Why are water softeners so expensive?

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Unix Guru

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Mar 26, 2007, 3:53:43 PM3/26/07
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I'm in need of a new water softener, my 8-year old Kinetico having given
up the ghost after months and months of problems.

But far from being cheaper than 8 years ago - like every other domestic
appliance - a new Kinetico is even more expensive than the eye-watering
£615 I paid back in 1998. I've looked inside my unit and see nothing
that justifies the ludicrous prices they charge.

What is it with the UK water softener market? Why does it seem to be
insulated from competition? The products are expensive, they can only be
bought from small local dealers, and finding information and prices is
like trying to get blood from a stone.

Why don't domestic appliance manufacturers enter the market? Why can't I
buy a water softener from one of the major chains like B&Q or Comet?
This all reeks of anti-competitive behaviour.

Something is rotten here.

r.bartlett

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Mar 26, 2007, 4:18:31 PM3/26/07
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"Unix Guru" <nos...@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:460824c7$0$8724$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader02.plus.net...

I had a big look round when I purchased my new softener. I was swayed by
Kinetico because ,well, I fell for the marketing. However luckily enough for
me just before I bought one I found this guy in America who is a
professional independent installer. He had had many many run in's with
Kinetico about their pricing structure and the actual quality of their kit.
From what I now understand the quality of the softener is all in the head
unit. I -in my naivety- assumed they were pretty much all the same..Not so.

So after reading his forum and checking what was available in the UK (based
on his recommendations) I emailed him a page from Ebay and he said 'go for
it' I did saved a shedload against a Kinetico and was I delighted .The only
casualty was my local salt distributor has gone bust- such was the dramatic
reduction in consumption..

Forget getting one from B&Q etc buy a decent one !!

Cheers

Richard

Unix Guru

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Mar 26, 2007, 4:25:29 PM3/26/07
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r.bartlett wrote:
> I had a big look round when I purchased my new softener. I was swayed by
> Kinetico because ,well, I fell for the marketing. However luckily enough for
> me just before I bought one I found this guy in America who is a
> professional independent installer. He had had many many run in's with
> Kinetico about their pricing structure and the actual quality of their kit.
> From what I now understand the quality of the softener is all in the head
> unit. I -in my naivety- assumed they were pretty much all the same..Not so.
>
> So after reading his forum and checking what was available in the UK (based
> on his recommendations) I emailed him a page from Ebay and he said 'go for
> it' I did saved a shedload against a Kinetico and was I delighted .The only
> casualty was my local salt distributor has gone bust- such was the dramatic
> reduction in consumption..
>
> Forget getting one from B&Q etc buy a decent one !!
>
> Cheers
>
> Richard

Thanks for that. And I'm intrigued - what did you buy?

r.bartlett

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Mar 26, 2007, 4:56:13 PM3/26/07
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>
> Thanks for that. And I'm intrigued - what did you buy?

I went here- (you may need to register)

http://www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2

Read up, posted then went out and bought this-

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AQUA-SPRING-WATER-SOFTENER-ELECTRONIC-METER-CONTROL_W0QQitemZ7551102935QQihZ017QQcategoryZ20715QQcmdZViewItem

From these people

http://www.aquaspring.co.uk/domesticwatersofteners.htm
(it's the same lot btw)

Good luck with your ongoing investigations ;-)

Cheers

Richard


Unix Guru

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Mar 26, 2007, 5:01:53 PM3/26/07
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Thank you very much, you've been most helpful. I'll look into these.

Newshound

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Mar 26, 2007, 5:18:40 PM3/26/07
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"r.bartlett" <r.bar...@spam.virgin.net> wrote

> http://www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2
>
> Read up, posted then went out and bought this-
>
> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AQUA-SPRING-WATER-SOFTENER-ELECTRONIC-METER-CONTROL_W0QQitemZ7551102935QQihZ017QQcategoryZ20715QQcmdZViewItem
>
> From these people
>
> http://www.aquaspring.co.uk/domesticwatersofteners.htm
> (it's the same lot btw)
>
> Good luck with your ongoing investigations ;-)
>
> Cheers
>
> Richard
Tempting. Any other views from the group?


"Pet @ www.gymratz.co.uk ;¬)"

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Mar 27, 2007, 7:18:15 AM3/27/07
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Unix Guru wrote:
> Thank you very much, you've been most helpful. I'll look into these.

Another of my "one-day" projects.... but the last time I looked into it
I was heartily recommended the following by more than one respected
member of the group...
http://www.emwc.co.uk/Details.asp?ProductID=87

That's what I will eventually be going for.... when I get time.
:¬)
--
http://gymratz.co.uk - Best Gym Equipment & Bodybuilding Supplements UK.
http://fitness-equipment-uk.com - UK's No.1 Fitness Equipment Suppliers.
http://water-rower.co.uk - Worlds best prices on the Worlds best Rower.
http://trade-price-supplements.co.uk - Bulk Order Supps. at Trade Prices

Brian Sharrock

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Mar 27, 2007, 9:37:07 AM3/27/07
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""Pet @ www.gymratz.co.uk ;¬)"" <unk...@unknown.gym> wrote in message
news:X37Oh.575$NK2...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> Unix Guru wrote:
>> Thank you very much, you've been most helpful. I'll look into these.
>
> Another of my "one-day" projects.... but the last time I looked into it I
> was heartily recommended the following by more than one respected member
> of the group...
> http://www.emwc.co.uk/Details.asp?ProductID=87
>
> That's what I will eventually be going for.... when I get time.
> :¬)
> --

My 'one-day' crystallised last year as an 'Easter Project' :)
Having read the FAQ's and comments on this newsgroup, I bit-the-Bullet and
purchased the model described -which was on 'Special Offer' , at the same
price, then!
Experience has been excellent - the water is soft and it's difficult to
describe what a difference it has made. Cleaning is easier; sinks, baths,
hand basins and toilet stay clean. We've stopped using fabric conditioners
and dish-washer salt and rinse-aid: soap, shampoo and bath stuff only need a
smidgeon (technical term) rather than the dollop (another technical term)
previously, Unfortunately, my accounting system didn't track itemised
expenditures for such purchases -so I can't quantify how much we've
'saved' - but salt consumption seems to be the forecast
one-block-per-adult-per-month.

--

Brian

Bob Mannix

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Mar 27, 2007, 9:46:34 AM3/27/07
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"Brian Sharrock" <b.sha...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:769Oh.17946$B37....@newsfe2-win.ntli.net...
>
> ""Pet @ www.gymratz.co.uk ;Ź)"" <unk...@unknown.gym> wrote in message
> news:X37Oh.575$NK2...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...
>> Unix Guru wrote:
>>> Thank you very much, you've been most helpful. I'll look into these.
>>
>> Another of my "one-day" projects.... but the last time I looked into it
>> I was heartily recommended the following by more than one respected
>> member of the group...
>> http://www.emwc.co.uk/Details.asp?ProductID=87
>>
>> That's what I will eventually be going for.... when I get time.
>> :Ź)

>> --
>
> My 'one-day' crystallised last year as an 'Easter Project' :)
> Having read the FAQ's and comments on this newsgroup, I bit-the-Bullet and
> purchased the model described -which was on 'Special Offer' , at the same
> price, then!
> Experience has been excellent - the water is soft and it's difficult to
> describe what a difference it has made. Cleaning is easier; sinks, baths,
> hand basins and toilet stay clean. We've stopped using fabric conditioners
> and dish-washer salt and rinse-aid: soap, shampoo and bath stuff only need
> a smidgeon (technical term) rather than the dollop (another technical
> term) previously, Unfortunately, my accounting system didn't track
> itemised expenditures for such purchases -so I can't quantify how much
> we've 'saved' - but salt consumption seems to be the forecast
> one-block-per-adult-per-month.

Help me to understand! I'm sure it's a good machine if all here like it but
its specs. say "up to 508ltr per tank at 250ppm". Given the dimensions of
the beast, it's either a Tardis or I'm missing something! How much soft
water can you actully run off at one go?


--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)


Brian Sharrock

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Mar 27, 2007, 10:20:20 AM3/27/07
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"Bob Mannix" <b1o...@mannix.org.uk> wrote in message
news:eub77q$92v$1...@south.jnrs.ja.net...

The 'device' is a two-cylinder model and (mains) water flows into the device
and through a cylinder wherein AIUI Nasty (chalky) ions are captured by the
resin in exchange for Nice (Sodium) ions this water is 'softened' _not_ soft
water.
The resin in the on-line cylinder will eventuall exhaust itself of Sodium
ions and be full of Calcium ions. Due to some magic _volume_ measuring
'thingy' the device thinks to itself' Uh,Uh, better switch cylinders" and
diverts the incoming mains water through the other cylinder , at the same
time it pumps saturated salty water (brine) through the 'off-line' cylinder
refreshing the resin which grabs the Sodium (nice) ions from the brine and
releases the Calcium ions whch are discharged into the flushing water and
then to a drain.The 'refreshened cylinder is then available for use ready to
take up the slack when its companion cylinder needs replenishing . { this is
a somewhat simplified explanation -the two cylinders sometimes work
together, sometimes independantly - but the consumer doesn't have to
bother }
So; in practise you can run all the taps in your house - kitchen sink,
washing machine , dishwasher, bath, shower, toilet, etc. etc. simultaneously
and the softening machine will just ... cope. I'm sure that a hydrologist
could measure the flow impedance of the device on the water supply - but to
the average householder (and his wife and kids) there's no perceptible
difference in flow. And: _all_ the water is 'softened'.

Note; the operation of the two-cylinder models with a mechancial
water-metering and water-powered pumps system should not be confused with
the single cylinder and/or electrically timed device which refresh their
resins at fixed times and it is possible to exhaust a cylinder at some point
in the day and subsequent mains water passes through without any 'softening'
effect. { the obverse of this is that sometimes the resin hasn't all been
exhausted and brine is wasted }

It was the perceived advantages of this 'mechanical two cylinder' type that
made the decision for me - even though it was a 'suck and see'
leap-in-thhe-dark'; I was intending to re-engineer the water system to
provide SWMBO with 'mains-pressure' shower - and I wanted to have a
clean-sheet 'softened' water system that relied on some chemical reaction I
could understand rather than a hand-waving magic magnetic device that
baffled me. .... also; I was bl**dy fed-up with dismantling the shower
device and descaling it plus replacing 'O' rings that had got chewed up with
chalky deposits. [ My SOP when someone yelled 'The showers stopped
working!".]

HTH

--
Brian


> --
> Bob Mannix


Bob Mannix

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Mar 27, 2007, 10:42:37 AM3/27/07
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"Brian Sharrock" <b.sha...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:EK9Oh.13713$5c2....@newsfe3-win.ntli.net...

Yes, very good, thanks for that, I concur with your reasoning (you don't
get 'owt for nowt, except hand waving) but price is a bit steep (having an
ex SWMBO and less moolah!). I rely on shower heads with rubbery nozzles -
when they get a bit scaled you just scratch them with a finger nail. Looks
like the dogs danglies if you do want one though.

Ian_m

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Mar 27, 2007, 11:28:09 AM3/27/07
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"Unix Guru" <nos...@nowhere.com> wrote in message
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Get a metered one, it saves on salt whose price is related to gas as this is
used to dry the salt.

Also you can get test kits to measure hardness, you add tablets to a sample
of the water until it turns pink (?). My water in Hampshire was 22 Clark
(very hard) thus had I had to turn the volume to regenration down from the
factory supplied 600l/cylinder to 350l/cylinder or else the water would run
hard.


Unix Guru

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Mar 27, 2007, 1:47:48 PM3/27/07
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Pet @ www.gymratz.co.uk ;¬) wrote:
> Another of my "one-day" projects.... but the last time I looked into it
> I was heartily recommended the following by more than one respected
> member of the group...
> http://www.emwc.co.uk/Details.asp?ProductID=87
>
> That's what I will eventually be going for.... when I get time.
> :¬)

It sounds similar to my Kinetico at about the price I paid in 1998. The
"RRP £1150.00" sounds like pure fiction. Tellingly the manufacturer and
model number are not stated, so it's not possible to compare the
"Special Offer" price. It's just this kind of opaqueness that I find so
suspicious.

Unix Guru

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Mar 27, 2007, 1:51:29 PM3/27/07
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Ian_m wrote:
> Get a metered one, it saves on salt whose price is related to gas as this is
> used to dry the salt.
>
> Also you can get test kits to measure hardness, you add tablets to a sample
> of the water until it turns pink (?). My water in Hampshire was 22 Clark
> (very hard) thus had I had to turn the volume to regenration down from the
> factory supplied 600l/cylinder to 350l/cylinder or else the water would run
> hard.

Yes, I would prefer a metered one. And thank you for the advice on
tuning regeneration to the water hardness. That's something my Kinetico
could never do!

Mj

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Mar 27, 2007, 3:22:24 PM3/27/07
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"Unix Guru" <nos...@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:460959a1$0$8752$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader02.plus.net...

I was under the impression that you could fit a different number disc that
would initiate the regeneration more frequently

Andrew Mawson

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Mar 27, 2007, 4:08:58 PM3/27/07
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"Mj" <no...@nkz.com.uk> wrote in message
news:46096ef0$0$22117$db0f...@news.zen.co.uk...

I have three commercial Kinetico machines, and those have the head
gear ratio set to decide how much volume triggers a regen cycle. When
I've seen the smaller domestic units they just looked scaled down
versions, so I assume they work on the same principle.

AWEM


Unix Guru

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Mar 27, 2007, 4:40:05 PM3/27/07
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Mj wrote:
> I was under the impression that you could fit a different number disc that
> would initiate the regeneration more frequently

Yes, that is correct, but one has to purchase additional discs
separately. Kinetico don't make things easy!

Ian_m

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Mar 29, 2007, 11:58:10 AM3/29/07
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"Unix Guru" <nos...@nowhere.com> wrote in message
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My Wizard softener you enter in the no of litres per cyclinder before
generatiion. Takes a couple of months to find right setting as you have to
sample the water just before it regenerates (which is does indicate on its
display, litres to go before regeneration) to see if its "gone hard", then
decreasing the litre setting until soft.


Unix Guru

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Mar 29, 2007, 3:29:24 PM3/29/07
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That sounds more useful - you can tune the cycle without incurring extra
expense if you get it wrong! Of course the ideal would be for the
softener to detect the water hardness itself. I don't know whether
that's possible with current technology at the right price.

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