I need to get a water softener (the salt/resin ones, not the
electronic/magnetic ones), but have very limited space where to put
it. Is anyone aware of a comparison table somewhere on the net that
would give dimensions across a range of these things?
Alternatively, can anyone recommend one that is particularly small?
The resin ones are the only type that actually do soften the water.
Other devices, including the phosphate dosing type, are conditioners
which as a maximum will reduce scale.
The Kinetico 2020 is pretty small and will fit under a sink. These
used to require blocks of salt, but will now run on tablets, which you
may be able to get more cheaply.
I have one of their earlier models which has performed well for 18
years. This one has a separate salt reservoir to the rest of the
works and could be fitted into very small spaces. Unfortunately they
don't make this package any more.
You don't say what sort of capacity you need so it's important to
Generally you will find that types similar to the Kinetico which have
metering and two resin tanks will be the smallest. The unmetered,
timed ones are cheaper but usually rather larger. The twin tank
designs will switch over as required and regenerate the spent tank.
Can you now just buy a Kinetico over the counter, or do you have to ask some
otherwise unemployed scrote to come over and case the joint for a "survey"
and then sell you one with a 400% mark up and "free" fitting?
I've just answered my own question. However, it still costs over a grand.
The same website offers a Autotrol based on a "255 valve" apparently. This
is a single cylinder metered with 2am regeneration.
It uses approximately 2.5kg of salt per regeneration to produce 2,500 litres
(14 litres resin). Is this reasonable economy? Are the figures believable? I
suppose the salt consumption would be slightly higher as it has to
regenerate before the cylinder expires. I guess this cylinder will last
about a week.
At half the price of the Kinetico, I'm tempted. However, do you think it
will pass 40lpm without dropping excessive pressure, like the Kinetico
claims to? I'm totally on mains pressure, not a tank in the place (except
the heat bank).
Strangely, they also offer a Crown softener, which offers the "unique"
features of non-electrical metering and twin resin cylinders. Yeaaaahhhsss
(think Paxman). It takes block salt, so is automatically disqualified from
On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:33:00 -0000, "Christian McArdle"
There are quite a number of Autotrol based products around that work
in this way. Generally they are larger since the principle is that
they should meet your needs for 24 hours.
There are varying levels of control as well. Some will measure the
water used and make a yes/no decision on whether to regenerate at the
nominated time. Others vary the amount of regeneration based on the
amount of water used. Some valves allow you to adjust the brine
dosing rate (i.e. amount of salt used ) to match the degree of water
The degree of hardness of the water has a bearing on this. Some
specs I've seen are at 200ppm, others 300ppm. You ucan get a tablet
based test kit from B&Q to measure hardness.
I don't have metered water, neither do I measure the flow or volume.
However, to give you an idea, in a household of 4, I get through a
25kg bag of salt about every 3-4 weeks.
The valve specifications show the flow/pressure drop graphs for the
valve only. Obviously the resin tank(s) and hoses have an impact,
which is why wide bore hoses are recommended. Logically, I would
expect a larger tank to have a lower resistance to flow, but this
would need to be checked.
You may find that when pressed, they will admit that it will use
pebble salt as well. There can be an issue with some machines that
they can't work with granular salt, because generally there is some
kind of filtering arrangement around the brine collection with
machines that will take granular salt so that undissolved grains can't
be sucked into the valve. Pebble salt is more like blocks in this
I've had one of these for >15 years and its still going strong. It does have
the Autotrol valve and was bought from Wickes.
They are simple with little to go wrong. The only things I've had to replace
over the years were the flap valves which were easy to obtain and fit.
When the kids were at home we used approx 25kg bag salt a month ( 4 quid
round here) but now its < half that. This is a very hard water area..
Its noticable that my neighbours who don't have one have got through 2 HW
cylinders in that time and their bathroom ware etc is coated in limescale.
On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:15:42 -0000, "Christian McArdle"
They do sell through dealers.
I was thinking of changing mine a few months ago, but it's still
working OK, so I haven't. Kinetico gave me the names of three dealers
in the local area (Basingstoke, Godalming and High Wycombe)
Most dealers sell several makes and usually have their own brand
assembled from OEM components like Autotrol valves and cost somewhat
I bought my Kinetico unit from a dealer in Slough (although this was
in 1985) and I can't find the name now. They were happy to sell the
softener and a fitting kit for DIY install.
As far as the fitting part is concerned, it's worth getting wide bore
hoses - the standard ones are washing machine types and restrict the
I moved mine when the kitchen was refurbished and replaced the
original valve assembly (which had small plastic valves) with an
assembly I plumbed myself using lever ball valves and standard
plumbing parts. Basically you need a double check valve in case the
mains fails during the start of a regeneration and salty water would
be sucked back. The remainder is then three valves - one inlet, one
outlet and a bypass in case you need to remove the softener for any
Some of the softeners have a means of controlling the metered
regeneration. On the Kinetico, there is a geared cam arrangement
driven by a paddle in the flow path. This slowly rotates and at a
certain point trips the tank switch over and regeneration. You can
get different metering cams to go in the top according to the hardness
of the water. The default delivered one does 6 cycles per revolution
- we upped ours to 7 because there was still some residual hardness.
Other makes have methods which control the amount of water let into
the salt tank which in turn controls the amount of saturated brine
solution during a regeneration.
Mine is sadly just able to fit in a 500mm kichen unit.
But it will do teh sorts of flow rates needed for mains pressure system.
Samller one's are probably OK for softening a cold water tank type supply,.
Canterbury Kite. I fitted one for a neighbour about 12 months ago -
it could be fitted below the sink unlike any other and appears to be
as frugal on salt as they claim. They top up the salt container
about every week with a few handfuls of salt tablets. I'll dig out
their water consumption figures but for a family of two with quite a
few weekend visitors and two power showers they are getting through
about a bag of salt every 4 or 5 months.
Seems to do what it says. Where they have it under the sink the salt
container is easy to fill, I'll try to get some photos a bit later
and put them up for you to look at. He fitted it with a flow control
valve (recommended by Canterbury Water) as the water pressure here is
quite high. That has lowered the flow rate from the kitchen tap a
bit (that is plumbed in between the flow control valve and water
softener out of convenience). The outside taps also run off the
softener, again simply because of convenience of not modifying the
existing plumbing. That has lowered the flow rate from those taps to
a point where an early fairly high capacity pressure washer won't run
reliably off it - solved by using a plastic container as a water
Running costs are very low - a bag of general purpose salt tablets
every few months and water consumption on recycling also appears to
be minimal. They are on metered water and it hasn't made a noticeable
impact on the amount they use. Other than chucking a bit of salt in
it just sits there and does its job. Self install was easy.
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.