Water softener for a new apartment complex

Back to Application case studies - 15/08/2018

Hard water leaves lime-scale forming deposits on appliances, taps and surfaces. It also reduces the efficiency of boilers and heating systems

A national chain of plumbers’ merchants asked J&F to quote for a suitable water softener, this was to be installed in a new apartment complex.

The specifications given by the architects were:

Maximum peak flow of 32 m3 per hour with a total hardness of 315 ppm as CaCO3 – we were also given size constraints with a footprint and height.

Ideally a duplex softener would have been selected but given the drawings and operating parameters this was not possible – the following equipment was selected:


  • 1 off Clack WS3 3” side mounted softener valve with meter
  • 1 off 42”x72” mineral tank with 6” top and bottom flanges
  • 1,000 litres cation softener resin
  • Associated equipment including brine tank


The side mount layout is shown above, with the Clack WS3 valve capable of a service flow of 56.8 m3 per hour and a backwash flow of 50 m3 per hour.

J&F were also asked to recommend an experienced installation and commissioning company.

Water softener for a new apartment complex

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by “hard” and “soft” water?

Put simply hard water contains dissolved compounds, such as calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. As rain water is slightly acidic it breaks down and absorbs minerals in the rock through which it filters. These rocks vary depending on region. This then determines the hardness of the water and the water can be treated accordingly depending on how it is to be used.

Hard water forms lime-scale forming unsightly deposits on taps, sinks, shower screens etc and also effects the efficiency (and lifespan) of appliances such as boilers and kettles. hard water does not “soap” as easily as soft or softened water meaning that more soap (and other cleaning products) will need to be used. Clothes will also feel hard and rough when washed.

The “hardness” of water can range from “slight” to “very hard”. It is not damaging to your health and can actually improve the taste of water due to the essential minerals it contains. (You may have noticed how a cup of tea can taste different depending on where you are in the country!)

Softened water on the other hand can save industry and households significant amounts of money over using hard water.

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What is a water softener and how does it work?

A water softener works by a process called ion exchange. This process exchanges magnesium and calcium ions, which form limescale, for sodium ions.

A mineral tank makes up the main part of the softener containing the ion-exchange resin. Water enters and leaves the tank through a valve which controls the softening process. Once the resin has become exhausted a brine solution (water and common salt) is flushed through the tank which reverses the process and allows the resin to soften the water again.

The control valve can operate on either a time basis or a meter controlled basis, which is more efficient and uses less salt.

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