Does Soft Water Dissolve Existing Limescale?

This is a very common question we get asked. If you have years of limescale already, will soft water get rid of what is already there?

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This is a very common question we get asked. If you have years of limescale already built up in your home already, will soft water get rid of what is already there?

Where will hard water be built up?

Limescale is calcium carbonate or chalk that forms wherever hard water is allowed to dry or where water is heated. The calcium which has been collected as rainwater passes through layers of rock in the ground, creates hard water. This then creates a hard deposit, limescale if water dries and evaporates to leave behind the hardness. Or in the case of heating, the minerals are being ‘boiled’ out of the water to stick to the heated surface.

Limescale externally

The best examples of where water dries to leave limescale deposits are: Glass shower screens, draining boards in the kitchen, shower heads and the end of taps. In all these areas soft water will itself not clean away these built-up deposits. Soft water is not a cleaning chemical therefore for example a shower head, it is best to use a descaling chemical to clean the shower head. Then once a water softener is installed in your home, no more limescale will build up again to block the shower head. In theory, if you didn’t clean the shower head of the existing limescale, it would loosen up or erode over time with soft water. But this could take a while and it is much more beneficial to clean it away instantly and start afresh.

Limescale internally.

Where water is heated it can build up the toughest and thickest layers of limescale. The best examples of this are: hot water cylinders, washing machines, dishwashers, boilers and electric showers. As mentioned above, after a water softener is installed the soft water will loosen and erode the limescale in time. But as it’s not a chemical descaler and in some cases, it will be a very slow process. If a hot water cylinder is a couple of years old, then the existing limescale will fall off in time, but a 20-year-old appliance may never be free of all the hard water damage accumulated inside. This doesn’t mean you should be put off a water softener, from day one you will stop any more damage in your home and save energy straight away.

What about limescale in the kettle?

If you are unable to completely cleanse your home of Hard Water, but still want to limit the effects, then The most prominent area we see limescale is in the kettle! Constantly being boiled, the kettle is the ultimate limescale breeding ground. If you have a water softener installed and use it in the kettle, then in time clumps of limescale will start to come off. However you are much better off to use a chemical descaler to remove existing limescale to get rid of the unsightly mess straight away. Some of our customers treat themselves to a new kettle after having a water softener fitted, relaxed knowing they won’t have to clean and descale it ever again.

What’s the bottom line?

We read many blogs from water softener manufacturers that claim all your existing limescale will be gone within months. Here at Shires Water we want to present what we see as the realistic benefits of water softeners. Having soft water will greatly benefit your home and save energy by straight away stopping any more limescale forming. But the existing scale is stubborn and wherever you can clean it off with a chemical that is the best course of action. 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions, we are here to help.

If you are interested and want to find out more about Water Softeners, then please give Shireswater a call today or fill out our contact form here

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