Hard Water

What exactly is hard water?

water hardness in the UK Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with "soft water"). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite.

Water hardness levels for the UK are shown opposite. Here on the Isle of Wight, the water is hard due to the Island's geology. An online facility on Southern Water's website is available to check hardness levels for your locale.

As hard water is heated (e.g. in washing machines, showers, kettles etc), the Calcium and Magnesium separate out and form a crust on surfaces they come into contact with. This is what we know as limescale.

So what are the problems?

The scale contained in hard water can cause damage and expense in the home. For example :

Problems in Water Boiler Systems and Pipework

copper pipes with limescale

Hard water contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (limescale deposits) that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%

Inefficient operation of Appliances

immersion heating element with limescale

Hard water can impede the performance of washing machines, kettles, immersion heaters, dishwashers, irons and other household applicances. The problem is limescale. The build-up of these deposits can lead to the functionality of the machine becoming compromised, and can often affect the machine's performance. This picture shows the limescale build up on a heating element of an immersion heater.

Limescale stains and residue

tap with limescale

Limescale quickly builds up on taps, sinks, shower heads, shower enclosures, tiles and other fittings. As water evaporates, it leaves behind the minerals. This becomes unsightly over time and makes cleaning necessary and difficult.

Health issues

eczema and hard water

Hard water can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. It is widely highlighted by doctors that cleaning products aggravate the condition. When you have a water softener in place, there is a major reduction in amount of soap, shampoo and washing powder used in day-to-day activities which therefore reduces the amount of exposure of the skin to harsh chemicals and potential irritants.


hard water hair

Bathing with soap in hard water can leave a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage.


stained whites

When you wash your clothes in hard water you may not notice a difference in your colors but you will certainly see a difference in your whites. Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. The hardness minerals combine with some soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to remove. Soil on clothes can introduce even more hardness minerals into the wash water. Continuous laundering in hard water can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.


stained glass

When washing dishes, glasses and cutlery, especially in a dishwasher, hard water may cause spotting and filming. The minerals from hard water are released faster when it comes into contact with heat, causing an increase in the amount of spotting and filming that occurs. This problem is not a health risk, but it can be a nuisance to clean and reduce the quality of your crockery.

Water Softeners can help!


Water softeners revert hard water back to the natural composition of soft water, removing the substances that cause the damaging limescale build-ups throughout your home.

How do water softeners work?

Most water softeners on the market operate on an "ion exchange" system. This is where hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) are exchanged for sodium (salt) or potassium (salt) ions. This takes place within the resin tank of the water softener. When water flows through the tank it comes in contact with small resin beads that are covered with sodium or potassium ions. As the water flows through the resin beads, the calcium and magnesium ions trade places with the sodium ions.

Why Kinetico?

There are many water softener brands on the market. Why choose Kinetico?

kinetico water softener You will certainly experience a difference with a Kinetico water softener. As a world leader in water systems the Kinetico 2020c is brilliantly designed, easy to use, offer unrivalled reliability and produce the most luxuriously soft water.

Kinetico are the world's leading water treatment specialist and the Inventors of the non-electric water softener. Their water softeners offer superior performance and high reliability and are independently certified.

The benefits of a Kinetico water softener

With a Kinetico Water Softener supplied and installed by Isle Of Wight Water Softeners, on the Isle of Wight, you will benefit from :

  • A saving of up to 400 per year on household costs and cleaning products (for an average family)
  • No more limescale in the bath or on shower screens
  • A removal of limescale from your water, which will over time gradually remove existing limescale in your house
  • A system that required very low maintenance. Just simply check salt levels regularly
  • An easy, neat and clean installation by professionals
  • Non-electric, water powered technology