The majority of the Western World is affected by hard water, that is water that contains traces of magnesium and calcium ions. Hard water is created when rainfall comes into contact with the ground and picks up traces of limestone and chalk. You can find out more about how hard water is created by reading through our guide to water softening. Though hard water isn’t dangerous it can cause irreversible damage to your home in a number of different ways. These problems can be remedied by installing a water softener
Due to the water’s composition, it can be difficult to create an effective lather because the magnesium and calcium ions prohibit the chemical reaction. Indeed they prohibit the reaction with most other chemicals. The result is less bubbles, a less effective wash and the creation of scale and scum, a filmy substance that will form in the water.
In terms of washing, hard water can affect the durability of your clothing, not to mention kitchen utensils and the paintwork on your car. You will feel the effects on a long term basis, clothes will feel drier and less soft, their colours will appear duller. Plates, glasses and dishes will lose their shine and also appear dull.
Scale and scum has far reaching problems elsewhere in the home as well, particularly your plumbing and heating systems. Hard water will always leave magnesium and calcium deposits around your plumbing system or wherever water flows and gathers in the home. This can cause discolouring and leave unsightly marks at the bottom of your sink or bathtub. It may lead to a white substance collecting around your shower and tap heads. Once there it can be difficult to move.
Most importantly. It is thought that the average household that is supplied with hard water will gain a growth of 1.6mm of scale within its pipes. This is enough to cause a loss of 12% in heating efficiency, which will raise the price of your your heating bill. Furthermore, hard water is also one of the main factors that causes boiler failure. The average boiler has a life expectancy of at least 15 years but unchecked scale and scum deposits will reduce that to between 7-9 years.
The damaging effects of hard water has led many homeowners to install a water softener, which removes the magnesium and calcium ions making your water healthier for your plumbing and heating systems as well as more effective for washing.