The brilliant news is that a water softener will help to reduce your monthly household bills. No question about it.
Of course, you will have the initial expense of having the water softener installed. But once it’s in place, you’ll start to make savings on your household bills straightaway.
That’s not the only thing that will become immediately apparent. Your water will feel different and respond much more sympathetically to soaps and detergent, your hair and skin will seem smoother and silkier, your household appliances will run more efficiently, your laundry will be softer to the touch, the shower screen will stay cleaner. The list goes on…
As highlighted in many of our previous blogs, one of the huge advantages that a water softener provides in the hard-water ravaged counties of Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, is that it will remove the mineral content that makes the water hard in the first place. This makes it really difficult to get a decent lather from shampoos and shower gels. It also means you have to use more detergent to clean limescale from baths, shower screens and sinks. Consequently, you’ll end up getting through your household cleaning staples, like Cif and Mr Muscle – not forgetting your favourite shampoos and conditioners – far more quickly if you are continually battling against hard water.
Reduced bills with a water softener
So let’s focus on cold hard currency. This is based on the money the average family of four will save on shopping and energy bills when a water softener installed in the home.
Whilst appreciating that we all have our favourite brands and in some areas, you may be more extravagant than others, but taking everything into account, and working on the basis of a two bathroom property, the average savings you will make on general family toiletries and household cleaning products will be in the region of 70%.
We’ve factored into these figures, items such as washing machine and kettle de-scalers, which you would needn’t to purchase ever again, once you’ve had a water softener installed. But even if you strip out the costs for these sundries, your monthly shopping bill for the above products would reduce by around 65% of the figure you would have previously spent without a water softener.
Energy efficiency with a water softener
Over the course of a year, the average household in Sussex, Surrey or Hampshire without a water softener in situ, will face a significant reduction in energy efficiency, caused by the build-up of limescale in the plumbing. The scale will gradually and irreversibly clog up the inner workings of central heating systems – boilers, pipework, radiators etc.
During a 12 month period, it is likely that there will be a limescale build-up of up to 1.5mm depending on the hardness of your water, which might not seem much, but this amount of limescale build up will decrease energy efficiency by as much as 12%. And that’s just over the course of one year. If left unchecked, with the limescale increasing by the same amount year on year, over time this will dramatically downgrade your boiler’s performance.
Or to look it another way, annually you’ll spend at least 12% more to achieve the same level of energy efficiency you would achieve if you had a water softener installed – just in the first year. As more and more limescale clogs up the central heating system, your fuel bills will keep on increasing – just to retain at an acceptable level of output.
Set against this, fuel savings from having a water softener and the reduced capital depreciation on the appliances could amount to £240 a year. Furthermore, you could confidently expect the normal 12-15 years lifespan of your boiler to be protected. Replacing a boiler doesn’t come cheap!
Water softener running costs
OK, we hear you say, surely there are running costs that go with having a water softener. Well, yes, there are. Even though the majority of the products we install have no moving parts and are highly unlikely to break down, there are associated servicing costs. On that front, we would certainly recommend that you have a cost-effective Annual Health Check.
Other than that, the only regular cost you would need to factor in is for block salt, which is minimal – anything from £2 to £5 per person per month, depending on the soft water system that’s best suited to your household.
When it comes to water softeners, if you are basing your purchasing decision purely on the cost savings you can expect on your household bills, then you are on a sound footing. Having a water softener is a long-term investment – you will most definitely be considerably better off over the next 5 to 10 years. But as we have explained here, you’ll make significant, immediate savings on your household toiletries and cleaning products of around 65%, plus you’ll be around £20 a month better off on your energy costs. Now that can’t be bad!
What’s more, if you look after your water softener and have it regularly maintained, it should typically last for around 12-15 years. With the savings you’ll make over that period of time on your energy costs (as outlined above) this will basically cover the cost of your next water softener. In effect, you’ll be getting the new one for free!
Is a water softener a luxury or a necessity?