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How Does Hard Water Affect Your Central Heating System

Within the UK, the type of water that runs through your pipes can vary based on the mineral content of the water this can include calcium and magnesium. With hard water containing large quantities of these particles, and soft water containing the least. Though there are pros and cons to having both, hard water’s main con is that this type of water can produce hard scale build up within your plumbing and heating system. This can eventually cause your heating system to become faulty, and work much harder than I should have too. Scale doesn’t only affect heating systems but it can also reduce the efficiency and productivity of other water using household appliances including kettles, dishwashers, washing machines and even coffee machines.

Hard water map



The map above shows a rough guide of where you’re most likely to find hard and soft water in Britain, however, there may be small areas within the hard-water zone that contain soft water, and small areas within the soft- water zone that contain hard water.

Many people see the scale build up on sinks and showers and think that is the only problem caused by the hard water, but the problem is even further down the pipes. With the build-up of limescale, the pipes could become blocked and cause a massive disruption in your household. Although your central heating system will still work, it won’t work as efficiently as usual, meaning your heating would need to be on for longer to try and heat your home to your desired temperature, and any hot water being run through the taps will not be as hot as usual.

All of this can potentially lead to expensive boiler or pipe repairs. This can be a looming thought for a homeowner especially in the south and south-east of England, but there are precautions that can be taken to prevent this from happening;

  • Find out what type of water passes through your taps- even if you are in a hard water zone, you could have access to soft water, thus meaning no further action would be necessary.
  • Install a water softener – This is a form of filter that removes any magnesium or calcium particles from within the water.
  • Water conditioner - This doesn’t remove the added plaque building particles, but changes their form so they are enabled to pass through the water system and is formulated to lift corrosion deposits within a domestic central heating system.

Limescale build up from hard water in pipes can be quite common, and there are a couple of ways to deal with this;

  • Follow instructions on any liquid drain cleaner purchased.
  • Pouring Vinegar and Baking Soda down your drain, or removing the piping that contains the limescale and letting It to soak in vinegar for a couple of hours, and rinse off when finished.

If all the above precautions are taken, then it is almost certain that hard water would not be able to cause a build-up of limescale within your central heating system. If however, you find that your central heating system has succumbed to limescale, we have a wide variety of central heating systems or accessories that could get you heating back and working. For more information or advice contact the team by our email address [email protected] or call us on 0800 181 4488.