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Home » Water » Do you know what type of water you have at home?

Tony Jones

General Manager, Harvey Water Softeners (part of the Culligan group)

For many people living in the UK, water quality is often left to the Government and water suppliers to manage. However, the last year has shown us that the quality of our drinking water shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The UK is at a pivotal point with regard to how it upholds water quality standards, in the face of several reports this year of either chemicals or impurities penetrating the water supply chain.

For those who are especially concerned about the quality of their drinking water, installing a water purifier or using a water filter jug can stop a multitude of impurities infiltrating their water supply – including pesticides, minerals, salts, ions, plastic particulates and harmful metals like lead and mercury.

However, one of the hidden issues related to water quality in the UK is its ‘hardness’. Despite being completely harmless to drink, hard water is a major issue for the overall functioning of your home and central heating system, and currently impacts 13 million households across the UK.

How well do you know your water?

Awareness is low amongst the population over the impact of hard water on the home. Indeed, a report from talkhealth published last year found that 55% of the UK population are unaware of the type of water they have in their home.

Last year, we worked with the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers (CIPHE), to get some clarity on the severity of the issue. The overwhelming majority (90%) of the professionals we surveyed expressed that the impact of hard water should be taken seriously as a ‘threat to the overall health of your home’.

The resulting impact of hard water is limescale which, when hard water is heated, is left behind as solid residue. We worked out that, over the course of a year alone, these solid lumps of calcium and magnesium can build up in your pipes to accumulate over 1.5mm of limescale. This may not sound like much, but for the average family of four living in a hard water area, it can generate up to 70kg of limescale every year. For the 13 million homes across the UK in a hard water area, this causes blockages in pipework, affecting boilers and increasing energy bills in the process.

Despite being completely harmless to drink, hard water is a major issue for the overall functioning of your home and central heating system.

What is the solution?

One way of eliminating limescale is to install a water softener in the home. A water softener works by removing the magnesium and calcium present in hard water through a process of ion exchange.

The twin-cylinders inside a Harvey Water Softener are filled with millions of microscopic resin beads. Each bead has a negative charge, while calcium and magnesium carry positive charges in water. As the calcium and magnesium pass through the resin beads, they are attracted to one another, before moving through the regeneration process, which uses sodium to detach the mineral build up from the resin – leaving you with softened water.

With the rapid development of technology in the sector, today’s water softeners are also eco-conscious in design and operate on little to no electricity. For example, the Harvey Water Softeners Smart HarveyArc is non-electric and uses 38% less plastic than previous models, and 62% of the plastic used to make it is recycled plastic.

More to research in hard water

When it comes to water, there is much we still don’t quite know. For instance, some research suggests that hard water can worsen skin conditions, like eczema, while other research has highlighted that hard water could affect the health of your hair.

What we do know, however, is that hard or unfiltered water has the potential to negatively impact a number of factors relative to both your personal wellbeing and the efficiency of your home.

Why not use this year’s World Water Day to see how you could improve the quality of water within your home and reap the benefits of softer skin and hair, and lower bills.

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