The Effect of Hard Water on Drains

The term “hard water” is one that many people will have heard of but not necessarily understood what it means. According to Thames Water, however, over 60% of people in the UK live in hard water areas. This blog will explain what hard water is, why it can cause blocked drains, and how you can combat drainage problems caused by water hardness.

hard water drains pipes

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is a term used to describe water that has a high mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium. This can be caused by natural sources, such as underground rocks and soil, or by man-made sources, such as factories and power plants. Meanwhile, soft water simply refers to water with very low mineral content.

What Are the Effects of Hard Water on Drains?

The high mineral content in hard water can cause problems for your drains, predominantly by making them more prone to blockages. Calcium and magnesium in hard water can accumulate in your pipes and drains over time, producing limescale that can cause blockages. The scale can also reduce the flow of water through pipes, which can cause sewage backups.

Read about how to unblock your shower drain.

How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?

If you have hard water, you’ll probably notice that your taps and appliances start to rust or scale over time. You may also see a build-up of white deposits on showerheads, taps, and other fixtures. Alternatively, there are several ways to test for hard water. One common method is to use a home water test kit.

London’s water is hard because of its chalk and limestone geology (same as areas like Kent). Chalk and limestone contain minerals like calcium and magnesium, and rainwater picks these up as it seeps through soil and rocks. In turn, they end up in that area’s water supply. Meanwhile, in areas where these rocks are not common, such as Scotland, the water supplies tend to be soft.

Enter your postcode and find out the water hardness in your area here.

How Can I Prevent the Damage of Hard Water?

The best way to prevent the damage caused by hard water is to install a water softener. A water softener will reduce the levels of calcium and magnesium in your water, preventing them from building up in your drains and pipes and causing problems. You can also reduce the effects of hard water by regularly cleaning your taps, showerhead, and other fixtures with a descaling agent to help keep them clean and free from blockages. If you are living in rented accommodation who should install a water softener system? It is likely to be argued that it is not the tenant’s fault, this would suggest that if a landlord wanted to protect their property from hard water damage then it is their responsibility to install a water softener. 

At First Response Drainage, we encourage you to be proactive about keeping your drains clear and clean. However, if you do need a professional touch to unblock an outside drain, toilet, or sink, do not hesitate to call us on 0800 043 4860. We have years of experience in unblocking drains across the whole of London and our team of experts works quickly and efficiently to solve any drainage problems.