Water Hardness in My Area: How Hard Is My Water?
Do you know the water hardness in your area? Are you wondering if it’s safe to drink? Over 60% of the UK live in a hard water area, so we’ve created this comprehensive water hardness guide to explain what exactly water hardness is in your area.
Water hardness levels are different across the country, and if you’ve moved property to another region and are looking to set up your water bill, you might be wondering whether you live in a soft or hard water area.
Generally, water hardness will not affect the quality of your drinking water or your health, but it’s worth knowing whether you live in a hard water area so you know what potential problems might occur, and how it impacts your home bills.
Although you can’t switch water suppliers, the water hardness in your area is not based on your water supplier, rather the quality of the rocks that are common in your region.
What Is Hard Water?
Water hardness is determined by the amount of minerals that are dissolved in your water. Typically these minerals are magnesium, potassium, and calcium that are concentrated in the water.
How Is Hard Water Made?
All water begins as soft water when it falls from the sky as rain. When it falls to the ground, the soft water will collect the minerals of the rock that it touches and, depending on the type of rock it lands on, the amount of minerals will differ.
Hard water is typically formed where the rain has fallen on porous rock, like limestone. The rainwater trickles through the rock and absorbs the minerals. If the water falls on impervious rock, like granite, the rainwater does not penetrate deeper into the ground and so stays soft.
How To Measure Hardness of Water?
Water hardness is measured by a rating of parts per million (PPM) that counts the amount of minerals dissolved into the water. The higher the PPM rating, the harder the water is. In general, water that has a rating of 0-50 PPM is considered soft, and water with a rating of 250 PPM is considered hard.
Here’s a table showing the PPM ratings and the water hardness:
|0 to 50 PPM||Soft|
|50 to 100 PPM||Moderately Soft|
|100 to 150 PPM||Slightly Hard|
|150 to 200 PPM||Moderate Hard|
|200 to 275 PPM||Hard|
|275 to 350 PPM||Very Hard|
|Over 350 PPM||Aggressively Hard|
How Hard Is the Water in My Area?
Water hardness varies across the country so depending on where you live in the UK, your water hardness will be different. Typically, water is hardest in the South of England and London due to the type of rock that the water passes through. In Northern England, Scotland, and West Wales, the water is much softer than in the east of the country.
Here is a map showing the water hardness levels across the country:
Water Hardness by Postcode
You can usually check to see whether you live in a hard water area by your postcode with a hard water postcode checker.
You can usually find a hard water postcode checker on your water supplier’s website but they will list your address only if you are in their supply area. For example if you are not a Thames Water customer, your water hardness won’t come up.
Curious to know how your water bill compares? People up and down the country pay differently for their water bills and it can be difficult knowing if you are paying the right amount. That’s why we’ve created an Average UK Water Bill guide to give you a good idea of the right bill.
Is Hard Water Safe To Drink?
Hard water is safe to drink, although it usually has a strange metallic taste that can be unpleasant for many people. In fact there are potential benefits for your body through drinking hard water. Since you are intaking in water with the minerals, you can have your daily potassium and calcium just by having a glass of water!
What Is the Ideal Water Hardness?
Although water hardness won’t affect your health, there is a range where the water hardness is ideal. This is usually between 100 to 300 PPM, but of course it can vary depending on the city or region you live in. The trick is not to drink water too hard since you don’t want to overdose on the minerals.
Water Hardness Problems
Despite the benefits of hard water, there are some common problems that come up that can affect your day to day tasks. Hard water can also be responsible for clogging up drains and damaging pipes and tiles.
Due to the higher concentration of minerals, sometimes you might notice a white crust form on taps and sinks. These are mineral deposits that are residue of the hard water. You may also notice that limescale builds up after boiling the kettle. Hard water can also leave stains on windows.
Although hard water does not directly affect your health, washing with hard water can cause clothes to feel itchy and it makes you more likely that’ll have dry skin and possibly hair loss. If you have low to no water or your water meter reading is strange, a blocked drain by hard water mineral deposits could be the issue.
Problem with your water quality? If you’ve noticed something funny about your water, such as water discoloration or it has a strange smell. Get in contact with your water supplier so they can set it right. Do not contact the water regulator Ofwat as they only deal with anti-competitive behaviour.
How Does Hard Water Affect Your Bills?
Water suppliers in hard water areas do not necessarily charge more for your water rates, however it can have an impact on your overall bills in indirect ways. Hard water tends to add costs in the following ways:
- Cleaning products - you might find yourself cleaning more often to keep the limescale down.
- Higher heating costs - mineral build up can make it harder for water to move about and you can lose heat, meaning you need to leave the heating on for longer.
- Clothing - washing your clothes with hard water can cause them damage more quickly than with soft water so you might need to replace them.
- Appliances and Plumbing - hard water can cause damage to your appliances and plumbing meaning you might have to pay more often for maintenance.
Struggling with your water bills? If you’re struggling with your water bills, you could benefit from having a traditional or a smart water meter installed. Check out our UK Water Meter guide to find out if you’ll make a saving.
If you are living in a hard water area, you should try and save as much you can on your household bills.
How To Make Hard Water Soft
Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can soften your hard water and reduce the negative effects of your hard water.
Here are some of the thing you can do to to reduce water hardness:
- Reduce the temperature of your hot water to 60℃
- Metal scale collector in the kettle
- Pour vinegar into drains to avoid mineral deposits
- Install a water softener
You can find many cleaning products specially for removing limescale.
What Is A Water Softener?
If you live in an area where the water hardness is higher than 300 PPM, you should get a water softener installed. A water softener is a device that is fitted to your water supply pipe that takes the water hardness out.
The way a water softener works is by taking out the calcium and magnesium particles and exchanging them, via a chemical reaction, with sodium particles. This makes your water softer.