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Water Hardness Within the UK

What is water hardness
Water hardness is the amount of mineral content in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, both calcium and magnesium. It happens when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk You may have felt the effects of hard water the last time you washed your hands. Depending on the hardness of your water, after using soap to wash you may have felt like there was a residue left on your hands. In hard water, soap reacts with the calcium to form “soap scum”. When using hard water more soap is needed to get things clean, be it your hands, hair, or when washing up. Water hardness also causes lime scale on Elements in boilers or on taps & showers etc.

What causes hardness of water?
When rainwater falls, it’s naturally soft – it’s only when it comes in contact with the ground that it can change into hard water. Passing through soft rocks, like limestone and chalk, causes rainwater to collect calcium and magnesium minerals. The presence of these compounds mean the water is now ‘hard’ and when heated, those minerals will combine to form lime scale. This is something that is typically determined by the region you’re living in as certain types of rock can alter the hardness of the water you get. Over 13 million households in the UK suffer from the effects of lime scale simply because their homes are being served with a hard water supply.

How is Hard Water Measured
Water hardness can be measured in 3 different ways. Grains per gallon(GPG), milligrams per litre (MPL) and parts per million(PPM). Our map measures PPM. Water is only considered as “hard” if the mineral content is measured at 200PPM. If it is below 100PPM it is classed as soft water. Anything in between is moderately hard or medium.

Preventing the effects of water hardness?
Water hardness can vastly reduce the efficiency of a heating system. 1/16th of an inch deposit scale can reduce the efficiency of your boiler by up to 15%. The reason for this is lime scale conducts heat 400 times less efficient than the copper piping. This build up of lime scale will also reduce the life span of the boiler and your heating system. Preventing this corrosion is as simple as buying a good inhibitor and an electrolytic scale reducer. These are available from most plumbing shops.

Uk Water Hardness Map

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