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How Hard Water Can Affect Your Drains

If you have ‘hard water’ where you live or work then you’ve probably noticed that the shine has gone from your taps and a thick layer of limescale has replaced it. Your clothes might not feel quite right on your skin and you may have a lingering, unclean feeling after showering – this is why Jet Rod is here to help. We want to explain to you how hard water can affect your drain’s internals and even your body, so you can make headway with the process of water treatment.

What is ‘hard’ water?

It’s known that many places including London, have the misfortune of ‘hard’ water. Hard water is caused when rain falls and comes into contact with a certain type of rock, usually limestone. As the water falls and is collected into a reservoir, the rainwater that runs off the sides of rocks and mountains pick up calcium and magnesium compounds from these mineral rich rocks on the way. This is where the name ‘hard water’ comes from.

How Hard Water Can Affect Your Drains

Why is it a problem?

Not only can hard water be unpleasant for everyday activities such as washing up (as soap will not lather), it can also irritate those with sensitive skin and can worsen skin problems such as eczema.  

When hard water comes into contact with a number of things it generally builds up and leaves a thick residue. As it hardens it can cover taps, shower heads, pipes – you name it! Not only can this make your home look unsightly, it can also need more than just elbow grease to get rid of. A buildup of limescale can occur in all appliances, including washing machines, dishwashers and kettles, can make for a less-efficient workplace and home with the misfortune of increased bills, as your appliances will be working overtime.

Small-scale solutions

There are items that can be found around most households, such as vinegar and lemon juice, that can be used to help the immediate issues such as taps and kettles. These products dissolve the blemishes left on the surfaces, but unfortunately they’re not strong enough to remove the buildup in your boiler or the internal pipes for that matter.

Temporary hardness

Limescale is made when calcium carbonate mixes with water and carbon dioxide to create calcium hydrogencarbonate. This is the chemical reaction that happens when hard water builds around appliances. However, the good thing about temporary hardness is that it can be removed with boiling water, as it breaks down the calcium hydrogencarbonate.

Permanent hardness

This can’t be removed with boiling water, it will require a more invasive removal process.

How to prevent buildup of scale

There are a number of ways you can prevent the effects of hard water but the two best techniques are water softening and water conditioning.

  • Water softening is where the calcium is replaced with sodium.

How it works: when water passes through a system, it will be filtered through an ion exchange column, full of small beads of resin. These beads are covered in charged sodium that water will pick up, removing the majority of calcium and magnesium minerals as it passes through. To ensure that water softening works at its optimal capacity the beads must be cleansed with salt water to wash away the buildup of calcium and magnesium, and then replaced with sodium.

  • Water conditioning is a little device that is placed within the pipes.

How it works: the device contains a magnetic field or a radio field and this gathers impurities carried in water. The impurities clump together and this stops them from sticking to the sides of the pipes as they will float on top of the water when left to stand. These floating minerals can then be removed more easily.

Jet Rod has been established since 1988. We are proud to offer services across Warrington, Macclesfield, Stockport and Crewe including: drain cleaning and unblocking, drain repairs, sink unblocking, septic tank installations and repairs, CCTV drain surveys for commercial premises and insurance work. If you need advice regarding hard water in your area and require water treatment, give us a call today – we’d be happy to help.

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