This post was last updated on October 17th, 2022 at 09:58 am
Hard water is not a problem in itself, the high limescale and chalk minerals present in hard water can create a myriad of problems in your home. Worryingly, many problems caused by hard water will go unnoticeable until it’s too late. From insulating heating pipes to hindering the efficiency of your appliances, we take a look at 5 hard water signs you should be on the lookout for.
1. Scale stains around water outlets
The most visible sign of hard water you may have noticed already is the scale stains in the bathroom and kitchen. These stains can appear where there’s a water outlet, such as the tap, shower head, or toilet.
A horrible and unsightly guest in anyone’s home, scale stains will require a lot of elbow grease to get rid of them. Even the water stains left on your tiles or shower screens are attributed to hard water. Darker coloured stains, such as in your toilet basin, could also be linked to iron that has eroded from your piping.
While using white vinegar or baking soda may be a solution to removing any unsightly scale stains, it’s only a short-term solution that fails to tackle the underlying issue. If your water outlets continue to supply hard water, the scale strikes back. In the end, you could be spending more on cleaning products than necessary
2. Dry and irritable skin and scalp
If you’ve experienced dry or irritable skin or a dry and itchy scalp, you may be experiencing another problem associated with hard water. If you experience red and irritable skin, a dry and itchy scalp, dry or rough hair, or dandruff, you could be experiencing the effects of hard water.
Hard water minerals are bad reactants with soap, leaving chemicals and soap scum residues on your skin. These chemicals and soap scum form a layer over your skin, which blocks pores and is difficult to wash off.
As pores get blocked, natural oils that help to keep your skin moisturised are disrupted. The same effect also happens with our scalp, leading to dry, faded, or brittle hair. Hard water can also reduce the elasticity of your hair making it feel rough.
When our skin is not sufficiently moisturised, it becomes dry, irritable, and sore. Blocked pores can also lead to spots and skin blemishes too due to the disruption of the skin’s acidity levels. Areas that have hard water supplies have been linked to worse conditions of eczema too.
3. Difficulty lathering
Another hard water sign to look out for is if you struggle to obtain a soap lather. Hard water makes it much harder to get a soap lather, whether it be hand soap, washing detergent, or washing up liquid. Unlike soft water that enables a good lather with soap, you’ll be needing to use a lot more soap to achieve the same results with hard water.
Because the hard water minerals are bad reactants with soap, an insoluble soap scum forms as a result between the calcium, magnesium and the fatty acids found in soap.
This means when you are washing your hands or washing yourself in the shower, you’ll be needing to use much more soap to create a lather. Because of this layer that forms on your skin, you may not be feeling as clean as you’d expect either. It will also mean that you’ll need to use more water to wash the soap residue off.
4. Shorter appliance lifespan
Another hard water sign to look out for is reduced lifespan of your appliances. You may have already noticed scale can build up inside your kettle, but did you know it can also affect your washing machine, dishwasher, and shower?
As scale builds up inside these appliances, they have to work harder to achieve the same output. Over time, the appliances become less efficient as parts start to wear. You could be losing 50% of your appliance’s lifespan due to scale build-ups.
When hard water is heated, the calcium and magnesium minerals present start to solidify. The mineral ions stick to the nearest hard surface, leading to an accumulation of limescale.
It also becomes much harder to remove the scale the longer it’s left. Eventually, you’ll need regular maintenance and repairs carried out or parts replaced. It may even result in you having to replace the appliance altogether.
5. Heating and plumbing problems
One of the unseen hard water signs that you could be experiencing is heating and plumbing problems. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t quite cover this hard water problem as it could be costing you £180 extra every year.
It’s estimated that hard water could be reducing the efficiency of your heating by 12% a year. It’s estimated that a small build-up of scale around 1.6mm could be resulting in a 7% energy input increase by your boiler to achieve the same heating result.
Similar to the effect on your appliances, the minerals found in hard water will solidify and build up around the inside of your pipes. It can also cause iron and steel piping to corrode and rust or cracks and leaks to develop. To give you an idea, here’s how hard water deposits can build up inside your heating pipes:
A build-up of scale inside your pipes caused by hard water can also lead to other plumbing problems, such as a restricted water flow, reduced pressure, or even blockages. Eventually, your pipes and boiler may also need to be replaced as well as your appliances.
How a hard water descaler can help?
If you’ve noticed any of these 5 warning signs, now is the time to act to help you cut down costs and enjoy the benefits attributed to soft water. An electronic water descaler can help you to eliminate these hard water problems.
An electronic water descaler is a small and convenient device that can be used to overcome hard water problems. Unlike a water softener, a water descaler does not affect the chemical composition of water by removing the hard water minerals but instead affects how the ions behave.
An electronic water descaler is fitted to your main water supply using small antennas that are wrapped around the water pipe. These antennae feed a small electromagnetic charge that is harmless to humans but affects the behaviour of the mineral particles.
Water softeners, which work through a process of ion exchange to replace the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium, can leave your water with a salty or chemical taste. Using a water descaler allows you to benefit from the minerals in hard water without the worry of scale build-up and salty water.
A water descaler will also provide the following benefits:
- Reduces water wastage
- Cuts down spending on soap and detergents
- Helps keep your appliances and heating running more efficiently
- Convenient and easy to install requiring little maintenance
- Helps eliminate dry and irritable skin and scalp
- Does not affect the chemical composition of water and is not harmful to the environment
If you are experiencing any of the hard water problems outlined above, making a small investment in a water descaler can provide much greater savings in the long run. With so many great benefits available, a water descaler can help to improve quality of life. Never again should you have to worry about unsightly scale deposits.
Aaron Middleton is a content writer and digital marketer at Dreamscape Design. Alongside regularly writing blog articles for Dreamscape, he develops campaigns and writes articles for several clients, including a garden centre and flooring contractor. Aaron is HubSpot certified in content marketing and SEO.