If the water in your home is hard, you will need to install a water softener. Here are the different types, their price and the maintenance they require.In some regions of France, the water is hard. And although it may sound strange, even contradictory, it can cause real problems for your plumbing and your energy use!
Hard water is water overloaded with limestone. This can be harmful to your household appliances, as it carries large amounts of minerals which will go to deposit in the pipes. After a while, your devices may end up with lime deposits. These will prevent them from functioning properly and may also force them to use more energy for normal performance. Unfortunately, all appliances are affected by this problem, from your washing machine to your boiler.
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This is where the water softener comes in. Indeed, if you have hard water and want to preserve the life of your appliances, you should consider installing a water softener.
The purpose of a water softener is to reduce the hardness of the water by functioning as a limescale filter. In addition, it will also be used to purify your water by filtering chemical residues circulating in the pipes. You will thus obtain water without limescale and purified before consumption!
What are the different types of water softener and their price?
There are different types of water softeners, each with their own characteristics. Before you start buying these anti-lime filters, it is therefore important to know them. This will let you know which one really fits your needs.
The price of softeners varies between € 150 and € 3,000. The great disparity in prices is due to the model you choose, but also to its brand and the size of your filter.
In order to help you select the water softener that would best suit your situation, here are the different types:
Their price varies between 450 and 1,300 €, depending on the size and quality of the filter.
They work on a simple and well-known chemical principle to remove limescale from water. The latter is trapped by resin beads coated with sodium ions. They will capture the lime present and release the water from the minerals.
Although this method is very effective, it does have some drawbacks. First of all, it is necessary to regularly recharge the reserves of balls, which comes at an additional cost. In addition, during the chemical process, all minerals are removed. It can lead to impairment if you consume tap water. Finally, take into account that the chemical process will cause you to lose a certain amount of water (around 5 to 10%).
Their price is much higher and varies between 1600 and 3000 €. This higher cost is explained by the fact that these softeners are much more complete.
Again, they work through a chemical process. They will inject CO2 into the water flow, which will cause a reaction with the limestone contained in the water: it will turn into bicarbonate. This dissolves naturally in water and is not harmful to health.
The advantage of this type of softener comes from the chemical process they use, because they do not attack minerals and the water will be fit for consumption without risking deficiencies. Plus, they’re less maintenance-friendly than resin softeners, as there is no need to replace salts as soon as they run out. Finally, they will not cause any loss of water so there will be no overconsumption.
Water reverse osmosis units
These are much more affordable: their price varies between 150 and 400 €. They are not water softeners in the strict sense of the word, as they focus on purifying water for consumption. They connect directly to the plumbing of your sink. Inside, water is propelled at high pressure over a membrane that will retain particles.
The advantage of this system is of course its price, but also its ease of installation and the fact that it purifies 99% of bacteria and impurities.
There are other newer and less popular models, such as the electric or magnetic softener. Some consider them to be more environmentally friendly because they do not use chemicals to decrease the hardness of the water.
Automatic or manual softener?
For a particular use, and therefore non-commercial, you can choose between two types of softeners: manual and automatic.
If you are not an expert and don’t want to complicate your life, it is best to choose an automatic water softener that is easy and straightforward to use. This is because you won’t have to watch your water to make sure you maintain clean, well-purified water.
Installation of a softener by a professional: Prices and advantages
Installing a softener is not a complex operation, but it does require some experience and understanding of the purification process. Of course, you can do the installation yourself, which will save you a lot of money. However, it is recommended that you call in a professional to ensure proper installation.
If you use a specialist craftsman, you will need to add between € 250 and € 700 for the installation of your water softener, depending on its model.
Despite this difference in budget, the installation of your softener by a professional has several advantages. First of all, the craftsman or professional you hire is someone who is used to these facilities. He will therefore be able to share his advice and expertise with you. In addition, the completion of the installation of your filter will be guaranteed and will ensure speed in the execution.
Finally, the price offered by your professional will often include additional services, such as:
- Personalized advice and expertise: the professional will analyze the hardness of your domestic water as well as your needs, depending on the number of inhabitants. He can then provide you with a suitable water softening system afterwards.
- Installation of your system and its settings: it will install filters on the main domestic water supply and start up the water softener. It will therefore take care of the last details such as the adjustments to be made and the salt filling.
- Upkeep and maintenance: he may offer you a maintenance contract. This includes the various maintenance to be carried out to ensure the proper functioning of your system.
Maintenance: An additional cost
Once your water softening system is installed, don’t forget to factor in the additional costs associated with its use. Like any device, the softener will need regular maintenance to ensure it works properly. Especially since he works 24 hours a day!
The maintenance of a softener includes in particular:
- Salt refills: these are required for proper operation of resin softeners, as they participate in the chemical process. So as not to have any problems, you will therefore need to check their level on a regular basis.
- The change of filter: the cartridges allow to retain the undesirable elements contained in the water. To ensure optimum water quality, you should check the filter approximately every six months. If this is showing a rusty color, it means it needs to be replaced.
- Cleaning and disinfection of your device: in order to ensure maximum sanitary quality, it will be important to regularly clean and disinfect your device. Every year, completely clean the tank of your softener, and remove the plates as well as any dirt that may have settled. Every two years, consider performing a complete disinfection to prevent the proliferation of bacteria.
- Water hardness test: every six months or so, you will need to check the hardness of your water. For this, you can use test kits that are easily found for 30 €. If you notice a decrease or an increase of more than 10% in its rates, it will be necessary to make certain adjustments in the parameters of your device.
Finally, in the case of a resin softener, you will face a slight increase in water consumption. This takes place to compensate for the losses due to the chemical process of transformation of the limestone thanks to the resin.
In the end, having a water softener installed is an investment that should not be taken lightly. You will indeed have to spend from 400 € to more than 3000 €, depending on the models and the capacities of your system.
Before you start, do not hesitate to do your research with the professionals in your area. Ask them for quotes so that you can compare proposals and prices, to find the one that suits you best.