No matter how much information you put out there, some questions will always remain. We are looking forward to helping you out. However, before reaching out to us please check our most frequently asked questions below. This will give us more time to answer specifics and it saves you time waiting for your reply.
40% of the UK benefits from receiving naturally soft water but 60% of the population are within hard water areas. In order to receive the same benefits as people in soft water areas you will need to install a device for removing the hardness from the water. An Ion Exchange water softener exchanges calcium and magnesium minerals present in hard water for naturally occurring sodium minerals, the sodium minerals do not react with soaps or form deposits and are simply discharged down the drain with the waste water.
A water softener contains a vessel which houses a special resin. Sodium minerals are attached to the surface of the resin beads; when hard water flows over the resin, the calcium and magnesium minerals effectively knock the sodium minerals off and replace them on the surface of the resin. The sodium replaces the hardness forming calcium and magnesium minerals to produce soft water. Once all the sodium on the resin has been replaced by calcium and magnesium, the softener back flushes the resin with a brine (concentrated salt) solution. This forces the calcium and magnesium to give up their spaces on the resin beads, to be replaced by sodium.
The backwash water containing all the calcium and magnesium is sent directly to drain and the softener then performs a number of rinse cycles to ensure everything is rinsed through thoroughly. This process is know as “Ion Exchange” (calcium and magnesium ions are being exchanged for sodium ions). Ion exchange water softeners have been used extensively in industrial (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, food/drink manufacturers, textile industry), commercial (e.g. leisure facilities/health clubs, laundry’s, coffee shops) and domestic applications (e.g. family homes, B&B’s) for many years.
At no point does salt get into the water supply and there is more sodium present in a single slice of white bread than is added to soften the water for a family of four over the course of a day.
Yes you can and it is perfectly safe to drink. There is a small amount of sodium in softened water due to the water softening process, to put this into perspective there is more sodium in a glass of milk than in a glass of softened water. If you live in a very hard water area where the water hardness is over 400ppm you should have a separate water mains tap in the house for drinking water. The only times we advise against drinking softened water is when making up formula for small babies or if you are on a prescribed low sodium diet.
Water hardness is assessed in terms of the amount of Calcium and Magnesium present in a typical sample of water. This is measured in terms of milligrams (mg) of Calcium/Magnesium present in one litre (l)of water . Sometimes the amount of Calcium/Magnesium present is referred to as the “hardness” present in the water. e.g. a hardness of 200 mg/l means there is 200 milligrams Calcium/Magnesium present in a litre of water. Anything above 100 mg/l is generally referred to as hard water, which is typically graduated as follows:
|0 – 50 mg/l
|51 – 100 mg/l
|101 – 150 mg/l
|151 – 200 mg/l
|201 – 300 mg/l
Of course there are no hard and fast rules about when you need a water softener and it is very much up to personal choice. However, we would recommend that anyone with a water hardness above 100 mg/l could benefit from the installation of a softener.
Water companies regularly sample and test the mains water in the UK. They publish their data and some even provide an online form where you can find out about the quality of your water (including its hardness) simply by inputting your post code.
Soft water is water that has percolated through rocks where it has NOT picked up any minerals.
Hard water is rain that percolates down through soil and rocks it picks up a numbers of minerals. Water that flows through limestone and chalk picks up calcium and magnesium minerals. The level of calcium and magnesium contained in the water are referred to as its “hardness”. Removing these minerals produces softened water. Whilst hard water is totally natural and, for the vast majority of the population, completely harmless to health there are some drawbacks. Hard water causes:
- Scaling up of appliances.
- Reduced efficiency of heating systems.
- Reduced lifetime of domestic appliances.
- Increased usage of detergents.
- Formation of unsightly scum and scale.
- More frequent replacement of clothes and towels.
- Lacklustre skin and tangled hair.
Soap contains salts such as sodium stearate and sodium palmitate. When calcium ions in hard water mix with soap, a precipitate of calcium stearate / calcium palmitate is formed. This is what is know as soap scum. Whilst soft water readily reacts with soap to form a lather, it is much more difficult to do this with hard water. The dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals in hard water will react with the soap to form scum first, before forming a lather. Once all the calcium and magnesium minerals have been used the soap will begin to lather. Amongst other things, soap scum coats hair and skin, is unsightly and increases the use of soaps and personal care products. Whilst soapless detergents do not form scum with hard water, they tend to be harsher artificial substances and do not eliminate the issues associated with hard water.
Limescale is formed when the calcium and magnesium minerals in hard water come out of solution and attach themselves to a solid surface. This can be seen as deposits on appliances such as kettles, draining boards, taps and toilets. In addition to being unsightly, these deposits provide a medium which can harbour the growth of bacteria. In addition to producing unsightly deposits, limescale can also build up in appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters. Once inside limescale builds up over time to:
- Coat heating and cooling elements reducing their efficiency and increasing energy usage.
- Block pipes which increases the load on internal pumps leading to increased energy usage and premature failure.
- Accumulate in storage heaters to reduce capacity, increase energy usage and result in premature failure.
Limescale and scum can coat hair and skin causing hair to feel tangled and skin to feel rough. It can also coat fibers in clothes and towels, making them feel rough and look “flat”. Please see the Benefits sections to learn more about the benefits of using soft water.
It is the presence of Calcium and Magnesium minerals in water that causes hardness and leads to problems with limescale and scum.
In order to avoid the problems associated with hard water and realise all of the benefits you need to remove the calcium and magnesium minerals completely. Ion Exchange water Softeners are the only domestic product that will remove them 100% and provide all the benefits that come with using softened water.
The treated water can be simply tested to demonstrate that the unit is working.
Many manufacturers offer small, in-line units which they claim to Condition, or even Soften the water.
They come in many different types, magnetic, electronic, electrolytic, chemical dosing. However, these devices are designed to reduce the effects of hard water and do not remove the calcium and magnesium minerals. So, whilst the best can help to reduce the level of scale build up and protect household appliances to a degree, they do not remove the hardness and thus cannot offer all of the benefits of fully softened water. Their effect can not be simply tested for, to show that they are working.
If you are unsure about what you are being offered, ask if it is an “ion exchange water softener”.
Having a Nexus water softener should not impact on the flow of water unless you have every tap in the house running at once. Then there may be a marginal drop in pressure.
Your Nexus water softener would normally be installed at the point of entry where the water supply enters your home. In most instances, it will be where your stop cock is located. This would normally be positioned under your sink but could be found under your stairs, in the garage or a utility room.
The Nexus water softener can be installed by a Nexus dealer or water treatment professional. We would always recommend an experienced professional and fully-trained with all the necessary plumbing experience to fit your softener. In order to assess the plumbing in your home.
The Nexus Dealer would visit your property beforehand ensuring the installation on the day is seamless.
Fitting normally takes approximately 4 hours depending on the complexity of the installation and exactly where your stop cock is located.
Adding salt to your Nexus water softener is the only maintenance you’ll have to do.
If the incoming water supply (stop cock) is located under the kitchen sink, then our Nexus Resolve water softener will fit. It is compact and designed to fit under most standard kitchen sinks. The Nexus Resolve Xtra water softener is a larger softener for larger households but will fit in a standard kitchen cupboard. Any of our Nexus softeners can also be located in a utility room or garage.