Investing in a new boiler? Many customers spending money on a new boiler and / or heating system will ask if they can use a water softener with it. When you’re investing in such an important appliance within your home, it’s understandable that you would want to look after it effectively and prolong its life.
So are water softeners one way to do that? Many customers live in hard water areas and face the effects of it on numerous home appliances. It makes complete sense that you would want to avoid the damaging effects of hard water and limescale in any way possible.
But is it safe to use a water softener with your new boiler and heating system?
Many modern water softeners are specifically designed to work well alongside the main heating systems found in UK homes.
How does a water softener work?
Here in the UK, hard water is a struggle for over 60% of homes. This means that the water that feeds into our homes deposits calcium and magnesium it has picked up from chalk beds in the ground.
Once this water is heated, and subsequently the calcium and magnesium, it is deposited the scale you find in hard water. Hence why you’ll find more scale in hot water than you do in cold water. This means that you will find scale and scum in numerous household appliances, leading us to find ways to limit the amount of damage it can cause.
A water softener works by removing these calcium and magnesium deposits as the water flows through the unit.
Once the unit is full, it automatically cleanses itself using brine (a weak solution of salt and water). This combination of calcium, magnesium and brine are sent to the drain.
Can I use a water softener with my boiler and heating system?
The water in your home’s hot water circuit is the water which leads to your hot taps. Modern water softeners can help to improve the efficiency of the water in your hot water circuit by preventing limescale build up and subsequent damage to the heating elements.
With most boilers, including Worcester Bosch, you can have a water softener in combination with the boiler to help prevent the hot water circuit from scaling up and losing efficiency.
There has been some caution however when it comes to using a water softener on the water that goes to and through your radiators. The fear was that the softened water would cause corrosion of heat exchanger units. This can be avoided if your heating circuit is filled up with hard water and a corrosion inhibitor, and set up to bypass the water softener. You can also prevent corrosion damage by installing a corrosion inhibitor for the water in your radiators.
Regardless of what type of boiler you have installed in your home, every hard water home in the UK can have a water softener installed. In order to not cause any issues to the heating system and boiler, the primary side of the system must be filled with hard water.
The HHIC (Heating and Hotwater Industry Council) says: “Where a water softener is present in the dwelling, ensure that the heating system primary circuit is filled with mains water via the general bypass valve as required in BS 14743”.
Choose a qualified Heating Engineer
Always get a qualified Heating Engineer to set up a water softener if used with your boiler and heating system.
If you are in any doubt whatsoever whether you can use a water softener alongside your boiler, then always seek a professional for advice. Using a qualified heating engineer to install anything that could affect your boiler and heating system will ensure that everything is working efficiently and safely.
This way you can enjoy all the benefits a water softener has to offer your home, whilst still keeping your home’s hot water and heating systems running properly for years to come.
Don’t forget – You can also help ensure your boiler lasts its life expectancy by carrying out regular boiler services. We recommend that you get your boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered heating engineer. This helps to make sure it’s working safely and stops small issues becoming big ones.
If you would like more information about whether a water softener could work alongside your boiler and heating system, get in touch with our friendly team today.