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Dec 13, 2012: Small Water Softeners


Because the water softener market in Galway and Ireland is competitive, the decision to buy a small or undersized timer water softener because of budget or space restrictions, all too often means that customers end up paying a high price, because these water softeners are over priced, they are high cost to run with excessive salt use / water use / extra servicing and then finally they fail prematurely. A bit like trying to use a moped scooter to tow a caravan.

Water softeners used on very hard water in Ireland rely on metered water softener valves and plenty of cation exchange resin to perform efficiently and give the longest service lifespan for the water softener.  Unless certain types of metered water softeners are used with at least 14 to 20 litres of high quality resin in lower hardness areas, the life of water softener resin or water softener valves will be compromised.

Once correctly calibrated, water softener valves will operate wash cycles at optimum intervals to get the best from cation resin also water and salt use.  The larger the size of water softener, the more resin and higher capacity it has to soften water for long wash intervals. As small softeners tend to wash frequently they end up using far more water and salt than larger water softeners with less frequent wash intervals.

In Galway, Ireland, the water is the hardest at levels typically around 400 ppm on group water schemes. The hardness of water becomes a problem at over 200 ppm so it is advisable taking budget into account to save money by purchasing a quality U.S. made high capacity metered water softener that has 20 to 28 litres of cation exchange water softener resin for domestic use. The smallest starting size of these types have around 3 times the capacity of the budget mini cabinet softeners.

As different areas in Ireland vary in water hardness levels, the small budget water softeners - 3 to 10 litre resin units designed for low water use for one or two people, may perform for a short time on low hardness waters as long as servicing is maintained.  Small timer water softeners may be designed for less people using hard water but don't perform well on very hard water especially with higher water use.

The mechanical wear and tear on water softener resin and the effects of chlorine will limit a small timer water softener's ability to soften, also water use will be two to six times the average with excessive salt use of 12 to 20 bags per year on hard waters.

Larger water softeners with 20 to 28 litres of resin especially top brand volumetric types will usually perform for 20 to 30 years before resin and valves require attention, but smaller 3 to 10 litre water softeners will often lose their water softening performance within as low as 3 to 10 years.  This means that small water softeners need to be re-set to perform at a higher rate and increasingly more often causing additional expense on servicing and callouts. 

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