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Does Calgon Make Sense Financially?

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Since I am investing in a Miele (rather expensive for me) I was thinking of protecting it from the hardwater in my area by using Calgon or similar product.

Andy has, as most of you are probably aware has written a quite indepth piece on hard water / limescale / Calgon
Hard water & limescale in washing machines

I did a rough calculation on a £9.99 50 tablet pack of Calgon (which I bought yesterday) and projected annual usage came to £60-£70 even assuming a bottom figure of £60 while not 'excessive' per year, when viewed from a 10 year standpoint it's £600.... which is enough to buy another entry level Miele washing machine!

Assuming the heating element can last 10 years without any water treatment in an hard water area, and relying on what available protective properties the detergent offers, it's probably more beneficial to change washing machines every 10 years.

A. you have a more modern Miele with the latest functions and maybe better cleaning technology, and
B. you have a brand new machine with all internals unfurred and a shiny new heating element (might not be so environmentally friendly though) - for the same price as using Calgon.


With our 20 year old Philips washing machine we haven't been using Calgon or similar, but probably base it's survival on the fact it's hot and cold fill, so the hot water is gas heated from the main central heating - so the Philips never has to engage it's own heating element much? (we do 40 degree washes)

Also if buying in the budget end of the washer market, a £300 washing machine might only last 5 years. But even then it's 'paid for itself' Vs £300 of Calgon usage. Rather than effect repairs at more expense, it makes more sense in this case to replace the machine and continue not to use Calgon or similar product.
(again, not the most environmentally friendly solution)

Just a different train of thought.

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Interestingly our normal washing power of choice (for the past 10 years) has been Persil non-bio

after reading Which? they rate Persil non-bio with a slightly better cleaning performance.

So today I picked up a pack and it says that it comes with limescale protection water softner already included :)

I double checked our Persil non-bio and there are no words to that effect.

So apart from a beneficial increase in cleaning power, there is also limescale protection stated on the box.

B)

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I was always put off by the price of calgon and disappointed when John Lewis stopped doing there very good and cheap softening powder. Tesco brought out there own limescale prevention tablet which is almost identical to the C brand, its a fraction of the price , its £2.95 for 30 tabs. So far I'm happy with them

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Since I am investing in a Miele (rather expensive for me) I was thinking of protecting it from the hardwater in my area by using Calgon or similar product.

Washing machine detergent has water softening agents built into it. The biggest cause of limescale damage is most likely people not using good quality detergent and not using the correct amount for their water hardness. There are lots of myths around saying things like washing machine detergent manufacturers tell you to use too much detergent and you can get away with much less. Laundry may well be acceptably clean using less, but there can be long term damage to the insides of the washing machine because the detergent is designed to also protect the washing machine inside from gunge and limescale.

I did a rough calculation on a £9.99 50 tablet pack of Calgon and projected annual usage came to £60-£70 even assuming a bottom figure of £60 while not 'excessive' per year, when viewed from a 10 year standpoint it's £600.... which is enough to buy another entry level Miele washing machine!
Or throughout a lifetime it's at least £3000

With our 20 year old Philips washing machine we haven't been using Calgon or similar, but probably base it's survival on the fact it's hot and cold fill, so the hot water is gas heated from the main central heating - so the Philips never has to engage it's own heating element much? (we do 40 degree washes)


The washing machine always uses its own heating element, much more than many people assume ( This is covered in cold fill washing machine or hot and cold fill? ). I would think it’s more likely to be because you used the correct dosage of detergent smile.gif Or your water is relatively soft. As limescale is produced when water is heated, it's fair to assume using lower temperatures ought to produce less but if using proper amounts of detergent and a good quality detergent the washing machine should be protected.

Calgon and similar products allow you to use less detergent because they soften the water, they advise on the pack that if using them, you can put the same amount of detergent in your washing machine as if you were in a soft water area. I haven't done any calculations on whether the savings in detergent are greater than the cost of the Calgon though.

My other conclusion in the topic that you linked to was that if living in a hard water area, I would tackle the hard water at source by trying to get it softened. This should be more cost effective in the long term, and also deal with the other associated limescale problems in dishwashers, kettles, showers, baths, sinks etc. The tablets may be useful if you aren't intending to stay in the hard water area long enough to justify tacking at source, or if you can work out that the savings in detergent are worth the cost and effort in using extra tablets.


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Interestingly our normal washing power of choice (for the past 10 years) has been Persil non-bio

after reading Which? they rate Persil non-bio with a slightly better cleaning performance.

So today I picked up a pack and it says that it comes with limescale protection water softener already included :)

I double checked our Persil non-bio and there are no words to that effect.

Part of the job of a detergent is to soften water, so they all should have it. I suspect it could be marketing spiel on the new pack. There are unfortunately too many anomalies on this topic for my liking, such as this, and why do Miele and a couple of others "recommend" Calgon if using detergent properly protects the washing machine? I need to really investigate this, and see if I can get some definitive answers.


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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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Interestingly our normal washing power of choice (for the past 10 years) has been Persil non-bio

after reading Which? they rate Persil non-bio with a slightly better cleaning performance.

So today I picked up a pack and it says that it comes with limescale protection water softner already included :)

I double checked our Persil non-bio and there are no words to that effect.

So apart from a beneficial increase in cleaning power, there is also limescale protection stated on the box.

B)

Similarly could not find any such wording on our packs of non bio tablets.

Rang Persil customer services and was told that all their products contain limescale protection and water softener, so no need to use any additional product.

The only rider to this information was that the correct amount of dosing should be used taking into account your water area, how soiled is the wash and also if you have a large capacity machine 6/7kg or more you may need to add more product.

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Similarly could not find any such wording on our packs of non bio tablets. Rang Persil customer services and was told that all their products contain limescale protection and water softener, so no need to use any additional product.


Thanks for that Peter. This implies my comment, "I suspect it could be marketing spiel on the new pack" was maybe right. As I've been saying, all washing machine detergent contains ingredients to soften the water and to protect the inside of the washing machine. If they didn't soften the water they couldn't work. The most important thing is to use good quality detergent and use the right amount for your water hardness.

The extra information about using more in larger drums (and of course taking into account the level of soiling) is useful to remember. The main benefit of using something like Calgon is that if you have hard water its supposed to soften the water and therefore allow you to use the recommended detergent levels as if you had soft water. Whether this saves more money in detergent than needs to be spent on the Calgon is something I haven't looked into though. My current suspicion is that it won't but if anyone would like to try and work it out it would be very interesting.

A balanced view on Is Calgon worth using?


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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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