What is hard water?
Hard water is labelled ‘hard’ not because there’s any difference in rigidity, but because of its mineral content. During the water cycle – the journey water takes to get to our homes – rain water percolates through rock such as chalk and limestone, and picks up minerals on the way. If those picked up minerals are calcium and magnesium, we speak of hard water.
About 60% of homes in the UK suffer from hard water. These are mainly concentrated in central, eastern and southern England. Though hard water isn’t unhealthy to drink, it causes lime scale deposits, which is why we speak of “suffering” from hard water. It can also tase different, which is why water filters are often used.
What is soft water?
Soft water is water with a low mineral content. For example, rain water is naturally soft. When it seeps through hard rock layers, it remains soft. That’s why some areas of the UK are lucky and have naturally soft water.
Softened water is created by removing the calcium and magnesium ions via a process known as ‘ion-exchange’. This means replacing the abrasive calcium and magnesium with harmless sodium. The total mineral content of softened water doesn’t change, but the abrasiveness does.
Lime scale is the main problem with hard water. There are only two ways to stop having hard water throughout the home – move to a soft water area, or get a softener, which removes the hard water minerals from the water. Some lime scale problems:
Scale is hard on your pocket
- Scale can damage appliances and central heating systems without you ever knowing.
- Every year 1.5mm of scale can build up – seen on taps and surfaces and unseen inside pipes and appliances.
- You could be losing up to 70% in heating efficiency due to scale.
- Hard water can reduce the efficiency and working life of your appliances and service maintenance costs can increase.
Unsightly scum and scale means hard work for you
- Baths, basins, taps, tiles, glassware and crockery carry stains that are difficult to clean no matter how much time and money you spend.
- Soap scum is formed by the combination of hard water and soap.
- Scale blocks showerheads and reduces water flow.
- Scale forms on taps and is difficult to clean.
Hard times for your skin and clothes
- Deposits left behind by hard water causes problems for skin and hair. This is especially so for sufferers of dry skin conditions such as eczema.
- Hard water leaves deposits on skin and can irritate dry skin conditions such as eczema.
- Hard water leaves deposits on hair.
- Scum collects in your washing, making fabrics harsh and rough.
Experience the benefits of soft water
- Appreciate the gentle touch of the rich lather!
- Your skin will feel smoother
- Dry and flaky skin conditions can improve
- Shaving is gentler
- Your hair is shinier and cleaner
- Towels, clothes and all fabrics take on a new fresh softness.
Soft water is gentle on your pocket!
- You’ll need fewer cleaning products
- No need for expensive scale removing products – which is kinder on the environment too!
- Longer working life for your washing machine, dishwasher and central heating system – saving you money on service and maintenance costs.
- Plumbing and appliances are protected.
- Use up to 50% less detergents, soaps and shampoos.
Keep your home beautiful for longer!
- Your bathroom suite and kitchenware stay sparkling and scale free
- No unsightly stains or scum marks on dishes, baths, basins, taps and tiles.
- Cleaning will be easier.
- Gradually, softened water removes scale from water pipes, hot water cylinders and shower heads – you’ll enjoy your shower at its full power once again.
Want to know more about the benefits of soft water in your home? Fill out the form below for a free no-strings-attached home survey!
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Below is a map showing the rate of hardness in England and Wales.