You will no doubt have heard people talking about having hard water and perhaps wondered what on earth they mean! How can water be hard? Unfortunately hard water is a daily problem for many people in the UK, causing problems around their homes.

The difference between soft water and hard water is purely a matter of Geography, although issues experienced due to hard water can be resolved by using a water softener product so it needn’t be such a problem to householders.

What exactly is hard water?  

The scale of softness or hardness of your water is down to how much calcium and magnesium ends up in the water supply. There is a national scale laid down which measures these levels to determine if areas are hard water or not.

The levels depend on the kind of soil and rock which is natural to the area, which is why the water hardness levels vary so much across the country. As water starts its journey underground, it passes through the soil and rock before it ends up coming out of the tap and this is where it picks up the minerals.

The higher the level of minerals absorbed by the water on its journey, the harder it will be when it arrives into your home. Water which passes through granite or slate tends to be softer but it all depends on the geography. However, water softeners can help improve the water levels in your home.

How do I know if my water is soft or hard?

If you have soft water then you won’t experience any problems, so that’s fine, however, if you have hard water there are a few signs you will notice around your house to indicate this:

  • Lime scale in your kettle
  • Lime scale and scum around your taps and sink
  • Higher energy bills
  • Blocked pipes around your house

Is hard water bad for me?

No, all water has to meet certain regulations to make it safe to drink, however, hard water can make it more difficult to rinse off shampoo and soap and this can cause some people to experience skin irritations and conditions like dandruff due to the residue left behind on the skin.

Do I live in a hard or soft water area?

According to various reports and studies, the worst area for water hardness in the UK is along the M4 corridor, including London, Bath, Reading, Bristol and Swindon. The other worst offending counties include Kent, Berkshire, Surrey and Hertfordshire.

The main differences between soft and hard water is that hard water can cause problems around your home including lime scale build up, blocked pipes and problems with household appliances not working properly. It can also cause skin irritation due to difficulties rinsing off soap and shampoo. The good news is that water softener products and systems can be used in homes with hard water, to resolve all of these annoying problems quickly and easily.