Why you should ignore hard water at your peril

Why you should ignore hard water at your peril

Hard water has a lot to answer for, especially when you look at the significant impact it can have on manufacturing processes.

Working with hard, or sub-standard, water can increase plant downtime and operating costs and decrease quality and energy efficiency levels.

And with more of the UK reportedly living in hard water areas than not, it’s an issue that doesn’t just come with wide-reaching consequences for businesses – it’s also having a wide-reaching impact too.

One look at the map below highlights the true scale of hard water supplies across the country


The red areas show where hard water is present, which currently represents 60% of the UK and literally hundreds of businesses, particularly those located along the east coast, London, where there’s more than 200 milligrams per litre of calcium carbonate.

What is hard water?

Hard water contains a higher level of minerals than soft water. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium are picked up as the water flows through rocks.

Soft water contains up to 50 milligrams per litre of these minerals, slightly hard to moderately hard water contains up to 200 milligrams and hard to very hard water contains 200 milligrams and above.


Hard water leaves a visible chalky layer created by the sheer volume of calcium carbonate present, which naturally occurs as chalk, limestone and calcite. This layer is a key tell-tale sign (among other indicators) for businesses that their water supply is hard.

But in our experience, hard water is not something businesses always tackle or know how to deal with. However, taking no action can come at a real price…

What happens if hard water’s left untreated?

There are all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t ignore hard water. Over time, the hard water forms scale build-up on pipes and heating elements. More energy is needed to penetrate the thick coating and obtain the required heat, increasing running costs. If left untreated, the coated pipework will also start to restrict the water flow too.

Meanwhile, if hard water is left to build up on precision tools, production will have to be stopped to clean or replace the tools, so that they continue to work at their optimum performance, resulting in costly downtime.

How can businesses hard water-proof their operations?

If your water supply is hard, then it’s important you take the appropriate action to minimise the impact it can have on your business operations.

While it’s not possible to remove hard water without using acid descales, you can arrange to prevent hardness build-up by installing a water softening system. Once in place, it’ll immediately set to work on softening your water. The advantages of taking this route are vast, including the fact you:

  1. Will use less energy – businesses that install a water softener typically use 30% less energy.
  2. Will save money – businesses won’t have to spend thousands of pounds on acid rescaling their boiler, not to mention the cost of downtime whilst this is being done.

It’s amazing just how many businesses don’t take action to prevent water hardness because they’re put off by the perceived complexity of it when, in actual fact, it’s a really straightforward issue to tackle. All that’s required is a water softening system that’s:

  • The right size
  • Compatible with their flow rate
  • Suited to their level of water hardness

What’s more, water softeners require very little maintenance, just a service every six months and a salt supply to create brine, which is used during regeneration to replace the hard metal ions.

This article is designed to provide you with a quick expert’s guide on why you should ignore hard water at your peril. For more details or to find out more about the impact hard water is having on your business, contact us on 0113 232 0005 or sales@excelwater.co.uk. In the meantime, for further insight on working with unpurified water, read this blog ‘What would happen if we didn’t treat our water?’




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