Kinetico water softeners live up to five-star standard at Cheval Group apartments case study

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Courtesy of Kinetico International

The Cheval Group is the market leader in luxury serviced apartments in London, offering five-star quality accommodation in Knightsbridge, Kensington and the City. A few years ago it needed to replace the existing water softeners at its Gloucester Park apartment complex in Kensington and after a tendering process chose Kinetico to supply the new system. On the strength of that system’s performance it also switched to Kinetico softeners at its Thorney Court apartments.

The Cheval Group is the market leader in luxury serviced apartments in London, offering five-star quality accommodation in Knightsbridge, Kensington and the City. A few years ago it needed to replace the existing water softeners at its Gloucester Park apartment complex in Kensington and after a tendering process chose Kinetico to supply the new system. On the strength of that system’s performance it also switched to Kinetico softeners at its Thorney Court apartments.

Given the water hardness in London, of around 270 ppm, water softening is regarded as essential by the Cheval Group across all of its larger properties; to prevent the build up of scale on shower heads and in heating systems and appliances, and to improve the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. Because each property consists of a number of apartments with central services, water softening is also done centrally, for 100 apartments at Gloucester Park and for 58 apartments at Thorney Court.

The systems in use at the Cheval Group properties featured a Kinetico twin tank softener, which softens water by ion exchange - removing the dissolved calcium and magnesium ions that cause hard water by exchanging them for sodium ions that do not. In any such softener, ion exchange is carried out by passing water through a tank full of special resin beads, and this resin needs to be intermittently regenerated using a special salt solution. However, because twin tank systems automatically switch from tank to tank as they become exhausted, they are able to provide a continuous supply of softened water, 24 hours a day without the use of a storage tank.

One of the particular advantages of the Kinetico system is that it features the unprecedented, and still unrivalled, non-electric Kinetico control valve. This controller, which is powered and governed by the water flowing through it, not only avoids reliability problems and the risk of power failure that can affect electronic controllers, but it also regenerates the system more efficiently to reduce salt consumption; only regenerating when the resin has been used to capacity rather than at arbitrary time periods.

The system also uses soft water to clean itself, further improving efficiency and the systems' effectiveness. This process, which is recommended by most resin manufacturers, regenerates the resin beads more efficiently by reversing the flow through the system during the cleaning process.

The group maintenance manager at the Cheval Group said: “The water softener at our Gloucester Park building, which had been in operation for around eight years, was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. The seals were leaking and the resin in the tank needed replacing, so we decided to look around at what was on the market.

 “One of our contractors recommended the Kinetico system and we looked at it alongside half a dozen others. What we liked about it was its physically small size compared to the competitors, as well as the simplicity of the non-electric, no-maintenance controller. Kinetico’s pricing was also competitive and we have been extremely pleased with the system since it was installed, so much so that we asked Kinetico to supply another system, without a tendering process, for Thorney Court.”

The only downside of the Kinetico system in this application, if it can be thought of that way, was that it was slightly too efficient. After the system was installed some residents commented that the water was so soft they could not remove the soap lather when washing. In order to rectify this some mains water was blended back into the treated water to give a supply of approximately 75 ppm hardness – still soft enough to prevent scale build, but more acceptable to the residents

Kinetico UK comments: “Normally our systems are required to give the best possible softening performance and that is why they are chosen, but we are always happy to work with the customer to meet their precise needs. The other advantage of blending the water of course is that it further decreases salt usage making the system even cheaper to run.

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