What is the best way to minimise the effect of living in a hard water area?

(18 Posts)
HeyMacWey Mon 28-Nov-16 11:57:36

Have just had to replace the heating element in my washing machine due to it being furred up with limescale from living in a hard water area.

What's the best way to reduce limescale build up? Monthly descaling? Calgon?

I had been adding soda crystals my washing powder but it's obviously not working well enough.

juneau Mon 28-Nov-16 12:01:37

Fit a water softener to your cold water system. A plumber can do it for you. We also live in a hard water area and it's been a revelation. No more bloody limescale all over everything furring up the taps, staining the baths and sinks.

HeyMacWey Mon 28-Nov-16 12:29:38

Are they bulky? Can they be fitted if you've got a combi boiler set up?

scaryteacher Tue 29-Nov-16 12:57:24

I use an anti calc tablet in my machine for every wash, and so far it's been OK, and we are in Belgium, where the water is off the chart hard, even with a water softener.

mrsmortis Tue 29-Nov-16 15:46:36

Having lived on chalk while growing up: Before you start adding things to your wash / descaling your kettle weekly / etc. work out the cost over however many uses they get and compare with the cost of replacing your machine/kettle/whatever it is... My mum worked out once that it was cheaper just to put a bit of money aside each month and replace as needed than to use calgon/etc. It might not still be the case, but it's worth thinking about.

TeaStory Tue 29-Nov-16 15:53:44

My water softener is small enough to go in a little cupboard, and we have a combo boiler. It made a massive difference - not only in limescale, washing machine, amount of soaps/shampoos purchased etc but also my eczema got so much better.

TeaStory Tue 29-Nov-16 15:53:56

*combi boiler

PigletJohn Tue 29-Nov-16 16:41:07

it has to go fairly near your incoming water supply, and a drain for when it is regenerating and rinsing itself.

When full of water and salt it will be heavy, so it ,ight be placed inside a litchen cabninet but standing on the room floor, not the bottom of the cabinet.

Larger ones are usually taller but not fatter. A larger one can hold more salt and will go for longer without needing to be refilled. It also has a larger cylinder so needs less frequent regeneration. The bags of salt can be quite heavy if you have to tip them in, but you can get smaller bags or rectangular blocks, which work out more expensive.

Mine is in the garage and goes a couple of months between salt fills. I use the sacks. Never collect salt in your own car because the tiniest spillage will rust a hole in it. Look inside the salt delivery van and you will be shocked.

If your kitchen has a plumbing duct in the corner, see if you can fit it there. There is often a dead space. You will need access. In mine the dishwasher rolls out on a wheeled base, bringing a section of worktop with it, for access to the plumbing. A chippy or kitchen fitter will be able to devise a way. You might consider countertop flap hinges, as used in bars.

I'd ask around for a local softener company (there will be one) who offers repairs, sales and salt deliveries.

The first week you get one, you will be amazed at how foamy your washing machine is, and how little soap, conditioner, shampoo you need. The second week you will be astonished how soft your towels, hair and skin are.

Needmoresleep Tue 29-Nov-16 18:48:35

Now we know that Piglet John has soft skin and hair. The man really is perfect.

Mrsmortis, I have just spent a fortune sorting out just about every shower, tap and toilet flush in a rental property. Even the iced water unit in the fridge is gummed up, and I had to replace the hot water cylinder a couple of years ago. The toilets have concealed cisterns, behind tiles, and any drips drain into the toilet bowl, which was completely caked in limescale. (And green, but that is too much detail.) Sorting it out has been very expensive so a unit went in last week. I was told it will only need salt once a year. I hope so as I suspect the new tenant wont do it (because tenants don't do that sort of thing) but I can do it at the same time as the gas safe cert.

I live in London and I thought our water was hard, but it is worse where the flat is on the south coast. One good reason (in case I needed one) not to live in Belgium.

PigletJohn Tue 29-Nov-16 20:11:39

Gnarled.

lazydog Tue 29-Nov-16 20:25:50

Also, don't let people scare you about increased sodium intake if you're drinking softened water. Unless you've been told you have to be really careful about your salt intake for some medical reason, I can't remember the exact figures, but I remember when we checked it out years ago, even if someone was drinking 2 litres of our tap water per day, they were getting no more additional sodium than you'd get in a single slice of bread.

If your water is incredibly hard to start out with, the resultant softened water will contain more sodium, but nothing scary. (Less than the amount found in an equivalent volume glass of milk, that's for sure!)

HeyMacWey Wed 30-Nov-16 09:51:32

Thanks for all the advice - I'm hopefully getting a new kitchen fitted so will try and find somewhere to get a softener fitted. In the meantime I'll crack on with the Calgon.

ShyTallSun Wed 30-Nov-16 09:55:43

I descale the washing machine with citric acid about once a month. Can buy in Wilkos and much more cost effective than branded descalers.

RandomMess Wed 30-Nov-16 13:25:09

I had a fairly compact water softener size of half a kitchen base unit.

I loved it, revolutionised my life, now live in a soft water area again grin

scaryteacher Wed 30-Nov-16 13:28:54

Needmoresleep * I hope so as I suspect the new tenant wont do it (because tenants don't do that sort of thing) * As a tenant in Belgium, I pay for the salt for the water softener, and put it in the thing. I also pay for the service for the water softener, as I do for the boiler service, the gardener, and for the chimney to be swept. We also pay here for the buildings insurance. Everything I pay for as a landlord in the UK, I pay for as a tenant here (including the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as there were none in the house anywhere).

We go through three bags of salt every 10 weeks or so, and I still filter water for drinking, and put anti calc tablets in the washing machine. That said, I can get own brand anti calc tabs here which are cheap, and a friend tells me they are cheap at Tesco as well. In the UK, I live in Cornwall, where I only have to put salt in the dishwasher perhaps twice a year, so the initial move to Belgium was a shock to my rapidly defunct washing machine and kettle!

PigletJohn Wed 30-Nov-16 15:31:51

"three bags of salt every 10 weeks or so"

wow!

what size bags?

lazydog Wed 30-Nov-16 18:52:35

Ditto what PigletJohn said!! That sounds like a hugely excessive quantity shock but our softener salt came in 20kg bags.

PigletJohn Wed 30-Nov-16 21:20:14

bag

bag

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