Yet another combi question

Hi All, My house is currently heated by a warm air unit, it works well (apart from the hot water side) but uses a lot of space. I am thinking of switching to a combi, but this is a very hard water area and I'd need a good water softener to go with the combi; as I have absolutely no experience of either combis or water softeners can anyone advise what to be wary of when getting quotes from professionals for the complete system.
I think I got ripped on the last system, and don't want to repeat the experience; I'm also at an age where I'm not intending to move house again, so I want something that's going to last a long time.
TIA Martin.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 18:45:25 +0000 (UTC), "Martin"

There are three options, depending on what you want to achieve, spend and try.
1) Electromagnetic water conditioners. These are a device that uses a small amount of electricity via some electronics to allegedly "condition" the water as it passes through. These devices are relatively cheap and come with a money back guarantee if they don't work. This is good, because in the majority of cases, purchasers report that they do not. The claim is that the compounds causing hardness in the water are altered physically by the electromagnetic field and do not depositi scale in the heat exchanger. This is not water softening, simply conditioning. The general concensus of opinion in this NG with one notable exception is that these are snake oil. However if you have plenty of time on your hands and don't mind trying something then there is little to lose. Obviously if the unit does prove to be ineffective, you will need to implement something else to prevent boiler damage.
2) Phosphate dosing system. These are a chamber which is filled with a special phosphate compound, normally in bead form. The water flowing through is dosed with tiny amounts of this and the effect is to prevent deposit of scale in the heat exchanger. In this respect, these devices are inexpensive to buy and cheap to run ( < 20 per year). However they do not soften the water. They do prevent scaling.
3) Ion Exchange Water Softener. These devices are fitted in line with the water supply and the water is passed through a resin bed where the calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium. The effect of this is that the water is genuinely softened. You will not get scaling of the boiler and the water is more pleasant to the touch. Moreover, you will reduce detergent and shampoo requirements by at least a third. The ion exchange bed or beds need to be regenerated using a strong brine solution. This is produced by having granular, tablet or block salt in the softener. The regeneration is either organised by a timer or by a metering arrangement or both. Generally the metered units costs a little more. The cost of the salt is pretty much offset by the savings on detergents depending on what products you use.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Martin wrote:

There's quite a bit in the maind FAQ and my FAQs.
Hard water is a potential problem for combi boilers but check that the manufactuers permit a water softener or forego the guarantee? A descale or replacement of the HW heat exchanger every 5 years perhaps would keep things fine.
As for the new system - get BG to quote - then find recommended local firms to quote to the same specification expecting to pay 60-75% of BG.
The job might be made nice and easy by dragging Hep2o through the old ducts?
HTH
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks Guys.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.