Is hard water bad?

There are a number of environmental, social and economic considerations to be taken into account when determining whether hard water is bad or not.

The benefits of hard water include:
• Improved taste of water
• Helps reduce heart disease
• Good for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth.

However, the drawbacks are:
• More soap is needed to produce lather so it can become more expensive
• The scum produced by hard water can spoil the appearance of kitchen appliances and bathroom suites
• The efficiency of kettles and heating systems can be reduced if limescale coats the insides of pipes and boilers – this can increase running costs and can cause a breakdown if a blockage occurs.

What causes hard water? Here’s the science:

Rainwater naturally contains carbonic acid, which is formed by the reaction between water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

When it rains, the water falls over rocks and passes through layers of rock in the ground. Compounds from these rocks then dissolve into the water, and the hardness of the water will depend on which region in the UK this happens, as the rocks vary throughout.

Hard water contains dissolved compounds, usually calcium or magnesium, and carbonic acid in the rainwater reacts with this to produce soluble calcium hydrogencarbonate.

carbonic acid + calcium carbonate = calcium hydrogencarbonate

It’s the presence of calcium ions and magnesium ions in the water that makes it hard. Whilst soft water will readily form lather with soap, it’s more difficult to achieve with hard water, so more soap is needed.

So is hard water bad? Yes and no. It is not unhealthy for you to consume and bath in, but it can cause issues to your plumbing.

To see if your area has hard water click here.

For questions about potential problems to your plumbing caused by hard water in Chelsea call 020 7350 2511 or click here.

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