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Understanding water hardness

Water hardness measures the amount of natural calcium and magnesium that’s present in your water.

At the very beginning of the water cycle, when rain falls, there is no calcium or magnesium present in water.

Once rain makes contact with the ground, and begins to trickle into waterways, the water absorbs up the naturally occurring minerals in the environment as it flows over rocks and ground.

The hardness or softens of your water will vary depending on where you live.

It's generally harder in areas with soluble rock like limestone, and softer in areas with insoluble rock such as Granite.

We list a simple description of your water hardness in our water quality report, ranging from “Soft” to “Very Hard”.

You’ll find water hardness in water quality reports expressed as the equivalent amount of calcium carbonate in parts per million (mg/l) for every litre of water.

This is also measured in various scales of degrees, usually French, German and Clark.

Water hardness is not harmful to your health, however it may contribute to existing skin conditions such as eczema.

If you find this is the case, then contact a Health Professional for advice.

If you live in a hard water area, you will find that mineral deposits build up on your appliances like kettles, dishwashers and washing machines more easily.

Normal household limescale removing cleaning products can help you to get rid of this.

In hard water areas it can also be more difficult to get washing up liquid and detergents to create suds for cleaning, so you may need to use a bit more liquid than you would in a soft water area.

It is possible to buy products that can soften your water, however these can lead to an increased sodium content in your water, which might make it unusable for drinking or cooking.

Often water softeners will make your water taste salty and produce bits that look like sugar crystals in the water. If your water softener is broken or damaged it can release orange beads of resin into your water.

Answering common household queries about your water quality

What to do if your water looks unusual

What to do if your water tastes or smells unusual

How we look after your water quality