Which Cities have Hard Water in the UK? 

If you're a homeowner in the United Kingdom, you've probably heard about "hard water" before. But what is it, exactly? And why should you care? 

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what hard water is and list ten cities where it's found most commonly in the UK. We'll also discuss the potential effects of hard water on your home and your health and provide some tips for dealing with it. So if you're curious about hard water and want to learn more, keep reading!

According to surveys, sixty percent of the United Kingdom has hard water, with some regions containing over 200 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter. Folitrese living in soft water areas isn't even a consideration. Still, as many as 16 million households in the UK live with varying degrees of hard water (and don't they know about it)!

What is Hard Water?

When rainfall occurs in soft rocks of chalk and limestone regions, they absorb calcium and magnesium minerals which then form hard water.

The dissolved minerals in hard water precipitate as a layer of hard scale whenever water is heated or when cold water evaporates in a standing pool. Examples include clogged pipes, blocked showerheads, scale deposits on kettles and water heating elements, white spots, stains, and scales on sinks, baths, toilet bowls, and around the base of taps.

Water hardness can be measured in parts per million (ppm), which essentially determines how many particles of hardness there are in a million particles of water.

As we can see, anything over 180ppm is classified as Very Hard. 

Is It Bad for Your Health to Drink Hard Water?

Consuming hard water can actually be beneficial for general health as calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that the human body needs.

For most people, these essential minerals are provided by their diet therefore it is not necessary to consume extra from their tap water.

Despite the potential benefits, hard water can make skin and hair much drier than soft water and for people with skin conditions, it can be particularly problematic. Even for people with normally healthy skin, if you use hard water to wash your hair your scalp can often dry out even whilst using the best, natural hair products.

Minerals in hard water can also change the pH balance of your skin, making it less resistant to disease-causing bacteria and conditions. People with eczema drinking and bathing in hard water can cause worsening of flare ups and even lead to illness in severe cases.

In addition, studies have shown that water hardness scaling makes it easier for germs to grow in drinking water, which often brings harmful pathogens.

Other Negative Effects

Hard water can cause many challenges whether just at home or for owners of coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Here are some examples:

  1. Food & Drink Machinery

    Espresso/coffee machines, hot drinks vending machines, steam ovens and commercial dishwashers are all examples of machines that require protection from hard water.

    Scale formation within machines not only causes performance to drop over time and higher operational costs, but also leads to machine downtime and unexpected repairs and replacement costs that can be particularly burdensome to operators.

  2. Plumbing and Household Appliances

In hard water, calcium and magnesium molecules produce scaling (a buildup of chemicals). This can affect pipes, faucets, and appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, residential heating system and coffee makers. The efficiency of plumbing systems degrades significantly over time due to hard water scale buildup in pipes and other equipment.

Scaling is usually overlooked and occurs over time, obstructing and straining pipes and limiting water supply. Due to the mineral deposits, the lifespan of these pipelines and appliances is drastically reduced, requiring more maintenance.

Hard water compromises the performance of steel pipes. They readily deteriorate due to mineral buildup, and your water flow will eventually be restricted. Additionally, this may cause pipe corrosion and other issues, necessitating routine drain cleaning and pipe repairs.

  1. Clothes

Do your clothes still fade after washing and drying? Take note of how the ends fray and appear to decay quickly. Clothing might get discoloured, deteriorated, or ripped due to exposure to hard water. Your clothes are washed with the same molecules that ruin your plumbing and appliances, causing fabric degradation.

Hard water far exceeds soft water in terms of the pace at which colour is lost from clothing. Moreover, your bed and clothes could feel scratchy due to higher mineral content.

  1. Dishes and Glass

Have you ever taken a clear glass out of the dishwasher to find a white coating on it? Hard water usually causes this because the detergent reacts with the hard water to create hazy foam.

Top 10 Cities in the UK with Hard Water

But what towns and cities are worst affected? Look at the top 10 UK towns and cities with the most challenging water. It might be good to compare which cities have the hardest water in the UK so that you can address issues early.

1. Ipswich - 378ppm

#2. Norwich - 346ppm

#3. Sunderland - 343ppm

#4. St. Albans - 342ppm

#5. Bury St. Edmunds - 339ppm

#6. Stevenage - 338ppm

#7. Basildon - 335ppm

#8. Colchester - 332ppm

#9. Reading - 329ppm

#10. Chelmsford - 327ppm

This hard water map illustrates the top cities in the UK with hardwater. Most of it are found in the south east part of the Uk.

What Should I Do If I Live in Hard Water Area?

Living in a hard water area in the UK can be frustrating. Whether it's for the whole house or just your drinking water, there are a couple of different options available.

  1. Whole House Water Softener

    Whole house water softeners are a great way to reduce limescale throughout the whole house, providing you with naturally soft water for bathing and washing. This process uses sodium in an ion exchange process, so usually a separate outlet is required for drinking water.

  2. Drinking Water Filter with Limescale Inhibitor

    Many carbon filters and under sink systems are available with limescale inhibitor, which can be particularly useful in reducing limescale build up on taps. Limescale inhibitor typically uses a polyphosphate resin that binds to the minerals within the water to stop them sticking to surfaces.
    A common misconception is that this removes limescale completely - for this you need an ion exchange filter.

  3. Drinking Water Filter with Ion Exchange

    Ion Exchange filters utilise a process that swaps trouble causing ions such as magnesium and calcium for other positively charged ions, effectively removing limescale from the water.

    These types of filters are perfect when complete limescale removal is needed for drinking water, such as under sink systems, coffee shops and restaurants.

Are you looking for high-quality components and fittings for your water softening system? To find solutions to your hard water problems, browse Filter Flair’s wide range of water filtration products and brands. Get in touch today!