Written on: 24/06/2012 by jds1
OK, im not really used to writing this type of review, but here goes, it might get a bit boring!
Having moved into a new build house in March 11 we immediatly saw the need to soften the hard Berkshire water, me verging on OCD regarding the scaling of the new bathroom fittings and appliances.
Having completed a huge amount of research i was really torn between the Harveys/Twintec or Kinetico 2020C, all being about the same costs (give or take a £100 or so) but to me the most important element was the performance or the impact the device would have on our Megaflow supplied hot water system.
I found it's easy to find the data for how much water all the different units can deliver as a maximum throughput when working on all cylinders, but it would be nice to know the maximum that can still pass through during the regeneration cycle?
I did not want to be in the situation of having a shower when my wife turned on the dishwasher, only for the softener to start a regeneration and find my shower has just stopped due to the demand!
I had watched all the Youtube videos and spoken to lots of different companies, before i decided to speak again direct with Harveys, in fact direct to Casey Bowden.
They could not have been more helpful or confident that my fears would not be realised with the install of their latest H3 machine.
So we bit the bullet and ordered the installation for March 12 (that's right it had taken me a year to decide!).
Martin arrived and installed the machine with no fuss at all, installing a new outside tap too (to give choise of both hard and soft, extremily professional, great plumbing work all in 22mm copper with soldered joints and smooth bends, what you would call old school proper plumbing. A really nice guy who was obviously very experienced and took the install in his stride, he left the house in the same condition it was before he arrived,absolutly no problems at all.
So, we have now lived with the machine for just over 3 months and its about the time to review and hopefully help anyone in the same position as I was.
If you have never had softened water it does take some time to adjust, but the benefits are many, from the cleanlyness of the bathroom and shower cubical glass to the kitchen sink, hot drinks do taste smoother, and squashes taste different too, in fact we pretty much drink or use softened water for all cooking and drinking.
Ive even found it's still possible with the hose pipe ban that we still have with South East water that its easy to wash the car in the sun (when we get some!) with buckets and watering can without fear of water marks and a race to leather it off and wishing you never started.
As for the performance and impact, well it's really hard to say because two days before the install our mains pressure was reduced from 4 bar to just under 3 to save water during the ban.
I now measure on average 2.9 bar on hard and 2.6bar on soft so a slight reduction, BUT... in practice it seems to make no difference to our water usage, I can still enjoy a shower even if the kitchen tap is turned on or dishwasher started.
If you ever tried measuring how much water you can physically get from a tap in a minute, you will be hard pushed to get more than about 15l/min, a shower is about 9-11l/min unless you have a big pump behind it.
I'd be confident this machine will be able to cope with most demands, certainly with the Megaflow we have, it's true a slight reduction can be felt but in reality it makes no or little difference, and when the ban is over and hopefully the water company turn the pressure back up again we should see an increase further, personally i think that any megaflow system is so dependant on the supply water pressure and max amount of water that can flow through the main supply to the house.
On average we are consuming a pack of block salt every 5-6 weeks, and I'm seeing about 9m3 of water pass through, thats with two people in the house, so it's not expensive to run either, and the ease of storing the salt in blocks outweighs the cost difference between tablets in my opinion, so dont let this put you off a block salt only machine.
Another benefit that I must review is with the washing machine, we received a sample of Harvey's own Soft Water Washing Powder, and it's nothing short of fantastic, it leaves white washing so much brighter, octtons are softer, and the inside of the machine just feels like it is clean, no more grey soapy deposits left on the porthole glass or seal.
We use a Miele that has a detergent quantity recomendation depending on load weight, this was something we couldnt really use previosuly due to using tablets, but now we solely use the Harveys soft water washing powder we can adjust the quantity to suit, the amount of powder required is tiny in comparison. This is saving us a lot of money over using tablets before the softener, and the performance is in a different class.
Only one comment i can think of as being possibly a little negative is the fact the unit only has one year warranty, but upgradable with a further nine years, this is something im going to purchase just for piece of mind,(i think its about £80-£100 for the extension), but it does seem to be very well made, and close by in Woking.
Overall we are really happy with our machine, we now take it for granted and don't really think what it was like before we had it, we certainly wouldn't go back to not having one and the experience of buying the unit from Harveys was good, we had no pressure selling and they seem nice people trying to give good customer satisfaction, and rightfully proud of their products.
Hope this is useful to someone.