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Hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals, predominantly calcium & magnesium. The higher the mineral content, the harder the water. Rainwater is naturally soft, but as it soaks into the ground and passes slowly through the soil and rocks beneath, it dissolves soluble minerals in the rocks increasing the water’s hardness. Hard water leads to the formation of limescale throughout pipes, heating equipment and appliances. In turn, limescale build-up can lead to:
Significantly increased energy consumption
Water related appliances and equipment failing prematurely
Increased water consumption
Increased chemical and detergent use
Reduction in water pressure
Growth of biofilm, supporting bacterial growth in your water system
How do I know if my water is Hard or Soft?
It is also possible to check if you are in an area prone to hard water by entering your details into a postcode checker, like the one on this page. Checkers like this are not always completely accurate though. You may live in a soft water area but have your water supplied from a borehole for example. The most accurate measure is to have a water sample analysed by a lab to measure the total dissolved solids (TDS).
We provide complimentary water analysis kits, please complete the contact form below to get yours.
Common Solutions for Hard Water Problems
The most common way to soften water is through an ion exchange water softener. The vast majority of water softening equipment today exchanges minerals for sodium. While effective, this process has a number of drawbacks:
They can be very expensive as the more water you use the bigger they need to be.
You will have to either top up regularly with salt or replace the resin. Failure to do this makes the unit totally ineffective.
While there are many companies responsibly recycling the wear and tear parts of these softeners, there is still a negative environmental impact.
Salt softeners are being banned in certain areas because of the damage that is being done to water systems as a result of the increased sodium levels.
Ion exchange units do not remove microorganisms like bacteria from the feed water and sometimes aid bacterial growth, as the resin beds can accumulate organic matter (biofilm) which serve as a nutrient to the bacteria.