Frequently Asked Questions

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Cleaning:

Drinking softened water:

Should I use a separate, unsoftened tap for drinking water?

It is recommended to have a separate tap to provide unsoftened water, but there are no legal requirements. A hard water drinking tap is installed as standard, so that you can choose your preferred drinking water while using softened water and its many other benefits around your home. The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations requires [...]

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Is softened water safe to drink?

Softened water is considered safe to drink in the majority of cases. How can water that contains salt be safe to drink? The first misconception is that softened water contains salt – in fact it doesn’t even enter the water supply, it is only used to soften the resin. If we break this down into [...]

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Is softened water ok for pets to drink?

Softened water is safe for most pets to drink. The only exceptions for softened water are some exotic, tropical or ornamental fish. We recommend getting advice from an aquaculturist if you’re unsure. EU Directive on water quality: Softened water meets the EU Directive on water quality, meaning it is safe for human consumption. This includes [...]

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What does softened water taste like?

The taste of softened water is dependent on your incoming water supply. Whatever you are used to is usually the preference. In tests, most people do prefer how softened water tastes in tea and coffee. The most amount of chlorine is present in hard water areas, so it can overpower the flavour, making the taste [...]

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Can I use softened water for mixing baby feeds?

We generally don’t recommend using softened water with baby feed. You can use softened water for baby feeds if the sodium concentration is below the 200 mg/l limit for sodium. So, it isn’t recommended if you are unsure of your water’s sodium concentration – which is likely in most cases. The 200 mg/l sodium level [...]

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How many people drink softened water?

Millions! During the 1920’s and 1930’s water softeners started to be sold to home owners to improve the taste of drinking water. In the USA there is no myth surrounding drinking softened water, over 1 million people a year have a water softener installed. There are millions of water softeners in everyday use in American [...]

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Who recommends a separate tap to provide un-softened water for drinking?

The recommendation is made in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, endorsed by Government Regulators the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) and the water softener supply industry through its trade association UKWTA. If you would like further advice on any aspect of owning a water softener and what is or is not possible, the [...]

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Is salt bad for you?

There are opinions about whether salt contributes to hypertension (blood pressure) and the possible health effects. Less salt has been found to reduce blood pressure, at least in the short term, in older, hypertensive patients. It is less conclusive whether a lower blood pressure from reduced salt has ultimately worse health outcomes, such as heart [...]

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Technical information:

Do bacteria grow in a water softener?

Non-harmful bacteria grow in water softeners. Bacteria can be found everywhere and particularly in substances where there are minerals, such as water. They are completely harmless and, in a lot of cases, help us to function as living things. [...]

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Does a Harvey™ block salt water softener have a maximum daily capacity?

A Harvey™ twin cylinder water softener doesn’t need a maximum daily capacity. Our water softener regenerates while still softening your water, making the capacity endless. One water softener will guarantee softened water 24/7, regardless of how much you use. This means you haven’t got to calculate your capacity requirements or change settings for usages, making [...]

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Does a Harvey Water Softener™ use a ‘backwash’?

Harvey Water Softeners™ do not use a backwash cycle to fit with British design criteria and save water. A backwash cycle is a feature of American manufactured water softeners. Many of the water supplies throughout the USA are from private boreholes, making the water quality extremely varied and unpredictable. Finding dirt in the water, or [...]

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What actually happens when you soften water by ion exchange?

Domestic softeners typically treat the water to the whole house. They are salt-regenerated, ion-exchange units which contain ion exchange resin. This resin contains sodium ions which “swap places” with calcium (together with magnesium and some other trace metal ions such as iron and aluminium) as the water passes through. So calcium and magnesium are taken [...]

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How long is the life of the resins?

Longer than necessary. The machine is more likely to wear out before the resin. The old fashioned water softeners had their resin changed periodically. The new water softener will not need this during its normal lifetime. [...]

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Can the brine in a softener become contaminated?

There has never been a recorded problem involving the contamination of brine in water softeners. The reason is that: brine kills germs and viruses the water softener is rinsed thoroughly any bacteria left would be of the low HPC variety, which are harmless Should a major contamination occur in a stagnant water softener it would [...]

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Water hardness:

Does a water softener remove fluoride?

Fluoride levels are not affected when you soften water. A Harvey Water Softener™ only exchanges positively charged ions such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. Fluoride, chloride, sulphate and nitrate are negatively charged so won’t be removed during the softening process. Reverse osmosis units remove fluoride: If your natural water supply has excessive fluoride, we [...]

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How can I find out how much sodium will be in my water when softened?

The simplest route is to call the customer services number for your water supplier. Ask for the sodium level in the water supply and calcium carbonate hardness. (N.B. both sodium and calcium carbonate hardness must be expressed in mg/l. Divide the calcium carbonate hardness level by 2.175 and add the sodium in the water supply). [...]

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Why is hardness expressed as different measures?

When hardness is expressed as ‘mg/l as CaCO3’, it’s calculated as if all the calcium and magnesium were present only as calcium carbonate. Hard water is a mixture of calcium and magnesium, together with bicarbonate, sulphate, chloride, etc. Ca – is calcium, C carbon and O oxygen. CO3 means 3 atoms of oxygen are combined [...]

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Why don’t water companies soften the water?

Some water companies do soften their water, however, it’s not cost-effective to treat all water supplies. In 1947, the Government published a study which concluded that it was economically beneficial to soften water at the point of use, but uneconomical to treat all water centrally. This sparked the beginning of water softening for private use [...]

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Does the water hardness change?

The water quality varies from season to season as a result of rainfall and the source of the water prior to treatment. As the aquifers fill and empty, the amount of calcium and magnesium held in solution will vary. The speed of the water percolating from the surface will affect the hardness and this can [...]

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Is my water already softened?

In most cases, no. The only supplier that softens water to some degree is SES Water. The water is purified before it is safe to drink and the quality is improved through a process it calls ‘softening’. Its water treatment process moves the water to the softening tank, here lime is added. The lime reacts [...]

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About water softeners:

How much does a Harvey Water Softener™ cost?

How much does a water softener cost? The price of a water softener can vary depending upon a lot of factors, such as the plumbing system in your home and how many people are in the household. Anyone that offers a one-off price without assessing the situation first will not be providing a thorough enough [...]

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Are there any downsides to water softeners?

No. Everybody who has a good water softener that works properly is delighted with the benefits and more than happy to put up with the requirements of ownership. As with all things, there is always the ‘other side’ to ownership, but we would not describe them as a downside. You have to buy a water [...]

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Is a water softener a luxury item?

A water softener is no longer thought of as a luxury item as it will pay for itself in three to five years. Save on buying household cleaning products, reduce the amount of energy your home uses and extend the lifespan of your washing machine. Between three to five years, the overall savings you make [...]

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What is an Electronic Water Softener?

What is an electric water softener? An electric water softener is a device used to soften a property’s water supply. It removes magnesium and calcium from hard water through a process called ion exchange to prevent limescale building up in household appliances, boilers or pipes. For a complete understanding on how this process works, check [...]

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What is a magnetic device?

A magnetic device treats a household water supply to reduce the buildup of limescale. It uses a magnetic field to encourage the formation of crystals as water flows through it. As the water then gets heated in the central heating system, the scale in unsoftened mains water tends to form around the crystals rather than [...]

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What is an aquifer?

An aquifer is an underground rock formation which is saturated with water. Boreholes are drilled into the aquifers to extract water. In some areas the aquifers are huge, covering tens or even hundreds of miles. [...]

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How much sodium is added to water during softening?

For every 100 mg/l of calcium carbonate hardness removed from the water, 46 mg/l of sodium is added. Naturally soft water typically contains between 10 to 50 sodium parts-per million (ppm). The sodium content of any water is considered safe to drink by the Drinking Water Inspectorate up to 200 ppm. When softening water, sodium [...]

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What is a water softener’s resin made of?

Harvey Water Softener™ resin is made from petrochemical products. Resin is synthentic plastic made from polysterine sulfonate, shaped into beads that look like brown sugar. Each macroporous sulphonated polystyrene bead has a 1% DV cross linking that works to soften resins. The technology is unsurpassed to date. Resins last a long time – the water [...]

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What is a water conditioner?

A water conditioner is any device intended to improve the condition of water, including industrial water conditioning products which treat water at its source and domestic water softeners installed in the home. Water conditioning is an important part of serving water to the general public and as such, water conditioning plants exist to filter out [...]

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What are the twin cylinders in the water softener made from?

Harvey Water Softeners™ are made from a glass reinforced plastic from the polystyrene family. This material is injection mould in two halves and heat welded together. It is the same material used in the pipes that carry the water from the reservoir to your home. It has passed the Water Research Advisory Scheme test for [...]

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Around the home:

Will installing a water softener affect my water rates?

The Harvey Water Softener™ does use more water, so it can affect the water rates when first installed. However, having a water softener will save money throughout the home – from bills to the products you use in the water, so the cost savings in the long term will outweigh any other outgoings. [...]

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What boiler and system do I need to use a water softener?

Most boilers, central heating and water systems will benefit from using softened water. In the past, there has been a lot of misinformation published about using softened water. Our water softeners are designed and manufactured in England to suit UK homes and plumbing systems. Softened water can help systems run more efficiently by flushing away [...]

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Can you use softened water in a dishwasher?

Softened water can be used in a dishwasher. Once you’ve fitted your water softener, set the water hardness of your dishwasher to 0. There will no longer be a need to add salt and you should see a reduction in the amount of rinse aid used. Cleaning products work more efficiently in softened water, so [...]

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Does the water softener affect my home’s water pressure?

Some water pressure will be lost, but Harvey Water Softeners™ are designed to minimise the effects. Any fitting in a water distribution system will reduce water pressure as water has to pass through it. In most Harvey™ installations, the effects of this are unnoticeable. Our expert team of engineers can check your water pressure before [...]

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Will your water softener work with a combi boiler?

Yes, an ion exchange water softener will work with a combi-boiler and reduce the scale present in your existing system. Naturally soft water dissolves chalk and lime as it travels underground, creating hard water. Once softened, it is once again capable of dissolving the chalk and lime in your pipework and hot water cylinder. Heat [...]

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Can I use softened water in my swimming pool or hot tub?

Partially softened hard water is fine to use. Fully softened water isn’t recommended. The UK’s Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group advises to maintain calcium hardness of between 75 and 150 ppm as CaCO3. The problems of fully softening pool water: If you soften below 75 ppm, the water will slowly dissolve the calcium from grout [...]

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Can I use softened water in my garden?

It is possible to use softened water for gardens. In the UK, an increase in salt won’t cause a problem for plants because of the amount of natural rainfall we get. During a dry season it isn’t recommended to use softened water in the garden as it can build up sodium levels in soils that [...]

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Can I use softened water with my Quooker boiling water tap?

Yes, you can absolutely use our system with your Quooker (or other) hot water tap. Our technical director has verified that softened water from one of our units is fully compatible. If you are interested in finding out more about our water softeners, please book a demonstration. One of our representatives will be able to [...]

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Will your water softener work with a pressurised water system?

Yes. Our water softeners are designed and manufactured in England to suit UK homes and plumbing systems. UK plumbing systems used to be indirect with water storage tanks in the roof. This system required a low flow rate. The newer plumbing systems are direct, without a storage tank, and these require a high flow rate. [...]

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Is there scientific evidence to prove the benefits of softened water?

The UK Water Trade Association (UKWTA) has published studies into the benefits of softened water for health and home. The study showed that: softened water reduces maintenance and servicing of your appliances water softeners help you save energy water softeners reduce your household fuel costs water softeners reduce carbon emissions, making your home more eco-friendly [...]

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How do I fill in the ‘water softeners’ section of the Water Efficiency Calculator in the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes?

Below is a guide to calculating your household figures to comply with the Code for Sustainable Development: water_efficiency_calculator.pdf The section on ion exchange water softeners (h.) asks for four figures: 1) Total capacity used per regeneration (%) 2) Water consumed per regeneration (litres) 3) Average number of regeneration cycles per day (No.) 4) Number of [...]

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Do razor blades last longer with softened water?

Razor blades last longer with softened water. From research we found that razor blades lasted seven weeks in soft water, while only two weeks in hard water. Enjoy a more comfortable shave using softened water with razor blades that stay sharper for longer. Hard water corrosion: The coating on razor blades is corroded by hard [...]

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Does softened water have an unnatural, slippery feeling?

Softened water feels different when compared to hard water, because it doesn’t leave deposits on your skin. It is important to remember that when using soap you can reduce the amount you use, as softened water makes detergents work more efficiently. Any residue you feel on your skin is often a layer of soap, this [...]

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What does the industry say about using softened water with boilers?

The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) have a Q&A in its consumer guide about protecting your boiler and heating system. Here’s what is said regarding limescale, softened water and boilers: “What about limescale? Limescale is particularly problematic in hard water areas, and for combi boilers, which frequently take in new, “fresh” water and heat [...]

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Ion Exchange Softened Water and Domestic Central Heating Systems

Ion Exchange Softened Water and Domestic Central Heating Systems There is ongoing conflict about the suitability of filling the domestic central heating system with ion exchange softened water. Historically, this emanates from the BSi code of practice BS7593, which originated in 1992 (revised in 2006), stating that naturally soft and base-exchange softened water have an [...]

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Harvey Water demonstration:

What’s a demonstration?

A demonstration is a free home survey of softened water, one of our expert demonstrators will show you the difference between hard and soft water. They will compare your current hard water with what softened water in your home will feel like. You will get to experience the wonders of Harvey Water™ for yourself! They [...]

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What happens during a demonstration?

In a demonstration, our expert demonstrator will assess your property to see which water softener is suitable for you – giving details of sizes, model names etc. as well as advising on where the water softener could potentially be located. They will also advise on pricing and finance options, as well as the demonstration itself [...]

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Installation:

What if I move home?

A Harvey Water Softener™ can be easily removed and fitted in any house, bungalow, flat or apartment. When moving, you can isolate your water softener from the mains supply to disconnect it. This is relatively straightforward if you have basic plumbing knowledge. Please follow your instructions manual or give our team a call. Before reinstalling, [...]

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Can a water softener be installed in a first-floor flat?

Our water softeners can be installed in any kind of property – a house, bungalow, flat or apartment. The only requirement is that the property has its own water supply with a stopcock somewhere that turns off the water to the property, and only the property. During your free demonstration, our representative will discuss the [...]

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Can a water softener be fitted with a fixed film sewage system (septic tank)?

Case Study 1.0 Introduction Tony Frost, Aquafocus, had expressed concerns at a British water focus group meeting that the water softener industry was getting an unfair reputation for affecting small single household sewage treatment plants. It was agreed by the focus group that Richard Munden would trial the Harvey Water Softener™ and report on the [...]

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How long does an installation take?

The average install usually takes between 3-4 hours, however this can vary if the installation is more complex. The complexity of the install will be discussed in your demonstration appointment, if you have any questions, please contact the team. [...]

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When will my plumber arrive?

We will either make a morning or afternoon appointment for your installation. If you have a morning install, the arrival time will be between 8-9am, and an afternoon slot between 12-2pm. [...]

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How long do I have to wait for an installation?

We aim to get an installation booked for the next available appointment, but can’t guarantee how long this will be. If you want an earlier installation, we can put you on our waiting list. With your name being on here, we can call you to bring your install date forward if an earlier slot becomes [...]

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Salt:

Why do I need water softener salt?

Salt is an essential that keeps your water softener running smoothly and supplying your home with softened water 24 hours a day. A Harvey Water Softener™ works by removing the calcium and magnesium in your mains water during a process called ion exchange. Salt is used in the ion exchange process to get rid of [...]

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What role does salt have in the softening process?

Salt comes in many forms (block, tablet, granular) and is loaded into the water softener in order to mix with a reservoir of water and dissolve into brine solution. The brine solution is then used in the regeneration process, whereby it chemically removes the calcium and magnesium ions captured by the resin beads for exchange [...]

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Why does the salt dissolve in the way it does?

The block salt sits in 10 mm of water. Before a regeneration starts, that water is saturated with salt. After the regeneration the brine is replaced with fresh water which then dissolves more salt from sides at the bottom of the block. The brine is heavier than water, so as the fresh water touches the [...]

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Does block salt contain any impurities?

No. The block is made from pure food grade salt and contains no anticaking or any other chemical. Some water softening salt products do contain anticaking agents but the design of the brine saturators in the block salt water softener enables the block to be chemical free. If would like to know more about water [...]

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Is it normal for salt to go down unevenly?

This is perfectly normal and a harmless issue. One block goes down faster as this is where the brine valve is located in the water softener. The salt is always drawn from the block that is closest to the brine valve, hence it going down quicker. It is okay for one side to be completely [...]

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Can I use broken salt?

Yes – it’s perfectly usable. If the salt is in a few broken pieces, simply stack them in the water softener as if they were a block again. Avoid putting the finer pieces in the water softener. [...]

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Why won’t my salt blocks go down?

hey might be stuck or have crystallised. To resolve this, boil a kettle of water and wait 5 – 10 minutes for it to cool it down slightly. Pour about a mugs worth of water around each salt block. Then push any build up down with a plastic or wooden spatula. [...]

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How do I know when to change my salt?

The clear lid on our water softener makes it easy for you to check your salt. The red line inside shows you when to refill or re-order your block salt. If you can see the red line this means it is time to refill the salt in your water softener. A salt block should be [...]

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What type of salt can I use?

Our water softener is designed for block salt. We wouldn’t recommend using granular or tablet salt as it can block the tray and cause problems with the brine valve etc. [...]

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3 month trial:

What is the 3 month trial?

You can try a Harvey Water Softener™ for 3 months and experience the full benefits of softened water. During the trial, you will pay a monthly rental payment. If you are happy with the results, you don’t need to do anything, we will automatically switch you onto your chosen payment method. If for any reason [...]

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How does the 3 month trial work?

Your water softener will be installed on a date that is convenient to you and your trial will begin on that day. You will have already decided what payment plan you would like to go ahead with (this will be discussed with you during your demonstration). You can then start enjoying the wonderful benefits of [...]

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What happens when the 3 months is up?

You will be put onto an automatic payment plan that you sign up for during your demonstration appointment. Please remember what option you have signed up for and let us know if you decide to change your plan or have the water softener removed. You’ll need to let us know about any changes before the [...]

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Servicing:

Does my water softener need servicing?

A Harvey Water Softener™ doesn’t require any servicing. Our water softeners have been designed and manufactured to not require any regular servicing. Other water softeners need maintenance visits on a regular basis to keep them at a standard level of quality. Providing you keep your water softener topped up with block salt, you should have [...]

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How much is a service visit?

Call our team on 01483 753414 to find out more. This depends on the service your water softener needs. The team will confirm this with you at the time of booking your appointment. [...]

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Warranty:

What is extended warranty?

Your water softener has an initial guarantee against all remedial, work, parts and labour. To give you added peace of mind, we also offer an extended warranty which you can opt into once your initial guarantee expires. [...]

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What does the warranty cover?

In the event of failure or breakdown of your water softener, all labour and parts will be supplied as part of this scheme. We will be able to provide you with the full t&cs for our extended warranty. [...]

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How do I extend my warranty?

We will contact you when your initial guarantee expires to give you the option to opt into the extended warranty. You can also gain further information about our extended warranty by contacting our service team on 01483753414. [...]

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Turning the water softener off:

How do I turn my bypass valve on and off?

On installation, your Harvey Water Softener™ will have been turned on. The inlet and outlet valves should be inline with the pipework and the bypass will be cutting across the pipe. The outlet, inlet and bypass should all be facing the same direction. You can easily turn off your Harvey Water Softener by closing the [...]

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What do I do if I have a leak?

In the event of a leak, please contact our team on 01483 753400. They will be able to give you the best advice to sort the issue and arrange an engineer visit should this be needed. Our opening hours are: Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm Sat 9am to 4pm Sundays & Bank Holidays – [...]

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What happens if it leaks?

Rest assured, when we install all of our water softeners, we always fit a bypass to allow you to cut the supply of water to your water softener. You will find two blue levers that can cut the supply of water to the softener and a 3rd black lever that will let the water avoid [...]

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What if I go on holiday?

It’s always advisable to turn the water softener off when having an extended holiday as a precaution. However, if no water is being used while you are away, the water softener will not function anyway. [...]

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Water filters:

How do I replace my filter?

Once you receive your filter through the post, simply untwist the old filter and twist the new filter in place as if you were changing a light bulb. Once the new filter is in place, run the tap water for around 10-15 seconds until the water runs clear. [...]

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What’s the filter for?

The filter cartridge is for your drinking water. It removes the taste and odour of chlorine and any sediments such as sand or rust from your drinking water. [...]

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How do I buy a filter?

You can purchase a new filter cartridge from either our website here or over the phone, by calling our salt and filter department on 01483 753 402. [...]

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