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Hard Water | Scale Solutions | Limescale Inhibitors Softening UK

Water Scale Inhibitors Information

About Scale

Problems Caused by Scale

The Difference Between Water Softeners and Conditioners / Scale Inhibitors

Problems with Water Softeners

Solutions to Combat Limescale

Chart Comparing Anti-Scale Solutions

How Hard Water is Measured

Map of UK Hard Water / Scale Areas

How to reduce scale in my drinking water

How to reduce scale in my whole house / building

What is Scale?

If you live in a hard water area scale can be a real issue. Scale (limescale) shows up as that nasty greyish flakey deposit in your kettle. Or as that powdery whitish grainy stuff when you are ironing your clothes.

Besides covering the top of your tea or coffee with that brownish film - which looks "scummy" and not very appetising - scale is a problem because it shortens the life of your expensive equipment like dishwashers, washing machines and - probably most costly - your water heater.

The scale also makes these machines less efficient - which means they cost more to run and so are less environmentally friendly.

The Difference Between Water Softeners and Conditioners / Scale Inhibitors

There is some confusion over these terms so let's try to clarify what they mean. A conventional softener - i.e. a "salt water softener" - removes calcium and magnesium and replaces it with sodium.

This is good for preventing scale build up but not so good for your health. The process is called "ion exchange" and it's easy to understand with such a big clue in the name "exchange", i.e. calcium and magnesium are exchanged for sodium.

A conditioner or scale inhibitor conditions or inhibits scale forming rather than removing minerals. It alters the water so that the minerals pass through the system preventing the build-up of scale. Unlike the salt softeners you can drink this water safely.

However the generic term for any anti-scale treatment has become "softening" so we, like others, will continue to use this term fairly loosely to cover all anti-scale treatments.

Problems with Salt Softeners

The traditional remedy for scale has been the salt water softener.

These slowly release salt into the water.You have to fill it with salt on a regular basis at an average cost of £100 a year or more.

The actual softeners cost between £800 to £1500 - we have heard of people being tricked into paying considerably more through door-to-door salesmen types.

To fit them can cost at least £200 for a plumber and probably more as they need to have their own plumbing system.

The main problem though is that it is not recommended to drink softened water or cook with it. Salt softened water is certainly not suitable for babies and some adults - notably the elderly or people with heart problems - to drink.

A separate drinking water supply is required by law.

Another downside is that the waste water they produce is environmentally unfriendly.

Plus the units are usually quite bulky and require a lot of space, which can be an issue.

For these and other reasons many people look for other solutions to hard water problems notably the new Salt Free Water Softeners.

Read more about Tradtional salt water softeners.

Solutions to Limescale

Magnetic / Catalytic / Ionization Devices

You may have seen these "magic box" type of gizmos advertised. They usually fit around your water pipe and claim to remove scale.

Get more information on electrical descalers and magnetic water descaling

and other Solutions to Scale.

Drinking Water Anti-Scale Solutions

If you are only concerned with removing scale from your drinking water - i.e. stopping your kettle furring up, and removing that film of scum from your tea / coffee - then there are two solutions we can offer.

The first and more expensive is reverse osmosis.

These are high quality water filters that remove a large number of contaminants from drinking water.

We sell ours for £197 - these are exactly the same units that other suppliers sell for £400 to £500!

But another cost to bear in mind is that about 70% to 80% of the water that goes through the reverse osmosis process is flushed away, i.e. rejected. This is both environmentally and financially costly.

Read more about reverse osmosis here

Budget Solution

A more pragmatic and cheaper solution is to have a special anti scale cartridge in our master purifier water filter.

This not only purifies your water to a high standard but also removes the scale. (This is what we have in our own office kitchen).

The whole unit costs £87 including delivery and VAT. You need to change the filter cartridge every 6 months at a cost of £29.97

Read more about the anti scale water filter cartridge now.

Whole of House Scale Solutions

We have two solutions.

The first is guaranteed to reduce 99.99% scale so if that is your aim we suggest you check out our Salt Free Water Softeners.

These have huge advantages over the traditional old salt based water softeners. Read more now.

The important thing to note is that - contrary to a what most people think - water softeners are not water filters.

Unlike filters, softeners don't improve the taste of the water.

So you will still be drinking and bathing in chlorinated water.

If you want to deal with scale AND have the benefits of a water filter then check out our whole of house filter.

While this is not primarily aimed at combating scale, a great side benefit is its scale reduction properties. (Its anti-scale effectiveness can vary - from 80% to 99% - depending on local water hardness - whereas our Salt less water Softener is guaranteed to prevent 99.99% of scale build up regardless of your local water quality).

The whole house filter is fairly new on the market and is selling very well because of its compact size and zero maintenance requirements (including no power supply required) - but particularly because of the very high level of water filtration achieved in every tap in your house, while reducing scale problems.

You can read more about our whole house water filter here.

Or for guaranteed 99.9% scale reduction check out the new Salt Free Water Softeners.

How Hard Water is Measured

Hard water is measured in the UK by 2 different scales:

The more technical one ie used by scientists - is the Clark degree.

The more common one - used for consumers is PPM. This is from “parts per million” of Calcium Carbonate CaCO3 in mg/L

The simple chart below shows both grades and the corresponding hardness level.

Water Hardness Chart

If your water is between

- 0 to 50 ppm (0 to 3.5 Clark degree) is soft

- 101 to 150 ppm (7.1 to 10.5 Clark degree) it is slightly hard

- 151 to 200 ppm (10.6 to 14 Clark degree) is moderately hard

- 201 to 300 ppm (14.1 to 21 Clark degree) is hard

- Over 300 ppm (21 Clark degree) is hard

UK Hard Water / Scale Areas

What about Scotland?

Scotland isn't on this hard water area map because it has soft water - below 100mg /L CaCO3 hardness.

hard water scale map uk


Soft to moderately soft
0-001mg/l as Calcium Carbonate equivalent

Slightly hard to moderately hard
100-200mg/l as Calcium Carbonate equivalent

Hard to very hard
Above 200mg/l as Calcium Carbonate equivalent

Fed up with scale? Check out these amazing new Salt Free Water Softeners

Drink to your health

Our water filter systems can remove harmful pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, and unhealthy chemical contaminants such as Chlorine, while at the same time leaving in the essential minerals your body needs.


Save money on bottled water purchases by regularly usingfiltered water. Get your highest quality water filters at the best price here.


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