With over 60% of Britain living in hard water areas, the need to descale kettles, coffee machines or replace pipework, boilers and other appliances is a constant problem, because of the build-up of limescale.
So What Causes Hard Water?
Hard water is caused by the high content of dissolved minerals, such as Calcium and Magnesium in the water supply. When the water is heated, the calcium and magnesium ions are separated from the water molecules, these are then attracted to the sides of the kettle or coffee machine, forming the crusty white deposits we know as limescale.
Problems Caused By Hard Water?
Thick layers of limescale around the heating element inside kettles or coffee machines increases the length of time it takes to heat the water and therefore increasing amounts of energy are required to heat the same volume. Thereby,
There are a variety of solutions available and are as follows:
Chemical Descalers – come in a variety of different forms. For use inside kettles in the home, the descalers contain Lactic Acid, and, for commercial purposes Phosphoric Acid is used. Horticultural or agricultural users of water in hard water areas, use Nitric Acid injected directly into the irrigation system.
Water Softeners – are Ion Exchange Resin Devices that contain an organic resin primed with sodium ions and as the water passes through the water softener these are then released in exchange for Calcium and Magnesium ions found in hard water areas. Once all the available sodium ions have been exchanged, the resin is automatically recharged in a salt solution containing the sodium ions; this water can only be used for washing and not for drinking or cooking, due to the high salt content.
Electronic Water Conditioners – can come in the form of wrap around permanent magnets that emit a magnetic field or by wrapping a coil around the cold water feed pipe, which is attached to a box of electronics that emit a range of different frequencies. Both these systems cause the metal ions to remain in suspension and not form deposits on the insides of pipes or appliances
EM Ceramics – This is a simple piece of ceramic that has undergone a special process. The resultant piece of ceramic has a powerful effect on the metal ions within the water, preventing them from forming mineral clusters when heated, and therefore the resultant scale. Also, the EM Ceramic has a descaling effect and is able to affect existing limescale deposits causing them to gradually dissolve away.
The Benefits of Preventing Limescale Formation
- Extends the life of pipework, appliances, boilers etc
- Reduces energy costs
- Reduces amount detergents required
- Improves flavour of tap water (Does not apply to Water Softeners)