What is Limescale?

Limescale is a mineral build up, consisting mainly of calcium carbonate, that forms a hard chalky deposit which is attributed to hard water. Hard water refers to water that runs through porous rock, such as limestone or chalk, and picks up minerals such as calcium or magnesium. When hard water is left to stand or evaporate, the dissolved minerals in the water solidify and form limestone.
Limescale color varies depending on the minerals present. Colors can vary from off-white through a range of gray, pink, red, or even brown.

Why should you remove limescale?

Aside from being unsightly and hard to clean, limescale can cause problems in a number of areas in your home. Limescale often builds up inside kettles, hot water boilers, and pipework. Limescale can seriously damage or impair the operation of various plumbing and heating components and shorten the lifespan of water based appliances, resulting in additional costs on repairs or replacement altogether.
Here are additional problems caused by hard water and limescale:

  • Blocked heating pipes, shower heads and taps
  • Replacement of heating pipes
  • Loss of water pressure due to reduction of pipe diameter
  • Increased heating costs as a result of loss of energy from water heating systems

Additional Health Concerns:

  • Irritation of sensitive skin
  • Dull and dry hair
  • Bacterial growth in drinking water

How to remove and prevent limescale?

Limescale can be stubborn to remove on its own, for best results deal with hard water before it produces limescale. For this reason, we have included some options on how to treat and reduce hard water.

Limescale can be dissolved with a range of mildly acidic products found in your home, such as lemon juice and vinegar. For best results when cleaning fixtures, completely remove all faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures, then soak them in vinegar for about an hour. After the hour, thoroughly scrub each fixture and wipe away limescale.

Limescale can also take up residence in your appliances. Remove limescale from your kettle by mixing a 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 of water. Bring the solution to a boil inside the kettle and let it sit overnight. The next morning be sure to rinse the limescale away. Repeat the process as necessary depending on the severity of the limescale.

Although many laundry detergents contain water softening agents that work by grabbing or ‘chelating’ calcium and magnesium ions in the water which prevent them from being able to form limescale deposits, limescale can still form. For your washing machine, use a non-precipitating softener tablet, this will prevent limescale from blocking your internal workings of your washer machine. It can also improve and help your detergent clean your clothes better. You can also try running vinegar or lemon juice through your washer machine like a detergent. Doing this not only helps by removing limescale, but can help prevent it from forming. This process can also be used in your dishwasher.

To tackle any limescale buildup in your water heater, drain your water heater tank a couple times a year. This process is not only effective on limescale, but also helps remove any sediment build up at the bottom of your water heater. This process will improve the lifespan of your water heater, saving you on costly repairs or replacement. This service can also be performed by a licensed plumber.

For solutions on preventing limescale we have to look at solutions on how to eliminate hard water. Unfortunately, where ever there is hard water, there always is a possibility of mineral buildup. To eliminate both hard water and limescale considering having a water softener installed by a professional plumber.These softeners do not remove minerals that cause hardness in water but do prevent them from adhering to surfaces.These softeners can be installed at the main water supply, therefore protecting your entire home’s plumbing and water appliances.

Eliminating limescale from your home will not only eliminate additional cleaning, help your plumbing run more efficiency, but also contribute to the health and well being of your family.