Hard Water

 

Dear John

You might not be able to answer this question, it’s not really a building question but do you know of a way in which I can stop the build up of lime scale in my toilet, on taps, shower heads and not to mention the kettle - I seem to spend half my time trying to remove it.

Thanks

Janet T. Orba


The reason that we all get a build up of lime scale in the kettle etc. is because we live in a hard water area as do 60% of the British population. The build up of lime scale is not solely confined to the bathroom or the kettle but more importantly your hot water boiler, the central heating boiler and the washing machine, where the inner pipes and elements will be slowly furring up. This usually means buying a new boiler or washing machine etc. which is obviously very expensive. There are a couple ways of dealing with lime scale deposits caused by hard water, firstly the older conventional method by an ion exchange water softener. This is the most common but also the most expensive option, units cost around 1000 euro’s to buy plus installation charges. These devices are fairly large and must be plumbed into your mains water supply, they consume large quantities of salt in order to make them function. The water treated by these systems is truly softened but sodium from the salt replaces the calcium in your water. This means that treated water has substantially raised sodium levels. Experts advise us that this water is not really suitable for drinking, so an alternative source of drinking water should be used.


 The second, more modern, but lesser known method of treatment is the electronic or magnetic water descaler. Earlier magnetic devices were simply powerful magnets placed around the incoming water mains, but recently there is a more advanced and effective device called the electronic water descaler. This uses the same principle as basic magnets but is much more effective. The device operates by wrapping one or two coils of wire around the incoming water main to pass a magnetic field through the water. The effect of this is to cause the calcium in the water to stay in solution and so inhibit it from adhering to taps, boilers, and kettles etc. There are several types on the market with some being more effective than others. When choosing a devise it is better to go for the more expensive two coil system, which increases the time for which the water is exposed to the magnetic waveform. These devises are both economic to buy and run, the treated water has an unaltered chemical composition and so it is as safe to drink as normal tap water. No dangerous chemicals or cleaners are washed into your waste water which is also quite important as many of us use septic tanks for our waste water. The build up of lime scale is radically reduced, not only on visible surfaces like taps and kettles, but also in places where lime scale damage cannot be seen, as previously mentioned, the heating elements of washing machines; boilers etc. where any excess of lime scale will most certainly result in increased water heating costs and premature failure of the appliance. These devices should be located on the incoming cold water main, usually under the sink and for better results should be fixed onto a section of 15mm copper pipe and as the device is operated by mains electricity there should also be a mains socket nearby.
I have researched various devices on the market both in England and America but have not found any available in Spain. These devices start from around £140 to buy and cost around 4p a week to run.

John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

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