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Tips for solving hard water and limescale problems

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Tips for Solving Hard Water and
Limescale Problems

What is Limescale?

Limescale is the tough white crust you might find in your kettle or on taps,
a residue left behind when hard water evaporates. Hard water contains more
minerals than soft water. Soft water contains few impurities, usually
because it runs through granite or slate but hard water runs through chalk
or limestone, picking up the minerals such as calcium or magnesium

Hard water, Hand washing under running waterWhen the water is used in your
home, it can deposit limescale.

Hard water can reduce the
effectiveness of some detergents but the biggest problem with hard
water is that the limescale can clog up pipes, causing costly
damages to homeowners and businesses.

Limescale also can coat the heating
elements of your boiler and appliances, reducing their efficiency
resulting in higher utility bills. 

Where is Hard Water Found?

60% of homes in Great Britain are in hard water areas as the land is
composed of mostly limestone and chalk. London, Brighton, Southampton,
Bristol, and Lincoln are regions most affected by hard water, with
Manchester and Birmingham also affected by moderately hard water. Deposits
on your dishes and silver, or porcelain fixtures can indicate a hard water
problem. You can also have your water professionally tested by your
municipal water department. 

How to Test for Hard Water?

You can do a simple test to see if you may have hard
water in your home by doing the following test with liquid dish washing

? Find a clean empty plastic bottle with a cap and remove the

? Fill the bottle about halfway with water (8-10 ounces);

? Add 10 drops of dish washing liquid;

? Put the cap back on and shake well;

? If the soapy solution foams up quickly you are okay and the
water isn’t hard;

? If it does not foam up but instead creates a milk-curd-like or
soapy film on the water surface then the water is likely hard.

If you want a definitive answer then you
can send a water sample out for testing to a certified water-testing

How can I treat my limescale and
hard water deposits?

1) Clean with malt vinegar or lemon juice. The acid
will dissolve the limescale. However, this is really only practical for
smaller items such as your dishes, silver, or tap fixtures and is only a
temporary solution to the problem. 

2) Some people create a cleaning paste for stubborn
stains, consisting of 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of undiluted white
vinegar. Leave the paste on for half an hour and scrub away with nylon
bristles and wipe clean with a towel. Again, this is only a short-term

3) For your washing machine or dishwasher, use a cup
of vinegar or lemon juice in place of your regular detergent and run a full
cycle. For a coffee maker or kettle, fill the kettle a quarter full with
vinegar or lemon juice and leave for an hour. Then top up the kettle with
water and boil it. Rinse the kettle or coffee machine thoroughly to avoid
leaving the sour taste behind! 

4) Consider purchasing an
electronic water softener for a more permanent solution to the
problem of hard water and limescale.

There are many different electronic water
conditioners available, such as

. These have been widely used since 1989 and are
popular with homeowners because no harsh chemicals are used to
soften the water. They work by treating water with low-level
magnetic field and therefore are environmentally friendly and won’t
ruin your water for drinking. They can reduce energy bills and
extend the life of your appliances and some promise that if the
device doesn’t fix your hard water and limescale problems, you get
your money back!

scalewatcher electronic water softener