer a much superior quality of softened water.

 

So, What is The Difference?

Do you want… Soft water some of the time? If you’re on a budget, then you may wish to consider a single cylinder electric water softener which gives you soft water some of the time. There are many brands of softeners to choose from. Below we have lined up just some of the single cylinder electric water softeners available in the UK market:-

 

What Lies Beneath…

Under the cover of these single cylinder water softeners, they will all look something like the illustration to the left:- All of these water softeners use electricity to power the clock or meter, all have a single cylinder of food grade water softening resin, and will take either granular salt or tablet salt. However, some of these single cylinder water softeners sold in the UK today are attempting to also capture a slice of the popular block salt water softening market. These companies will often claim that their softener can operate on block salt, however, it is more often the case that the block salt will fall over as it dissolves making it difficult and clumsy to add more salt when required.

To summarise the features of single cylinder water softeners:

CANNOT SUPPLY SOFT WATER ALL THE TIME –

RESULTS IN A BLEND OF PARTIALLY SOFT WATER ELECTRICITY IS REQUIRED

COMPLICATED PROGRAMMING OFTEN REQUIRED SUFFERS TRICKLE FLOW PROBLEMS – HARD WATER SEEPS THROUGH METER or TIMER CONTROLLED

REGULAR SERVICING REQUIRED

HEAVY 25kg BAGS OF TABLET or GRANULAR SALT

How Does a Water Softener Work?

A water softener needs to do two jobs:

It needs to soften the water by removing the calcium minerals from the water, and then when it cannot soften any further, it needs to go offline and flush the calcium minerals down the drain.

It is true to say that this cleaning process (known as a ‘regeneration’), takes place normally at night when no or little water is used in the home.

However, should a washing machine or dishwasher be running, or someone flushes a toilet or briefly turns on a tap, then if the softener is on bypass all incoming hard water will mix with your stored soft water, creating a blend of softened water which will become gradually harder over a period of time.

This blend of soft water with a mix of hard water will over time result in the soft water unsatisfactorily diluted. The run-on effect of this is that you will always use more detergents and soap with a single cylinder water softener than you would with a twin cylinder water softener.

Single cylinder electric water softeners generally require annual servicing in order for the machine to operate at its best as the valves and circuit boards can become corroded over time. It is typical to expect an electric water softener to give you anything from 7 – 15 years of softened water, depending on the quality of the machine, before you may expect to replace it.

Single cylinder water softeners are either Timer Controlled or Meter Controlled.

This is the most inefficient of all single cylinder water softeners. A time controlled water softener operates on a time clock set by the homeowner or plumber. This means the softener will regenerate (cleanse itself), at the same time every day or two, whether it needs to be cleaned or not. If you use more soft water than is available, the softener will be unable to supply it, and hard water will pass to service until its next pre-set regeneration. Timer controlled water softeners are always more wasteful on water and salt, and will therefore cost much more to run.
The benefit of a meter controlled water softener is that the softener will measure how much water you use in your home, and then cleanse itself when it needs to, at a time pre-set by the homeowner or plumber. Like a timer controlled water softener, if you use more soft water than is available, the softener will be unable to supply it, and hard water will pass to service until its next pre-set regeneration. The benefit of this type of meter control is that the water softener will not cleanse itself prematurely. However, it is hardly every advertised that electric single cylinder meter controlled water softeners are generally also pre-set with a three-day override so that they will cleanse themselves automatically as well as at the time determined by the meter. This is in effect a double cleanse. This is because most water softeners are unable to register the type of low flow rates that are common with UK plumbing systems, resulting in the softener running out of capacity early. By programming in this pre-set, water softener manufacturers can overcome the failure of the meter at the cost of the home owner.

Or do you want… Soft water all of the time?

When you purchase a water softener, it is often worth investing in a machine that can give you softened water all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Twin Cylinder machines are traditionally non-electric and have no user controls that need adjusting; they are simply set at the time of installation to match your local water hardness levels, and operate on a metering system, measuring the amount of water used in your home.

The luxurious feeling of softened water given by a twin cylinder machine is magnificent. Your skin will feel softer, your hair silkier and your bathing experience will be much enhanced against the type of water you might come to experience with a single cylinder water softener.

This completely soft water will mean that your soaps and detergents will also lather better, using much less and saving you much more than you would with a single cylinder water softener. There are two manufacturers of twin cylinder, non-electric water softeners:-

Harvey Water Softeners

The Minimax range of water softeners are the latest development in water softening technology, and are the market leader in fully automatic water softening design.

The Minimax water softeners are made by Harvey Water Softeners in Old Woking, Surrey, and are the only British manufactured water softeners in the industry. With a Minimax Water Softener, you are guaranteed the very best in British engineering with a product that is designed, moulded and hand built in England. When you choose a Minimax Water Softener, we you will enjoy all the benefits of a true twin cylinder design:

When you choose a Minimax Water Softener, you will enjoy all the benefits of a twin cylinder design:

SOFT WATER 24/7

NO ELECTRICITY REQUIRED NO PROGRAMMING NECESSARY SUITABLE FOR EVERY UK HEATING SYSTEM: COMBINATION BOILER,TANKS IN THE LOFT OR MEGAFLOW CYLINDERS ALL CATERED FOR! MAXIMUM FLOW RATES – A MASSIVE 55 LITRES A MINUTE LOWEST WATER USAGE IN REGENERATION – JUST 17 LITRES BLOCK SALT (EXCELLENT PURITY)

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  • 7 months ago
Aimee Holland