What Is Hard Water And How Does It Affect Us?


Water is water, right? Well, not exactly! You see, some water is harder than others, and while you might not notice a difference in the taste or smell, hard water can have a noticeably different effect on the body.

According to makers of an electronic water conditioner, ScaleGuard, the cities with the hardest water in the UK are Bath, Bristol, Guildford, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Slough, Swindon and Walton-on-Thames.

In fact, the majority of the south and east of the country has hard water, so if you live in either of these areas then chances are your supply is affected.

Negative Effects Of Hard Water

But what exactly is hard water and does it have any negative effects?

Hard water is the result of high concentrations of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, which get into the water as it makes its way through the earth.

These minerals can have several undesirable effects. For starters, the high concentration found in hard water can have adverse effects on our skin.

When hard water comes into contact with the skin, it can leave behind a residue known as soap scum. This residue can clog pores, leading to irritation and potentially exacerbating conditions such as eczema or acne. Additionally, the minerals in hard water can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance, causing dryness and irritation.

Over time, prolonged exposure to hard water may contribute to skin issues such as itchiness, redness and just general discomfort. Therefore, while calcium and magnesium are beneficial when consumed internally, their effects on the skin can be less so.

As reported by the Independent, dermatologist Dr Yulia Krasnaya from Evolution Aesthetics Clinic said that “hard water can leave several signs on your skin, indicating potential damage. One common sign is dryness or tightness after washing, as hard water can strip away natural oils, leaving the skin feeling parched.

“You may notice a dull or lacklustre complexion, as mineral deposits from hard water can build up on the skin’s surface, hindering its natural radiance.”

As well as harming the skin, hard water isn’t exactly great for the hair either. In the same Independent report, Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist and brand president at Philip Kingsley, explains that “hard water minerals can build up on the hair shaft, and so living in or travelling to a hard water area can impact how your strands look, feel and behave.

“Many people notice their hair is dryer when they shampoo with hard water, that it frizzes more easily, lacks shine and that not as much lather is created. It can also affect the colour of your hair, especially if you have highlighted or bleached strands,” she explains. If you have noticed any of these characteristics in your hair, it’s likely hard water is the culprit.

But the bad news doesn’t end there. As well as harming the skin and hair, hard water can also have adverse effects on your home. In addition to leaving limescale deposits on taps and appliances, hard water can also affect the performance and lifespan of plumbing systems and water heaters.

How To Treat Hard Water

So now we know the negative effects hard water can have, let’s take a look at some of the ways it can be softened:

Water Softeners

These devices soften hard water by removing the excess minerals using ion exchange technology to swap out calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ions.

Water Conditioners

Like water softeners, water conditioners alter the composition of hard water. Conditioners don’t remove minerals like softeners do but instead, change their structure to make the water more forgiving for you and your appliances

Chemical Treatments

For bathing, you can add certain chemical treatments to your water. These include products like water-softening salts or phosphate-based compounds which you can add to your water to make it softer.

Shower Filters

If your skin and hair are your main concern then you can try installing a shower filter with a built-in water softening or filtration system. These filters trap minerals and other impurities, ensuring that you’re showering in softer water.

Regular Cleaning

For appliances, regular maintenance and cleaning can make a world of difference by preventing the buildup of limescale. Using descaling agents or homemade solutions can aid in keeping things squeaky clean and prolong the lifespan of appliances.

Compare Water

While hard water may be a concern, this is by no means the least of your worries. As a business owner, as well as getting good-quality water, you’ll also want to know you’re partnering with the right supplier.

You can do this if you compare business water suppliers with a broker like ourselves. There are many different suppliers on the market and each of them offers something slightly different.

While some offer the best prices on water rates, others may have more of an environmental focus. So if you’re looking to take your business to a greener water supplier, we can help you find the right company.

As a broker, we’ll start by discussing your needs and preferences, before using that information to source a number of options. We’ll offer detailed information on these different suppliers, tariffs and pricing structures, so you’ll have all the information you need to make your choice.

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