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Limescale can be extremely hard to get rid of, especially when it’s had lots of time to build up. Around 13 million homes in the UK are in hard water regions and according to a new analysis from Harvey Water Softeners, these households could be generating up to 910,000 tonnes of limescale per year which is equivalent to 17 times the weight of the RMS Titanic.
Although water is typically crystal clear, it contains minerals and chemicals. The concentration of certain minerals is what determines the hardness of your water.
Healthline explains that there are many different ways you can tell if you are living in a hard water area.
• Feeling a film on your hands after washing them – this is caused by the soap reacting with calcium to form soap scum
• Spots – These can appear on glasses and silverware coming out of the dishwasher and are usually deposits of calcium carbonate
• Mineral stains – These show up on clothes when they come out of the washing machine
• Less water pressure in your home – Mineral deposits can form in the pipes which essentially reduces the diameter of the pipe, reducing water flow
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An average household family of four living in these areas could accumulate a staggering 70kg of limescale each year.
During the winter months when the heating is on a lot more, limescale has the opportunity to build up and cause problems.
As the heating element heats the surrounding water particles, the water can leave behind calcium carbonate which is also known as limescale.
If left untouched, this can build up into a thick coating which will prevent the heating element from reaching as much water. In time, your boiler will have to work harder than necessary and is enough to reduce your heating efficiency by 12 percent.
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Estimators suggest that it only takes a build up of 1.66mm of limescale throughout the year to cause the damage.
This can increase your yearly gas costs by more than a staggering £160.
Harvey Water Softeners analysis earlier this year found that installing a water softener could save households almost £200 a year on household bills by making savings on cleaning products like descalers and limescale removers.
These cleaning products will work short term but they won’t fix the problem in the long run.
As well as increasing the efficiency of household appliances and providing huge cost savings for homeowners, soft water also combines more effectively with soap and washing detergents to create a proper lather which can lead to healthier hair and smoother skin.
Soft water also has other benefits including cleaner clothes with no mineral stains and a healthy water pressure in your home.
Water softener systems work by reducing the concentration of minerals from the water. Instead of having higher levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water tends to have higher concentrations of sodium, or salt.
Whilst it may be hard to remove limescale from a boiler, it is fairly easy to prevent the build up in household appliances like a kettle.
It is recommended to descale the interior of a kettle at least every few months and this also applies to appliances like a coffee machine too.
Limescale can be dissolved fairly easy by using white vinegar. The acidity in the vinegar is what makes it a brilliant cleaner and it can be picked up in any supermarket for as little as £1.
Fill the kettle with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and let this soak for around an hour. After, boil the kettle and then turn it off and unplug it from the power socket.
Let the water and vinegar mix sit for a further 15 minutes before emptying. Make sure to rinse the kettle thoroughly before using to make sure there is no trace of vinegar remaining.
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