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


Here you will find a number of questions we’ve been asked about water softeners, taps and drinking systems. We have tried our best to provide answers, but if you have a question you can’t find here, please call us

Yes of course. There is a trace amount of sodium in softened water from the water softening process, but to put this into perspective there is more sodium in one glass of milk than in ten glasses 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. It is recommended not to use softened water in the preparation of baby formula or to drink it if you are on a prescribed low sodium diet. We also stock drinking water systems which can be purchased and added to your installation.

Yes, that’s no problem, drinking water systems can improve the taste and eliminate odour from your tap water, eliminate health risks by removing contaminants sometimes found in drinking water and help save the environment- as single use bottled water wastes plastic and is a terrible waste of energy.

We recommend that one of our trained engineers install it for you. You could ask a qualified plumber, but we don’t recommend you attempt to install it yourself. We offer one year labour warranties on our work.

Not necessarily, you have lots of options, for instance – if you are happy to drink softened water you can keep your existing tap (and if it’s not too clogged with limescale).

If you want to keep drinking hard water, you can have a new three way tap or separate drinking water tap installed. see our range of taps here.

We also stock the Quooker boiling water taps.

It can, over time – we estimate it could take as long as it built up to disappear. If you are installing a new kitchen, bathroom, heating system or moving into a new home these are ideal opportunities to purchase your water softener to keep everything looking and running like new.

Yes, across the UK the water ‘hardness’ differs from county to county. All rain water falls as soft water, but picks up minerals as it works through the ground and into our water systems. 13 million households across the UK have hard water, the West of England is notoriously bad, limescale is a constant battle. A water softener is a long-term solution – you’ll save hours of cleaning, help reduce chemicals entering the environment, prolong the life of your appliances, boiler, kettle and shower head, plus benefit from softer hair

To bypass your water softener, or return your water softener to service – follow the steps in the diagrams below:

Bypass your water softener
Water Softener back in service

Simply click on the “Click & Collect” button. You will be taken to a shop webpage with pictures of all the products available. (For now this service is restricted to salt, filters and cartridges – the products customers feel are essential during the Coronavirus lockdown.)

You can select the product you need by changing the quantity you wish to purchase in the quantity box.

The number of items selected are now added to your basket.

If you have finished shopping click on the basket in the top right hand corner. To continue shopping change the quantity of the other product(s) you require.

You can update your order at any point before payment if you change your mind.

Next please provide your name and contact phone number in case we need to get in touch about your order, and an email to receive order confirmation. (Please see our privacy notice for how we use your data).

Now, comes time to choose your collection time slot (please note we are operating restricted hours under lockdown. You can only select collection slots on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.)

Click on the time you can be at the Holt Showroom, the screen will change to show you full order and you can proceed to pay.

You can pay by Paypal or Card – select the option right for you. (Payment data is processed by Paypal under their terms and conditions, we do not collect any of this information.)

Enter your payment details to complete your order.

Remember to make a note of your selected collection time and arrive to find your order at the gates of the showroom. Please observe social distancing guidelines during your visit.

If you need us, by all means call, but remember we are operating restricted hours with a skeleton staff so if you leave a message we’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

This varies by make and model, the Kinetico water softeners use the kinetic power of water to push your hard water through twin cylinders in the water softeners which filter the minerals through a resin bed, to remove them, and feeds the resulting soft water into the pipes in your home. Salt is used to remove the limescale and clean the resin by flushing it down the drain.


Watch this video that explains the process:

It can take under a minute to replace your salt blocks.

Simply remove the cover from the water softener, insert two new blocks and replace the cover.

See just how quick and easy it is, in this real time video:

We like to allow a whole working day for our engineers, simply because we want customers to feel satisfied that the work carried out is to our, and their, high standards. Each installation is unique to your requirements and finished to our your satisfaction. See our reviews for customer feedback.

This will depend on usage, but with the K5 (reverse osmosis system), AquaTaste and AquaGuard systems it is recommended to change after 1,850 litres. With the AquaScal it is recommended to change between 3-6 months and with the Essentials they recommend to change annually or 6,000 litres.

We stock all the filters and cartridges you need for the drinking water systems we sell and install.

If you find you are getting through more salt than usual, it could be that you have a water leak somewhere in your property. It’s surprising just how much this will affect the need for the water softener to regenerate.

If a tap, overflow pipe or even your toilet cistern is constantly dripping it will make a huge difference. The trouble is you may not hear it.

To check if your toilet cistern is running in between flushes you can use a simple test.

After flushing has stopped for around half an hour, dry the bowl and place sheets of toilet paper under the rim. If, when you come back later they are wet, torn or in the bowl it would seem like the cistern is leaking.

Watersafe explain this test in greater detail here.

Another test is to add a few drops of food colouring to the water in your cistern, if you come back some time later and the colour has transferred to the toilet bowl it shows it is leaking. Here’s a video showing an example of this test.

For cold water it will be instant – once any hard water in the pipe has been drawn off.

For hot water it depends on your hot water system and tank. For gravity fed systems it can take between one week and ten days for the hot, hard water stored in the tank to be drawn off, depending on usage. Once installed soft water will blend with the stored hard water until the quantity of soft water reaches 100%. If you are unsure which type of hot water system you have, just call us.

All running costs will depend on usage.

Kinetico softeners are non-electric, so no increase to your electricity bill. Based on a the assumption that you use, on average, one 4kg (one salt block) per person, per month, this equates to £8.80 per month for a family of 4. But think of all the savings from reducing your use of detergents and cleaning products!

All water softeners use water to regenerate, the number of times a machine regenerates will depend on usage (based on the number of people in the household). The regeneration cost, for a family of 4, equates to around £30.00 per year.

The Shires water softener will approximately use a 25kg bag of tablet salt per month for a family of four at around £9.50. There will also be a negligible increase to your electricity bill for the timer unit.

You can purchase salt, for any make or model water softener, from us. (see ‘salt‘ for more information.

Please Note: During the Coronavirus shutdown, if you can’t purchase water softener salt, you can bypass your water softener by following the simply steps shown in ‘How do I bypass my water softener?’ above.

A water softener removes the calcium and magnesium minerals from hard water using an ‘ion exchange’ process. These minerals cause limescale, by removing them it turns ‘hard water’ into ‘soft water’.

It depends if you choose an electric or non-electric water softener, make and model, position and complexity of existing pipework.

The water softener will be sited in the most appropriate position and the water will only be switched off for a short while after the engineer has created the new pipework necessary to attach the softener to your existing pipework.

If you add the purchase of a new external tap to your order, any pipework to this will be included in the installation.

All you should need to do yourself is check the salt levels periodically. The amount of salt you use will depend on the number of people in your home, and how much water is used. See our salt page for more information.

Both Kinetico and Harvey water softeners come with a ten year parts warranty, all other water softeners have three years parts warranty.

Any maintenance outside of warranty can still be covered by our engineers, and we cover a variety of other makes and models – see our servicing page for more details.

Technically, there is not a great deal of difference. It comes down to personal preference. Both brands have their own unique selling points, but at the end of the day the result is the same for your home – quality softened water. Both use block salt, both have 10 year parts warranty. We just want to give you a greater choice.

A water softener can be installed in several places, usually near to where your internal stop cock is located – where the water comes into your home. This can be in a kitchen cupboard, utility or under the stairs. It depends on the make and model dimensions too.

In some cases, we have fitted them in bathrooms, garages or even outside with an all weather cover. If you are unsure, we can bring a demo unit to your home for a free, no obligation home survey to check where a unit can be fitted.

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