What’s limescale really doing to your home?
Limescale is the bane of many people’s lives, with the hard, white deposits wreaking havoc in the average home. If your home is affected, you’ll find build-ups in your kettle, dishwasher and washing machine, and on taps and showerheads.
As well as being unsightly, limescale causes a long list of problems, but you don’t have to suffer limescale build-ups in silence! In this blog post, we reveal how limescale affects your home and the appliances within, and provide our top tips for reducing build-ups.
What exactly is limescale?
Limescale is a hard, chalky substance that causes a familiar problem in homes up and down the country. It’s made up of calcium and magnesium, two minerals that are found in hard water. The harder the water, the higher the mineral content and the more susceptible your home will be to limescale formation.
Once this hard water evaporates, it’s the limescale that’s left behind, and as it doesn’t dissolve in water, it’s a tough substance to remove.
The water deposits limescale in thick layers to any surface that it can successfully bond to. Kettles, boilers and other heating elements are particularly prone to forming scale. You’ll also notice limescale externally on taps, showerheads and even in your toilet bowl, bath and basins.
Is limescale harmful to health?
As the minerals and ions that make up limescale are found widely in hard water, limescale is not considered harmful to health.
In the correct quantities, hard water can be used to provide the calcium and magnesium that your body needs. It can however affect the body in many different ways, particularly if your skin or hair is regularly exposed to limescale.
Dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross explains more about the effects of limescale on the skin and hair:
“The problem with hard water is that its high mineral content prevents it from properly reacting with soap and, instead of triggering a lather, it creates a soapy layer on the skin. This not only clogs pores, but also irritates the skin, making it itchy, flaky and dry. These impurities in water make it difficult for soap and shampoo to wash off, leading to dryness of the skin and scalp, which directly irritate skin and cause redness and rosacea.”
How does it affect the home?
The most notable and negative effects of limescale build-ups are within the home. If left untreated, limescale can affect every part of your home and the appliances within.
It can obstruct and oxidise the pipework that services your home, leave unsightly traces of limescale on tapware and other fixtures, and reduce the efficiency of your washing machine and dishwasher leaving the goods within stained and grimy.
Limescale build-ups can shorten the lifespan of certain appliances dramatically. It can completely block a showerhead in a matter of months and block tap faucets in days. Expensive appliances that are integral to every home, such as kettles, washing machines and dishwashers, are also significantly affected.
As well as reducing the lifespan of these appliances, they’ll take longer to heat up, consume more energy and even burn out if they’re covered in limescale deposits.
You’ll use more detergent in your washing machine and dishwasher too, which means you’ll spend more money at the checkout. The hot drinks made with your kettle may also taste different and limescale residue will be left behind in cups.
Can a limescale problem be solved?
Acting sooner rather than later is the key to solving limescale issues, and preventing them from causing long term damage to your appliances and wider home.
Descaling your appliances regularly will keep deposits to a minimum, but there’s one change you can make to prevent limescale forming in the first place.
Installing a water softener within your home will soften the hard water that causes limescale to form. There are more reasons to switch to softer water. Softened water tastes better, is kinder to the skin and hair, and improves efficiency at home.
For more tips for reducing limescale deposits within your home, read our essential guide to preventing limescale build-ups.
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