What is limescale?
First of all, what exactly is limescale? You’ll no doubt know if you’ve ever peered inside your kettle. Limescale is that white, chalky deposit that you can find inside kettles and showers.
It’s caused by a build-up of minerals left by water. When water evaporates it can leave behind a calcium carbonate deposit. It’s particularly a problem for places with hard water as this contains a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Kitchens and bathrooms are the top to areas that will see a limescale problem. However, often limescale will be hidden from view in your water pipes or boiler. Once it has developed, it quickly attracts more build-up and becomes difficult to get rid of. So it’s best to tackle it as soon as you can before it becomes a problem.
Why is it a problem?
While limescale in your shower and kettle are unsightly, they’re at least easier to get rid of. It can cause a bigger problem when it’s left alone in your plumbing.
Limescale deposits can build-up in your pipes and cause blockages. This can then affect your central heating and appliances like washing machines, making them less energy efficient and therefore more expensive to run.
How to get rid of it
Limescale is stubbornly resistant to a simple scrub. The best way to get rid of it is to use a mild acidic solution.
Household vinegar can work well with this. You can simply use it on showerheads or taps and then scrub it away. Ideally you will be able to soak the affected area in vinegar for about an hour. However, this isn’t always possible for things like taps or pipes. Here you can wrap vinegar-soaked cloths around pipes or tie a vinegar-filled bag around taps.
If this isn’t working, then you’ll have to go one step further and look at a chemical cleaning solution. Pick one that is specially formulated for calcium and limescale. You can buy specific ones for cleaning kettles and washing machines. Just be careful with this as it won’t be as gentle as vinegar so avoid contact with skin or other delicate surfaces.
How to prevent it
If you’re finding that limescale is a problem in your house, you’ll want to take steps to prevent it from building up again in the future. In order to prevent a limescale build-up you will have to use a water softening system. This will involve mixing a sodium-based solution into your incoming water supply. This will help to prevent a build-up of minerals in your pipes.
If you want to determine whether you’ve got a limescale problem or need to use a water softening system, it’s always best to talk to a licensed, local plumber. You can call us on 0151 522 0736 for free advice.