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While our water is treated to some of the highest standards in the world, the natural state of regional water can still cause some problems for householders. Once rainwater comes in contact with the ground, it will either remain soft or reach a certain level of ‘hardness’, depending on the region. The harder your water supply, the more limescale it will deposit around your home and the more problems you’ll need to deal with. Here’s everything you need to know about hard and soft water, including one simple, long-term solution to your limescale trouble.
13 million households in the UK suffer from the effects of limescale simply because their homes are being served with a hard water supply. This is something that is typically determined by the geology of the region you’re living in as certain types of rock can alter the water you get.
When rainwater falls, it’s naturally soft – it’s only when it comes in contact with the ground that its state can change. Passing through soft rocks, like limestone and chalk, causes rainwater to collect calcium and magnesium minerals. The presence of these compounds mean the water is now ‘hard’ and when heated, those minerals will combine to form limescale.
Water hardness is measured by the number of mineral deposits in your water (parts per million – ppm). A soft water area would have under 60ppm while a very hard water area would register more than 180ppm.
If you want to know exactly how hard the water in your home is, put in your postcode to our postcode hardness finder (above) or book a free home survey with your local Authorised Kinetico Dealer.
Hard Water and Limescale
If you live in a hard water area, ridding your home of limescale can seem like a never-ending battle. But few homeowners actually realise just how these mineral deposits can damage their households, costing them money and wasting their valuable time. Here is everything you need to know about this home invader
What is Limescale
You probably know what limescale looks like after seeing it around your taps or losing a few kettles to that furry substance, but what exactly causes it? Here’s the science bit… Rainwater is naturally soft when it falls from the sky, but once it reaches the ground, it then passes through numerous types of rock like chalk and
Here, it picks up calcium and magnesium minerals, which work together to change the water’s composition. As soon as you heat this now-hard water at home, either in an appliance or through your heating system, those minerals turn into limescale and cling to whatever they can.
How does limescale affect you?
Aside from the endless number of hours you’ll spend cleaning time, homeowners often think these hard water deposits aren’t negatively affecting their households. This is rarely the case.
Not only does hard water cost you money and increase your cleaning time, it can also cause serious damage to your boiler and appliances through limescale. Households in hard water areas report frequent appliance breakdowns, resulting in expensive repairs and even total replacements.
These hard water deposits can even affect your day-to-day life, leaving limescale flakes in your tea and make washing and bathing an unpleasant experience. Not only will shampoos and body washes not work properly, you’ll then be left with a slimy soap scum on your hair and drying residue on your skin.
The only proven way to remove calcium and magnesium from your water
Water softeners use a process called ‘ion exchange’ to remove the calcium and magnesium minerals from your water as it enters your home. These are the minerals that cause limescale and removing them make the water ‘soft’.
How water softeners work
With a water softener, hard water passes through tanks filled with food-grade resin beads as it enters your home. Calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water are attracted to these resin beads. In your softener, ion exchange takes place removing the calcium and magnesium and releasing sodium ions into the water, making it soft.
Water softeners need to clean or regenerate using a salt or ‘brine’ solution to clean away the calcium and magnesium mineral deposits they’ve collected. In single-tank designs, this means your home will be supplied with hard water for a short period of time while the tank cleans itself.
With our twin-tank Premier softener, this is not the case. You’ll get beautiful soft water 24 hours a day. The tanks regenerate at different times, meaning that while one is cleaning itself, the other can continue to supply your home with softened water. This way, your boiler and appliances are constantly protected and you can have a luxurious bath or shower whenever you want.
Softened water has a slightly higher amount of sodium than hard water does; however, there is actually more sodium in a glass of milk than in a glass of softened water.
The only time we advise caution is when making up formula for small babies or if you are on a prescribed low sodium diet. In these cases, we’d advise you to consult your doctor first; otherwise, it’s down to personal.
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