We have some of the cleanest water in the world – but many areas in England, like Fulham, have hard water.
Scum is one of the disadvantages of living in an area where the water supplier sends hard water through your pipes. But it’s not their fault!
Hard water or soft water, it all depends upon where the rain falls. And the type of rock it drains though. Chalks and limestone give you their calcium and magnesium to the water easily – but granite hangs onto its minerals. In granite areas, like Cornwall and much of Scotland, the water remains soft. But in areas of limestone – the water grabs onto the calcium and magnesium and becomes “hard”. Hard water contains a higher amount of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and manganese.
This can lead to some problems, although it is perfectly safe to drink.
You might notice a thin veil of white on your glass, or white spots on your glass shower door
It can be difficult to clean the bath or sink. A whitish grey scum forms and the ring round the bath can become quite hard to remove.
You may struggle to get up a good lather, either for washing your hands for washing clothes.
And then there are more hidden problems like a build-up of residue in pipes and shower heads. This can narrow the pipes and make you appliances work harder. This results in poor shower flow, decreased efficiency and an increase in the cost of heating.
And then there are the little personal things like dry hair, a tendency to skin infections as the pores in the skin may be blocked and the natural oils reduced.
Your plumber can advise you if a water softener would be worth investing in, however these are costly and often impractical for an apartment of small household.
Remove limescale with weak acid
Limescale is hard to remove. However, a weak acidic solution like vinegar can help. Brighten your cutlery by soaking then in hot white vinegar for an hour. You may prefer to use lemon juice to get an effective clean. Just soak some cotton wool and squeeze over the area, then return in an hour and give the area a rub, the residue should come of easily.
Choose your soaps
Some soaps and detergents are more effective in hard water areas than others, and the dishwasher may benefit from a water softening tablet.
Prevention is better than cure!
You may prevent limescale build up if you regularly clean your taps. A quick wipe with water and a micro-fibre cloth will keep them sparkling. Or you can also use an old toothbrush – this can be useful for getting into nooks and crannies.
Regular maintenance checks
Regular boiler checks from your qualified plumber can help to avoid the effects of a build of residue, as well as checking for other problems.
You can check you shower head for limescale and dismantle it and use vinegar to help remove the limescale. There are times when a new shower head is the only option. But, again talk to your local plumber for the best advice.
If you live in a soft water area you will not see white deposits on your glasses, cutlery and even your clothes. And you can build up a lot of lather very easily.
There might be problems for swimming pools because the soft water is resistant to chlorine. This can case staining of the tiles and grouting which can lead to considerable expense. Sometimes people add minerals to the water to make it a little harder.
Sometimes soft water tastes salty and you might not like the taste of your mineral rich water either. It’s all a matter of taste!
Spas and health centres have built up round hard water areas and we know that the Romans enjoyed the healing, mineral-rich waters of Bath. And fashionable Victorian ladies would visit the spas. And today, although spas have changes in recent years, you can find several spas near Fulham if you want a day’s pampering.
It’s reassuring to know that our water quality is usually excellent, hard water or soft water. You might not specially like the taste and you might get fed up with the limescale – but at least you have safe water to drink on tap.
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