“ Brand: Culligan / Type: Water filtration system „
When we moved to our current house we discovered that a water softener was fitted to the water supply. Although we had lived in areas with hard water supplies before we had never installed a water softener ourselves. We used various additives in our washing machines and dishwashers and we used a filter jug for the water that we used for making drinks, but that was all.
Part of the installation was a feed to a water tap taken from the mains before the water softener. This was intended to be used for un-softened water to use for making drinks and for cooking, anywhere where water without any salt taint was required. As you will probably realise, a water softener uses salt in order to refresh the chemicals in the internal filter and remove those water contaminants which it has extracted from the water.
When I was a kid my grandfather had one of the very earliest domestic water softeners. It was a huge beast. It consisted of a five foot high metal cylinder and had a clamp-on cap on the top. Once a week granddad would turn off the water, take off this cap, fill the recess with salt, replace the cap and then run water through the softener and out into a drain. You knew when the refresh was done by tasting the water: if it still tasted salty then you ran it a bit longer.
Modern water softeners use a continuous process which means that the water supplied to the house contains a small amount of salt all the time. This is why a water supply is provided from the mains supply, before it enters the water softener. But, of course, this water is just as it comes from the water treatment plant, containing not just hard water contaminants but also others such as chlorine, used to kill bugs, and various unhealthy metals, albeit in trace quantities.
Eventually we decided to install a continuous water filter in the drinking water supply. I looked around at the various kits available, trying to find one that was reasonably priced and wouldn't cost a fortune in filters to run. What I found in B&Q was a Culligan water filter it that seemed to meet those requirements. It cost around £50 a few years ago; I see that these days it's over £60. The kit consists of a replacement tap, a pair of thin plastic water tubes, a tap that attaches to the main water supply pipe, a filter attachment and a filter.
The mains tap is very easy to fit: it clamps around a standard 15mm copper pipe from the mains and then as you screw in the tap it punches a hole in the pipe, so providing a supply to the filter. The filter housing you screw somewhere convenient and then place the drinking water tap somewhere, usually so that it points over a sink such as in a utility room. You then join up all the tubes and connect the filter to the housing. The filter is a screw fit to the housing and activates a cut-off valve so that you don't actually have to turn off the water supply in order to change the filter.
We've been using this water filter for a couple of years now. During that time it has worked effectively, with the sole exception of the drinking water tap. This has a spout which can be swung from side to side. After about a year of use I noticed what appeared to be a leak from the point where the spout entered the housing attached to the work surface. It wasn't a bad leak but it did leak every time the tap was used. Eventually it got so bad that I had to replace it. By that time the product was well out of warranty.
I replaced the tap with one manufactured by Aqua Shield. It just needed the end cut off of the supply tube as the Aqua Shield tap has a push-fit attachment for its water tube. This has worked fine ever since. It even has a better on/off tap that the Culligan one. Filters should be replaced about every six months. You can get them direct from Culligan through their website but I buy mine from B&Q as they are cheaper there, about £15 each.
We have found that the water supplied from the filter does have an improved taste compared with unfiltered water. I have to accept that it does the job it advertises itself to do as, apart from sending samples for expensive water analysis, there is no other alternative. However, what I have noticed is that the filter doesn't remove the scum that you often see floating on top of hot drinks. It turns out that one aspect of filtration that the Culligan kit doesn't address is scum removal. I have checked out other filtration kits since and it appears that most standard filter kits don't remove scum; usually the filter kits which do have multiple filters and are much more expensive to buy and to use.
So, is the Culligan Water Filtration Kit worth buying? Well, if you do have a water supply which delivers water with an unpleasant taste then it should make a noticable difference. At the price it is probably reasonable value for money, except for the unreliable tap design. I would certainly have preferred a filter system that addressed the unpleasant looking scum and I might have paid the extra for a system that did had I realised. As it is, probably only a filter jug will do the complete job but they are much more expensive to use, the filters needing to be replaced far more often, and, of course, you have to wait for the water to run through before you can use it.
The choice is yours.