Water Conditioners vs. Water Softeners

Hard water can be a problem in the UK for many households with limescale being the biggest issue associated with it. If you live in a hard water area, like 60% of the U.K., you'll notice that limescale leaves behind a hard residue on plumbing, central heating, faucets and appliances that are exposed to hot water. Over time this scum can not only build up and be difficult to clean but it can also damage household appliances.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is a term that describes water that has a high concentration of minerals within it. the minerals that are normally found in hard water are magnesium and calcium. Limescale, is typically formed from chalky deposits such as calcium carbonate that are then left behind when hard water evaporates. This is why these kinds of mineral deposits build up on surfaces and appliances that are exposed to hot water.

Because of the problems associated with limescale, many individuals are keen to find a way to improve the quality of their tap water. The good news is that there are a number of water treatment systems on the market which can accomplish this.

How to Get Rid of Limescale and Hard Water

Just in terms of cleaning, limescale can be a pain to deal with. Most of us that live in a hard water area have seen the effects of hard water in our kettles. Occasionally a descaler is required to clean the kettle and reduce the limescale within it. These kind of water problems may seem trivial, but the issue is that limescale also impacts things that we can't visually inspect easily, such as the heating element in our washing machines or dishwasher. Over time this limescale will damage the appliance and you'll need to either replace it, or get it repaired by a plumber or engineer. Both situations can be costly.

For many this is incentive itself to find a long-term solution to hard water. For individuals that want to improve their water supply and reduce water hardness, there are a few different ways that the overall water quality can be improved. These methods include water conditioning systems, water filters or water softening devices that can help with water purification and water treatment.

What is the Difference Between a Water Conditioner and a Water Softener?

The difference between a water softener, a water filtration system and a water conditioner is in their basic design although their end goal is similar which is ultimately to improve water quality.

A water softener is a device that removes minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions using an ion exchange process. The way it does this is by using salt, which is exchanged with the hardness minerals for sodium ions. The water is flushed through resin beads and this traps the minerals within it. Over time these minerals build up and the resin bed needs to be flushed out and the salt for the water softener system needs to be replaced. Due to the fact a water softener works by adding salt and using a filter system there is some maintenance and running costs associated with using this form of system. Another disadvantage to using a water softener is that the added sodium is less healthy for the human body, whilst the minerals that are removed from the drinking water are actually beneficial.

Alternatively, a water conditioner, is a device that is similar to a salt-free water softener, that changes the way the minerals interact with your plumbing, central heating and household appliances without actually removing the minerals that are beneficial for your health. In addition, a water conditioner doesn't require on-going maintenance or need additional expense such as salt added to it. So not only do you get the benefits of reducing limescale build-up in your home, saving you time on cleaning and money on appliance maintenance, but you also get the health benefits from the hard water minerals that are contained within the water. This is the reason many people look for a salt-free water conditioner instead of a water softener.

The way a water conditioner works to provide softened water is typically carried out by a few different methods depending on the device itself, but ultimately, they all achieve the same thing, which is soft water.  Some of the different methods that a water conditioner deploys to alter the water include, Ion Polarization,and Magnetism or Electromagnetism which use a magnetic field. Some of these methods require an electric connection to work, whilst others do not.

Introducing the HomeScale Protect

At Mr Central Heating our preferred solution for dealing with the issues with limescale is to use the water conditioner method since it doesn't remove the good minerals from drinking water but does help reduce limescale build up in the home. The water conditioner that we recommend and supply is called the HomeScale Protect. This particular water conditioner uses the Ion Polarization System (or IPS) to prevent the build-up of limescale.Technically, the IPS uses a flow-through body with turbine-shaped electrodes that are constructed with two different electrically conductive materials. This design causes a swirling water flow, which in turn creates a change in the structure of the minerals.

Some of the key benefits of the HomeScale Protect system are:

  • Health Safety Product — The HomeScale Protect is made from material suitable for contact with drinking water. So, this means it is suitable for cold (drinking) and hot water.
  • No Added Substances — The HomeScale Protect doesn't need any chemicals or salt added to it. This saves money and time.
  • Does not Require an Electrical Connection — Unlike some water conditioners the HomeScale Protect doesn't require any external energy for it to function.
  • Minimal Water Flow Reduction — The HomeScale Protect features minimal flow reduction so your water pressure is maintained.

You can learn more about the HomeScale Protect on the Mr Central Heating web site.

Leave a Reply
Currently on desktop site. Click here to view mobile site.