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How does a water softener work?

A water softener works by removing the magnesium and calcium present in your water supply through a process of ion exchange, turning it from hard water to softened water. Unlike hard water, softened water does not damage your home’s piping, or cause a build up of scale in your appliances; reducing their effectiveness and lifespan.

By softening your water, you can protect your home from harmful build up while also eliminating limescale (which is only present with hard water) and improve your family’s skin and hair, too.

Harvey™ Water Softeners is the UK’s number one manufacturer. It delivers beautifully softened water by removing hardness minerals from your mains water supply. With hard water these minerals can be seen as a white residue on your surfaces, sinks, taps, kettle and more.

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    Step 1: Your water softener is installed

    The first step to softened water is to have your water softener installed. This is done by one of our fully qualified plumbers who have extensive in-house experience. Our experts are always up to date with the latest installation regulations and have completed extensive training here at the Harvey™ training academy.

    Using high quality WRAS approved parts, your installer will spend the morning or afternoon neatly plumbing your Harvey™ Water Softener into a place that is convenient for you – you can have it under the sink, in the loft, the garage or even outside! Installation is a simple process – a little more complex than a washing machine, but much simpler than getting a new boiler.

    Find out more here.

    block beads

    Step 2: Microscopic beads trap hard water minerals

    As soon as your water softener is installed, the microscopic beads inside the twin cylinders start doing their job.

    The twin-cylinders inside a Harvey™ Water Softener are filled with millions of microscopic resin beads. Each bead has a negative charge, while calcium and magnesium carry positive charges in water. This means that, as the calcium and magnesium passes through the resin beads, they are attracted to one another.

    All that exits the water softener is pure, softened water, while the minerals stay behind in the beads. Sodium taken from the Harvey™ block salt completes the exchange.

    Harvey Arc Twin Cylinder Diagram

    Step 3: Your water softener regenerates

    The regeneration process uses sodium to detach the mineral build up from the resin. Sodium has a charge strong enough to take the calcium and magnesium away, but not enough to cling to the resin itself.

    Harvey™ block salt is dissolved and the brine solution used to regenerate (clean) the resin tanks. This brine also provides the sodium needed to complete the exchange process during softening. Once removed, calcium and magnesium are flushed harmlessly down the drain. The Harvey™ Water Softener has a meter within it that judges when to regenerate, meaning there is no water waste, it runs at the most efficient cost and hard water will never enter your system.

    Find out more about regeneration here.

    Step 4: The dual cylinder regeneration process

    A water softener simply has two jobs – to soften water and regenerate itself. Single cylinder water softeners need to pause the water softening process to regenerate, our innovative twin-cylinder design means that the regeneration process can take place at any time without interrupting your enjoyment of softened water. Our patented duple-parallel operation will regenerate one cylinder while the other continues to soften your water, providing your home with beautifully fresh softened water 24/7, without interruption.

    Step 5: Enjoy softer hair, shinier home and tastier cuppas!

    Using a Harvey™ Water Softener could not be easier. All you need to do is simply top the block salt up when it runs out, this is the only maintenance needed. Operation is silent during normal use and regeneration sounds similar to the filling cycle on a washing machine, lasting around 10 minutes.

    Find out more about maintenance here.


    Softened water provides so many benefits to your home and family, from a shiny kitchen and bathroom to being soft on skin and hair.


    Shinier home

    No more limescale residue on your shiny surfaces.

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    Appliances last longer

    With softened water scale will slowly diminish, extending the lifespan of appliances.

    cheaper bills

    Cheaper bills

    Pipes will scale over time and your hot water system will become less efficient.

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    Less time cleaning

    No scum marks mean your cleaning time will be reduced.

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    Soft on skin

    Enjoy water that is soft to touch, leaving you with luxurious water to bathe in.

    Bubblier baths

    Soaps and shampoos lather better making bigger bubbles

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    Fewer products

    Creating more lather means you use less soap, saving you money!