What is limescale?
Limescale is the chalky build up that develops around taps and in your kettle
Limescale is caused by soluble calcium bicarbonate converting to insoluble calcium carbonate. In simpler terms, it’s the chalky substance that forms in crusts around taps or creates a white film on your shower screen. Limescale occurs in places where water is either heated or left standing.
Limescale is caused by calcium and magnesium being left behind when hard water evaporates
Hard water, which is water that contains a higher mineral content, is the root cause of limescale. When it evaporates from a surface, it leaves behind calcium and magnesium deposits.
If you live in a hard water area you will have more issues with limescale build up than if you were living in a soft water area.
Where does limescale form?
You will see limescale in obvious places around your home and may spend some time cleaning and removing it on a regular basis. The places you may notice it are:
Visible limescalebuild up
- Shower screens
- Kitchen and bathroom tiles
- Coffee machines
However, limescale also builds up in areas of the home that you cannot see.
Invisible limescale build up
- Heating system pipes
- Water pipes
- Large appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher
- The heat exchanger in your boiler
The problem with limescale
A family of four can create up to 70 kilograms of limescale each year, just by using water in the usual way that we all do. This is the weight of an average adult, so it’s easy to see how this volume of any solid substance likelimescale, added to your heating system each year, could lead to problems quite quickly.
The three main problems with limescale build up are:
- Increased energy bills – As your heating system becomes clogged with limescale, it has to work harder in order to bring your home up to the right temperature. Just 1mm of limescale in your hot water system can increase your energy use by 7%, costing the average household an additional £150-£200 per year.
- Damage to appliances – Have you ever heard a rumbling sound coming from your boiler as it starts up? If so, this is called kettling, caused by limescale build up that reduces the water flow within the heat exchanger. The boiler therefore has to work harder to heat your home sufficiently and as a result has a reduced lifespan and becomes prone to breaking down in Winter. Not only is this a nuisance, it costs you more money in repairs and replacement. This is just one example of how limescale build up can damage your appliances.
- Extra cleaning is required Limescale build up can be tricky to remove when it’s had lots of time to build up. You may have to spend more money than usual on cleaning products to remove the limescale, but mostly this is just a nuisance for people who prefer to keep their bathrooms and kitchen sparkling.
This is just a few examples of the issues that limescale can cause. find out more about the costs of limescale buildup in your home
How does Scaleguard treat limescale?
Scaleguard is a cost effective solution to protect your home against the most expensive damage caused by limescale build up.
Scaleguard removes hard limescalebuild ups from your pipes and boiler
You may notice that in your bathroom, hard limescale builds up on your taps whereas a soft, cloudy residue develops on your shower screen. These are two different types of limescale.
Scaleguard will tackle the build ups of hard limescale, which cause the big issues like increased energy bills and increased repair and replacement costs for appliances
Scaleguard works on unseen areas where limescaledeposits cause the biggest issues
Scaleguard does not remove minerals from the water, meaning it remains hard, but it prevents those minerals from depositing in areas through which water flows such as your boiler and pipework. If those minerals don’t stick to surfaces, they cannot build up and cause limescale.
Scaleguard will also remove existing limescale deposits, clearing any current blockages, making your heating system and appliances run more efficiently and in turn saving you money.
Find out more about the benefits of Scaleguard here
Limescale may still need cleaning from visible surfaces where water evaporates or stands
Where water is left to evaporate or stand, like in your kettle or around your taps, you may still see some limescale. Whilst this may mean you still need to clean visible limescale, you can be assured that Scaleguard works on the real issues caused by unseen limescale.
How do I remove limescale?
Scaleguard is the solution for the most expensive issues caused by limescale build up, rather than the solution for the purely cosmetic inconveniences it causes. As such, we’ve put together some handy tips for removing and cleaning limescale in your bathroom and kitchen, to help make it as easy as possible to keep your bathrooms and kitchen clean and shiny.
The quick fix
Limescale can be tough and using abrasive scourers to remove it can damage the surfaces below, like enamel bathtubs and chrome taps. To avoid this you can buy mild acids, which will dissolve the limescalewithin minutes, without any need for elbow grease and without causing damage to your taps.
A whole range of these acids can be found at your local supermarket. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and check that it is suitable to use on surfaces you plan to use it on.
The chemical free fix
If you would rather use natural substances in your home, perhaps if you have allergies or pets and children that you want to keep out of harms way, you can opt to use vinegar, which contains acetic acid or lemon juice. Pickling vinegar and lime juicecontain even stronger acids and can be used on particularly stubborn limescale deposits.
Here’s how to use them:
- Use a cup of vinegar, placed directly in your washing machine drum, then run on a normal cycle to clear limescale from your washing machine.
- For your kettle, fill it a quarter full of vinegar. After an hour, fill the kettle with water, leaving the vinegar inside and then boil. Empty it straight after boiling and rinse thoroughly.
- Lemon juice and vinegar are also a great option for cleaning tiles and shower screens. The trick to making them really shine is to rinse the surface and buff with a dry cloth afterwards.
- To ensure taps are thoroughly soaked in the lemon juice or vinegar for long enough, soak cotton wool and attach it to the taps with an elastic band. Leave for an hour or more until the limescale can easily be cleaned away. You could also use a rag, which can be washed and reused afterwards.
- Showerheads can be removed and soaked in a bowl of vinegar. Limescale can be brushed off with an old toothbrush afterwards.
The best way to keep your bathroom and kitchen shining is to keep on top of limescale, cleaning regularly to keep it from building up into hard-to-remove plaques.
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