What is hard water?

Hard water is water that contains a high mineral content, mainly calcium and magnesium. These minerals are absorbed when water percolates (or filters) through deposits of limestone and chalk. The hardness of the water can vary depending on the type of rocks in your area. Water that contains a small amount of minerals in is referred to as soft water.

How can I tell if I have hard water?

The below diagram gives a basic overview of the hardness levels of water in England. Your local water provider may also provide information regarding the quality of your water as well. For example, you can check out the Thames Water website if you live in London or some surrounding counties. You can also do your own experiment using hard water test kits which are found on Amazon.

Map of water softness in England and Wales. The softest water is found in Cumbria, west Wales and Cornwall. The south and east of England have the hardest

Is hard water harmful to humans? 

The World Health Organisation has said there is no convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans. It can become an irritant for some people as more soap/shampoo (hence, more chemicals) is needed to form a lather and soap residue is harder to wash away.

There are some benefits though – the contained minerals contribute to the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. Also, some people prefer the taste of hard water.

So why is hard water a problem?

There are a few issues with hard water, some of which make it a nuisance to deal with.

  • Hard water causes mineral buildup (or limescale) when heated, which can reduce the efficiency of heating systems and water pipes.
  • More soap/detergent is needed to produce a lather and the minerals within the water can react to produce scum. The excess soap can be hard to wash off and can irritate skin (especially if you have existing skin conditions).
  • An unsightly film and scale can accumulate on electrical appliances and on bath/kitchen fixtures
  • The harsh minerals can reduce the lifespan of clothes

And the main one….

  • It’s expensive to deal with! Energy bills go up as appliances have to work harder to generate heat (limescale is a poor conductor), more money is spent on soaps/detergents and you have to replace your clothes more frequently.

How can I deal with hard water?

If you find yourself living in a hard water area, there are a few things you can do to combat it (with varying levels of effectiveness and cost). This website is designed to be a guide for all products that help with hard water and water filtration.

Any other questions? 

Feel free to contact me using the comment box below