Read Our COVID-19 Update - 02/11/20

The government have announced a new national lockdown, to start with effect from Thursday 5th November 2020.

The government have also confirmed that trade businesses that work in customer homes may continue as long as they are COVID Secure, which Hydroworks has been throughout the pandemic.

Our team will continue to follow all strict social distancing guidelines, including sanitising and now the wearing of masks in customer homes where customers are present.

If we are working within your home, such as changing a filter or servicing a softener, or installing a new softener, we would ask that the area we are working be well ventilated.

The company policy is that we will sanitise our hands on arrival at your home, and on departure too.  If we touch surfaces within your home, we will inform you which surfaces we have touched, and we will sanitise those surfaces too with a light bleach solution before we leave.

Our salt was manufactured and stored on pallets more than 30 days ago, and will only have been touched by the member of our team who delivers it, and their hands will be sanitised.  We will deliver your salt to your home, and if safe to do so, will leave it in your desired location.  If you would prefer your salt to be left outside your home, then we will ascertain beforehand where your preferred safe point is.

Lastly, we will confirm with you that no one in your home is experiencing symptoms or self isolating when booking the appointment to come and see you, plus when confirming the appointment the day before, Daniel will also confirm that no one in your home is self isolating or experiencing symptoms at that time too.  

As a final precaution, when we are on our way to your home, the individual coming (Laurence, Alex or Pete) will also call you to confirm that not only are we experiencing no symptoms, but to ascertain that no circumstances in your own home has changed either.

We remain committed to the safety of our clients, and together we will get through this safely.

Any questions, please call Laurence on 07976 036101 or email the team on hello@hydroworks.co.uk


COVERING KENT, SUSSEX, EAST SURREY & SOUTH EAST LONDON

Choosing the right water softener for your home

When selecting a water softener for your home, how do you choose the right one?

Choosing the right water softener for your home

When selecting a water softener for your home, how do you choose the right one?

Choose your softener carefully...

In our view, it is incredibly important to choose your softener with tremendous care.

If you select very well, this should be a decision you need only make once every 15 - 20 years, and if you're very lucky, your softener could last you much, much longer.

This customer chose their softener well.

Purchased nearly 40 years previous for about £1,000 in today's money, it was still giving softened water when we were invited in by the customer to do a FREE Health check on it.​

The customer decided, however, to change it as they wanted the convenience of block salt and the peace of mind of reliability, and so they opted for the Minimax M3 water softener which is the most advanced non-electric softener in the market today.

A well-chosen softener should give you such incredible water so that every day you have a shower or a bath, or you walk into your sparkling kitchen & bathroom, you remember you have a water softener fitted.

Additionally, it is so very important to ensure that the softener is capable of meeting the needs of the property as well as the people who live there.

If your property is over three floors with a bathroom on the top floor, careful consideration needs to be given to the water pressure and flow rates required at the top level bathroom.

Properties designed like this sometimes require a more powerful, larger water softener compared to a standard two-storey home.

The same would apply if you are a larger family - a standard domestic softener in such a circumstance could be expensive to run and may be inefficient.

It would also work so hard that it would last only a few years as it would just 'burn out'.

So in these circumstances, it would once again be prudent to choose the softener well, sizing the softener carefully to meet the demands of your growing family

Questions to think about

1. Do you need a single cylinder water softener, or a twin cylinder water softener?

Single cylinder water softener.

Not all softeners are the same. A single-cylinder softener can only do one thing at a time.

It can either soften the water or regenerate the resin. While it is regenerating, it is giving hard water.

If installed into the wrong type of home, we generally tend to find cosmetic watermarks and staining on taps and shower screens.

MiniMax twin cylinder water softener

A twin-cylinder water softener will provide softened water all of the time.  But not all twin cylinder softeners are the same.

The American Kinetico softener only works on one cylinder at a time, plus the customer has to compromise between high flow rates or high efficiency.

The British Harveys Minimax uses both cylinders at the same time, producing softer water, and does both high flow rates and high efficiency - perfect for every plumbing system in the UK.

2. How efficient do you want your softener, and how soft do you want your water?

Timer Controlled

Old Fashioned, Cheaper, less efficient

Some softeners cleanse themselves at the same time of day, every day, even if they don't need to.

These TIMER softeners are very wasteful of both salt and water.

Because they cleanse themselves every day, they work exceptionally hard, and so require more maintenance and they have a much shorter life span.

Turbine meter

Turbine Meter

Old Fashioned Single-Cylinder & Kinetico Twin-Cylinder

Most metered water softeners have this older style of meter, but these are prone to letting hard water slip through.

This is known as 'slippage' and can leave cosmetic water marks.​

These meters are not very accurate, so its frequently common to fit extra metering in the home if installed on loft tank gravity-fed systems

Displacement meter

Displacement Meter

Most advanced, totally accurate, even used by the water board

The better the softener, the better the meter.

Unfortunately, almost every softener in the UK market the British manufacturer, Harveys, use the displacement water meter in the Minimax Water Softeners.

This measures even down to a very slow dripping tap, and this helps the softener to give incredibly soft water.

3. Do you want to use tablet salt or block salt?

Salt blocks.

Tablet salt is better for a water softener than the older form of granular salt, and comes in either 25kg bags or easier-to-handle 10kg bags.

Most tablet salt softeners are very inefficient, and so I have pulled together for our range those softeners that are the most reliable, the most efficient and have the best performances.

MiniMax twin cylinder water softener

Block salt softeners aren't suitable for every home, but for those where they are, you will find that it is easy-to-handle, convenient, and it creates a very pure brine solution - this typically means the softener requires less servicing and maintenance.

Block salt is typically no more expensive than tablet salt, enhanced by the savings on servicing.

There are three grades of water softener quality in the UK:

Budget Grade Softeners

Basic, Cheaper to buy, short life expectancy, costly to run, Requires more maintenance

These softeners offer cheap, affordable access to some of the benefits of softened water, such as tackling scale, but they're not very good at giving soft water consistently.

They always use older technology and work exceptionally hard which means they will burn themselves out quickly.  These softeners require regular servicing and are less efficient. Replace more frequently.

They always use older technology, require regular servicing and are significantly less efficient.  Replace more frequently.

Typical water wastage on a regeneration:

80 - 120 litres of water

PRICING:

£500 - £650 + fitting + VAT

(Typical fully installed price £800 - £1,000)

LIFE EXPECTANCY:

3 - 8 years at best

Budget softeners are cheaper to buy, but will cost more in the longer run as they are more expensive to operate.

They use a lot more salt and water (typically between 80 - 120L of between water each time they regenerate) and because they work so hard, they will not last as long.

Builder and Plumber Grade Softeners

A bit more expensive, costly to run, Older technology, Requires more maintenance,'Lucky Dip' availability

When a customer typically asks their plumber or builder for a water softener, they will generally want to be as helpful as possible and will go down to their local plumbers merchant and ask for whichever softener is on the shelf available for them to order.

The merchant staff have so many products that it is impossible for them to know them all well, and will literally just sell the plumber what is on the shelf that month - normally this is the softener that the merchant is getting the best rebate back on from the supplier.  Effectively, they are being sold 'a box'. The merchant counter staff know very little about all the products they sell despite all their best of intentions, and so it becomes a bit of a lucky dip.

There is indeed, of course, a market for this type of softener as it will enable a plumber or builder to tick the "fit water softener" box when the architect or householder asks for one to be fitted.  

These machines are typically older generation technology, run on electrics, are marginally better on efficiency to the budget softeners, and require annual regular servicing, but they can offer good limescale protection. They are a good introduction to the benefits of soft water but may not always soften the water completely.

Typical water wastage on a regeneration:

80 - 120 litres of water​

PRICING:

£725 - £1,000 + fitting + VAT

(Typical fully installed price:  £1,200 - £1,300)

LIFE EXPECTANCY:

7 - 15 years at best

Plumber checking sink tap.
Plumbing shop and products.

Consumer Grade Softeners

Higher cost, Best efficiency, Advanced engineering, High-end Materials, Best Technology, Best flow rates
Lowest running costs, Best guarantees, Longest life expectancies

When we visit customers with very old water softeners, they are almost always from what we would class the Consumer Range of their day.  Regardless of when the softener was purchased, these softeners are the latest generation of technology available at that time, offering the best in performance and efficiency.  They are typically built to last twice the life of a quality refrigerator.

There are a variety of softeners that fall within the Consumer Range, some of which will give you soft water some of the time, and others that will give you soft water all of the time.  Some will give you both high flow rates and high efficiency, and with others, you'll have to compromise one benefit over the other.

So it's very important to be fully aware of all the true features of each softener so that you choose well to make sure the decision you make is one that you'll be delighted for many years to come.

However, for the little extra you'll typically pay for a consumer range softener, you'll definitely appreciate the choice you made, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Typical water wastage on a regeneration:

17 - 60  of water depending on softener

PRICING:

£1,100 - £1300 + fitting + VAT

(Typical fully installed price:  £1,500 - £1,800)

LIFE EXPECTANCY:

20 - 25 years typically

Meet our happy customers

We'll show you how their softeners were installed too!

Richard Cook - Herne Bay

Alison and Stuart Roberts - Herne Hill, Kent

Len Halsall - Eythorne, Kent

Meet Mavis... we're choosing the best Quooker for the home

Richard Cook - Herne Bay