W.E. Softeners | Water Softeners and Accessories for the West of England

Be worth your salt! – Quality over Quantity:

In a previous blog, we looked at the history of salt and its importance throughout history. How it has been more valuable than gold, fought over and used in worship. Now, we’ll look at the white stuff’s importance when it comes to softening your hard water.

Any water softener salesperson worth their salt (pardon the pun – sorry, not sorry!) will have explained to you how salt works in the process of water softening. We can safely say our team are well versed in this important subject.

If this information hasn’t been shared with you or you would like a refresher, we’ll do our best to explain it.

We’ll take you back to the beginning. Now for the science bit…

How pure water becomes hard

Water doesn’t start out as hard; most rainwater falls to the ground as pure water. As it travels through the ground down river and into the reservoirs it collects minerals and sediment naturally from rock, rivers and soil.

The most common minerals dissolved from rocks are calcite and aragonite. These minerals are present in sedimentary rocks such as limestone or chalk. When they combine it becomes the chemical compound known as Calcium carbonate [1](CaCO3). When Calcium carbonate mixes with pure water it becomes hard water.

This map shows where in the country the water from your tap is classed as hard water:

Hard Water Map of the UK

As you can see the water becomes harder in areas where the ground contains more Limestone and Chalk. Our regional area of Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset is considered to be a very hard water area.

Calcium carbonate can leave deposits of limescale[2] on your surfaces, clog your plumbing, appliances and taps, fur your kettle and generally slow down the flow of water around your home.

Now you know why people choose to install a water softening[3] devise – better known as a water softener. So, on to the next question we are often asked…

How does a water softener work?

Not to be confused with electronic water conditioners, which only alter the downstream effects of water so that minerals do not bind to surfaces – the chemical composition of the water remains unchanged.

Ion exchange water softeners, such as the ones we install, use a food grade ion-exchange resin[4] (hence the term ion exchange water softeners) which is charged using salt, to remove the minerals from the water to leave your water softened.

Ion-exchange resins are widely used for purification and decontamination purposes.

In the water softeners we install, the ion-exchange resin is continually regenerated – to stay fresh. This regeneration uses brine or saltwater to wash away the calcium and magnesium minerals and flush them down the drain, leaving the resin ‘charged’ to start withdrawing the unwanted minerals from the hard water again.

Most modern water softeners have two resin tanks – or cylinders. It will only use one tank at a time. The other will be regenerating to maintain a consent flow of softened water to your home.

This is why you need to maintain the salt levels, so the brine can clean the resin otherwise it will not regenerate properly, and your plumbing will start to circulate hard water through your home again. Any amount of hard water coming through your system will revert your softened water back to hard. Watch this short film which demonstrates this in action.

Only use quality salt

To keep your machine in tip top condition and avoid blockages or resin breakdown make sure you only use quality salt products, such as the ones we stock. Using salt products from other sources could jeopardise your softeners performance resulting in a reduction in the quality of your softened water.

We have heard reports of salt products, bought elsewhere, that have been crumbling on contact, already broken up in the bag, clogging the brine tank or have contained impurities that have caused a water softener breakdown. Never settle for less than the best quality.

We only stock the highest quality salt products and our prices remain competitive with online retailers and other sellers.

For comparison sake we surveyed what we could find online, against our own prices (as at time of publish Sept 2020). Please bear in mind the originality or brands have not been listed and quality of cheaper products is untested and unproven. Online prices vary greatly and will incur delivery charges. Our price is the same for collection or using our click and collect service which can be ordered online at – https://www.wesofteners.co.uk/shop/

Salt per bagOur Price AmazoneBay
8kg Block£4.60£7.21 – £8.50£3.00 – 8.28
10kg Tablet£5.00£11.62£4.00 – £8.99
25kg Tablet£9.50£12.49 – £15.99£6.00 – £13.55
10kg Granular£5.00£13.49£4.00 – £10.79
25kg Granular£9.50£22.50 – 22.99£6.00 – £14.50
Price comparison against other online retailers – prices correct at time of publication, not always exact product brand comparison where only alternatives were available in the same size pack. (03.09.20)

We do operate a salt delivery service in our region which does have a minimum order quantity and distance dependant delivery charge, please call for details.

Here’s a quick film showing how easy it is to change your water softener blocks.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limescale

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_softening

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion-exchange_resin