We have all heard of it – but what exactly is hard water?
Or, for that matter, soft water?
Whether your water supply consists of hard or soft water is determined by the geology of the ground that the rain in your area falls upon.
Pure rainwater is naturally soft, but the when it passes through limestone regions, it picks up calcium and magnesium minerals in its path which make the water hard.
The few granite areas of Ireland do not contain the same minerals and so the water remains ‘soft’. However, with the development of water schemes and distribution networks, some parts of the country which have historically been soft water areas, are now beginning to experience hard water.
As hard water is heated (e.g. in washing machines, showers, kettles etc), the Calcium and Magnesium separate out and form a crust on surfaces they come into contact with. This is what we know as limescale.
Limescale can cause damage and expense in the home…
Limescale build-up in heating systems causes a loss in heating efficiency, wasting energy
Showers, washing machines and immersion heaters become damaged and inefficient more quickly
Limescale quickly builds up on taps, sinks and other fittings becoming unsightly and making cleaning difficult
Hard water can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema