Why Have a Water Softener?
This is a question that passes through every one’s mind when contemplating the purchase of a water softener. Unless you actually know somebody who has experienced living with softened water it is often difficult to justify the cost.
There is no doubt that a water softener is an investment rather that an ‘impulse’ purchase. Most prospective buyers have often thought about buying a water softener for many years before actually doing so. Within weeks of experiencing softened water the typical outcry is, ‘Why on earth didn’t we buy a water softener years ago?’
Once purchased, a water softener is often moved from home to home, partly explaining why it is exceedingly rare to see a water softener being sold second-hand.
The cost savings with a water softener are a great deal more than is sometimes realised, giving a pay back period within four to five years, second only to cavity wall insulation. The reduction in household cleaning products alone can save around £20 a month. When combined with other savings, such as reduced heating costs, the actual amount can be considerably more.
The advantages and benefits of a water softener are numerous.
Scale reduction in the heating system means it runs more efficiently with less maintenance and no costly repair bills.
Softened water means less soap, shampoo and detergent is needed thereby reducing household shopping bills.
Family memmbers can enjoy the luxury of a scum free bath, more manageable hair and softer, fluffier towels.
To those suffering from eczema there can be a considerable improvement to skin inflammation. (NB. The National Eczema Society now recognises that softened water can be of benefit to eczema sufferers)
Softened water is amazingly clean to live with. Spotting and staining are a thing of the past. Softened water will erode away existing hard water deposits. Matt and discoloured baths and basins will gradually regain their original lustre and the scale around the taps and blocked shower roses will completely dissolve away. The time spent cleaning up after hard water can be dramatically reduced.
One of the niceties of using softened water is being able to return to using more traditional soaps and cleaning agents. Over the years hard water has provided detergent manufacturers with the ideal vehicle on which to evolve new and more effective washing powders, fabric conditioners, whiteners, rinsing aids, bleaches and other chemical concoctions. Poly phosphates and similar chemicals are employed to suspend the harsh actions of hard water so that a high quality washing action can be achieved. Some can be viewed as environmentally unfriendly.
With softened water many of these are unnecessary. Water softener manufactures can therefore recommend more ‘lightweight’ washing powders and liquids that do not damage the environment.
Pure soaps perform far better than branded ones and soaps which are detergent derivatives. Bubble bath liquids are unnecessary as a good quality soap will fill a softened water bath with bubbles that will seemingly last forever.
The Unsung Hero
With the water softener having ‘so much going for it’ it is surprising that it still remains one of the most underestimated domestic appliances in the home today with about 6% of households owning one. Most families that have a softener would not be without one, yet few speak openly about their credibility, perhaps because most have been tucked away out of sight for years and are left to get on with the job they have to do.
Unfortunately water softeners have never had a glamorous image. Now that water quality is gaining a higher profile that will change. As indicated the water softener is worthwhile purchasing for many reasons and there are many more benefits besides. It offers outstanding value for money, has a long life expectancy and the running costs are low, in fact the only real ongoing outlay is for salt which in cost terms is about 40% of the savings.
There is everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying out a water softener. It is hoped the various points raised here will entice you and your family to install a model of your choice and to enjoy softened water for many years to come.