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Water- Hard vs Soft

Following on from a recent article in the news this week, we look at the theory behind the north-south divide when it comes to water tastes. It is apparent especially when looking at a map of the UK that most of the south and east suffers from hard water, but it is yet to be determined whether this is actually a blessing or a curse, the results are naturally subjective.

It has been suggested that hard water has more of a taste to it than soft water but it essentially boils down to what you are used to. The majority of people prefer what they have become accustomed to at home whatever this is, with some people in London and the east believing that their water is superior to that in other regions.

Side effects

Hard water does have some negative impacts on household appliances, most of which will go unnoticed. For instance, central heating pipes will become blocked up, dishwashers and washing machines will have a build up of limescale that is not clearly visible during daily use, but will reduce efficiency. You will undoubtedly notice the build up of limescale commonly found in kettles and taps, this should be regularly removed not just because it looks dirty but it is not good for you and makes for a disgusting cup of tea! Ceramic disc taps are more resistant to limescale than ordinary taps as they have discs rather than tap washers inside and need less movement to turn them on or off.


If you are in an area of hard water there are ways of treating the limescale, the quickest and most common method due to its ease, is the use of vinegar or lemon juice to clean off the limescale. These create a chemical process which breaks down the limescale and you don’t have to buy any abrasive cleaning agents, although there are lots to choose from on the market these days.


Rather than cleaning off the limescale when it builds up, it may be better to take the view of prevention is better than cure by installing a water softener or conditioner. These methods of prevention, although they can save money by extending the life expectancy of home appliances, they are relatively expensive with their weekly running costs. These approaches have other pros and cons to consider before making your decision such as the increased sodium content in the water.

If you live in a hard water area it may be a case of experimenting to determine what works best in your home depending on how quickly the limescale builds up and how much of an issue it is- you can always change if you find that something isn’t working.


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