Water Softener Review

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How to read a review

Once you have decided to rid your bathroom, kitchen and washing machine of the scale and scum that come with hard water, you will want to compare softening systems. All water softener manufacturers make great claims for their products, but not all of them will be right for your home or business. To avoid being at the mercy of the salesmen, you need to do your homework by browsing through independent consumer review sites or magazines. Here are the key points to look for in a water softener review.

• Check which brand and type of control valve the system uses, and make sure it is made by a manufacturer with a strong track record, such as Fleck. The control valve is at the heart of the softener, and the most expensive part to replace if it goes wrong. It measures your water usage and determines when to regenerate the resin bed.

• Next think about regeneration - the way the unit cleans or replenishes itself. Decide whether you want your system to regenerate on demand or to be fitted with a timer. Demand-based units are more efficient, especially when there are more than two people in the household, but are also more expensive to buy.

• Find out how easy the system is to install, and how much the manufacturer or supplier charges to do it for you.

• Compare the guarantees offered by different manufacturers, and check what they cover. A good system should last up to ten years, and the repair bills will mount up if yours breaks down before the warranty is up. Look for information on the cost of replacing parts.

• If you can't find a water softener review for a product which you think will suit your needs, ask around. Some consumer websites have bulletin boards where you can post questions and queries to be answered by people who have bought and used softeners.

• Be wary of door-to-door salesmen who will tell you that you live in a hard water area, and that they have the best softener on the market. The chances are that what they are offering will cost more than you need to pay, and it may not come with the back-up provided by a reputable supplier. Read the small print before you agree to a 'free trial'.

• Treat claims of 'technological breakthroughs' with caution. Some systems come with computerized meter controls which can be very expensive to replace if they go wrong. Choose a softener with the right capacity for your needs and keep things as simple as possible.



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