How to Manage Hard Water in the House

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Around 60% of UK homes are prone to limescale. You know the stuff, it’s a white, chalky deposit that generally gathers around sinks, baths, toilet bowls, around the base of taps, and on shower heads. The reason so many homes are affected is because they’re supplied with hard water through the mains.

A quick geography lesson; all rain water is what is considered as ‘soft’. When it falls in areas with hard rock, it remains that way. However, if the rain falls onto soft rock, it picks up certain minerals, including calcium and magnesium, before it reaches our taps. This is what is known as hard water.

The blue sections of the map represent areas where the water supply is contaminated by abrasive minerals. If you live in these areas, not only will you find scale build up in the kitchen and bathroom, but there are a number of other ill-effects of a hard water supply both in terms of aesthetics and on a more serious level.

Hard Water Stains

Scale build-up occurs on water-using appliances, including kettles, coffee machines, water-taps, dishwashers and bathroom fittings.

These stains are notoriously stubborn, and whilst they can be removed with a bit of elbow grease, this can sometimes cause damage to the material underneath.

A good tip for getting rid of this is to use acidic natural substances, such as vinegar and lemon.

Once of the cheapest and easiest methods to tackle scale is to fill a clean spray bottle with white vinegar and spray generously over surfaces. This should then be left to work its magic for around five to ten minutes, before being rubbed off with a soft sponge and wiped clean with a damp cloth to remove any vinegar residue.

Chromed surfaces can also be treated effectively with lemon, as the citric acid will cut through any stains. Cut a lemon in half and rub the fleshy inside of the lemon over affected surfaces.


The oft-bemoaned aesthetic effects of hard water are troublesome enough to deal with. However, the most serious implications are the ones you can’t necessarily see. Limescale build-up in pipes can cause appliances to break prematurely and lead to a significant reduction in energy efficiency, therefore hitting you in the pocket too.

In fact, by getting rid of limescale, it’s estimated you can:

  • Increase the life of toilet flushing units by up to 70%

  • Increase the life of water taps by 40%, and;

  • Prevent clogging and ruin of water heaters

  • Just a 1mm increase in lime scale thickness is estimated to reduce heating efficiency by an average of 6%, and in extreme cases, energy bills can be increased by as much as 25 per cent – that’s around £150 every year in the average British household.

    Whilst it’s relatively easy to get rid of unsightly limescale deposits with a bit of time and effort, preventing the build-up in pipes is a different matter.  Probably the most effective way of doing so is by installing a domestic water softening system to the mains supply. A water softener uses a process known as reverse osmosis to remove the positively-charged (calcium and magnesium) hardness ions before the water reaches the taps.

    By eliminating the presence of hard water in the home, you could save a serious amount of time and effort in the battle against limescale.

    This Guest Blog is written on behalf of EcoWater. EcoWater offers the most advanced, innovative and reliable domestic and commercial water softeners on the market.

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