Approximately 60% of the UK population live in hard water areas; therefore Limescale is affecting a large part of the British population. Not only does it look particularly unpleasant it can also cause issues with many household appliances containing heating elements such as kettles and coffee machines and in some cases even your washing machine and dishwasher. However, it is not always a subject that is discussed, so here are a few answers to clear up any queries you might have regarding Limescale.
What is Limescale?
Limescale is an off-white chalky substance which comprises bicarbonate and calcium. It builds up over time and is the remnants of hard water. It is formed due to the transfer of minerals from limewater or chalk to water.
What are the effects of Limescale?
The effects of Limescale include:
• Staining of surfaces
• Clogged pipes
• Skin irritation
• Decreased energy efficiency of household appliances because of heating elements being coated in Limescale
If Limescale is allowed to build up over time, it can hinder the proper functioning of appliances leading to extra costs to repair them or buy new items.
How can Limescale be prevented and removed?
There are several options available ranging from low cost day to day measures to more complex long term remedies. Below are a few popular methods:
Many believe in the power of the ‘home remedy’ to prevent the build-up of Limescale, through the use of lemon or vinegar. However, these remedies only work on a small scale and take much longer to generate results. They also tend to leave a rather unpleasant residue that affects that taste of the water afterwards.
Water softeners are devices that are installed alongside the mains water supply and treat the hard water as it passes through the device. They are expensive and treat the water before you have even used it. This means that you get the benefits of soft water, which include more lather in the shower and less Limescale in your pipes. Turning hard water into soft water may seem like the ideal solution, however, the water in hard water areas regularly wins awards as it contains a natural combination of calcium and magnesium that give it a very distinctive taste. Water softeners are an expensive way of removing these minerals and you may find it affects the taste as well.
There are many Descalers available from the high street and online that can be used to specifically target Limescale. Whilst they all help remove Limescale, the level of protection against its reappearance differs from product to product so it is worth doing your homework. Most of them will also eliminate the unpleasant smells that Limescale may create within your appliances but be careful as some just replace these smells with unpleasant odours of their own.