In the UK, we are fairly fortunate that we can access clean water just by turning on the tap. However, there is a difference in the water depending on where you live with some having soft water and others having hard water. So, with this in mind, did you know that this could affect appliances such as your boiler?
In areas that have hard water, you might find that there is an increased risk of your boiler breaking down and your energy bills might be higher too.
What is Hard Water?
While you might have heard about it and know that you have it, you don’t actually know what it is. When rocks and soil that is rich dissolve in water, they leave behind minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Hard water is water that has high concentrations of these minerals and although the minerals are good for some things, they are not ideal for your appliances. This can include your kettles and washing machines although we can descale them to remove limescale build when needed. However, we tend to overlook boilers because we don’t see them working but hard water can cause problems for your boiler.
In contrast to this, soft water is commonly surface water that falls as rain and it is found in areas of the UK where soil and rocks contain lower levels of calcium and take longer to discover. Therefore, the water has a low concentration and is considered to be soft. Fortunately, it is not just about the area and there are ways to make hard water softener which can make it kinder to your household appliances.
Is Hard Water Going to Cause Problems for My Home?
If you live in an area that has hard water, then you are more likely to experience problems with some of your appliances, and that includes your boiler. So, with this in mind, let’s consider the common problems that hard water can cause
Anything that uses water in your home can suffer from problems that are caused by hard water. The minerals that we mentioned earlier are found in higher concentrations and over time, they can build up in your appliances, leaving limescale behind.
The majority of cleaning products have to foam up in order for them to work properly. In those areas with hard water, the minerals can prevent the cleaning products from doing their job properly.
Increased Running Costs
Appliances that use water will need to work hard in those areas that have hard water. This can mean that more electricity is used and that will eventually lead to an increase in your bills. Items such as washing machines, dishwashers and kettles might be the main appliances that spring to mind but the same can also be said for your boiler.
What Issues Could You Experience With Your Boiler as a Result of Hard Water?
While we like to take care of all of our appliances, at Prime Time Boilers, we want to make sure that your boilers keep running as they should. Hard water can cause problems for boilers and central heating as a result of limescale build-up in the pipes, radiators and even inside the boiler. So, let’s consider the problems that hard water can cause to boilers and where within your boiler, you might see some damage as a result of hard water.
- Boiler Heat Exchanger – The amount of heat that this can emit will be reduced should there be a build-up of limescale.
- Pipes – If there is a build-up of limescale in the pipes, it will cause problems with the amount of hot water or gas that can pass through. This will then reduce the effectiveness of your heating system. This will then mean that your boiler will have to work hard and that will render it less efficient because it will need to put in more effort to ensure it delivers heat consistently. If limescale is left to build-up, it could cause your boiler to break down.
- Radiators – Your radiators are also prone to limescale build-up. One of the main signs that this is happening is a rattling noise in your boiler and pipework when it is turned on.
If I Live in a Hard Water Area, What Can I do to Look After My Boiler?
One of the best ways of preventing problems with your appliances because of hard water is to install a water softener machine. This will remove the minerals and ions, giving you water that has a lower concentration which means less of a chance of limescale build-up.
There are other methods of looking after your boiler and heating system, regardless of whether you have hard or soft water.
To reduce the risk of a boiler breakdown, you can:
- Ensure you have your boiler booked in for servicing regularly using a Gas Safe engineer as they will ensure your boiler is safe and efficient.
You should make sure that you do everything possible to prevent any external pipes from freezing by insulating them during winter by using lagging. This too can help to prevent your boiler from breaking down.
- Follow the instructions that came with your boiler that help you keep your water pressure between 1 and 2 bars.
- The pilot light should consist of a strong blue flame. If you ever see a yellow or orange flame then you should call a Gas Safe Engineer to ensure it is safe. Furthermore, you should install a carbon monoxide detector.
- You should try to bleed your radiators regularly as this will help you to remove air pockets that could prevent them from heating up fully.
- Try to turn your heating on for a minimum of 15 minutes every month, which is more important during the summer months. This will help to prevent blockages by keeping the water moving through the system.If you are experiencing strange noises all of a sudden or you have noticed that your heating is not working in the same way as it usually does, then it’s time to make a call.
You should ensure that your system get checked by an engineer as this will make it possible to identify problems before they become any worse or more costly
The reality is that many areas of the UK suffer from hard water and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, you can take control of the situation by making a decision to regularly maintain your boiler, complete all the necessary checks and put the right measures in place. If you do this, then you will find that your boiler won’t suffer too badly.