Limescale is found in hard water and it results from calcium and magnesium components present in groundwater. Once they combine, the two elements makeup calcium carbonates, commonly referred to as the Calcites.
Before knowing how to filter limescale from water, you want to know how it formed, right?
The Formation of Limescale
The calcites from calcium and magnesium interact with the chalk-producing components such as lime and marble in your underground water. Next, the water absorbs the calcium carbonate elements and retains them in a suspended form on your appliances.
Upon heating, the calcites residue on your appliances is higher as the process leaves behind a higher amount of limescale deposits.
This explains the white chalky substance you witness on your water heater, coffee makers, and inside your kettle.
The most common indicator of limescale water content is the white chalky residue in your water appliances after heating.
However, people prefer to test their water through various methods, including the home testing method.
Under this procedure, you half fill a bottle with your tap water, add liquid soap and vigorously shake the mixture. If there are fluffy bubbles and white milky coloration, then that means there are limescale deposits in your water.
However, you don’t have to worry about the presence of limescale in your water since there aren’t any known health complications related to it.
You may ask then if limescale deposits do not have adverse effects on my health, why should I bother filtering it out?
Reasons to Remove Limescale from Your Hard water
There are several reasons why you should eliminate limescale from your water:
- To avoid clogging your pipes, water heater, bathtubs, showerheads, kettles, and coffee makers.
- To avoid lowering your water pressure due to minimized pipe diameter.
- Control growth of bacteria in your pipes
- Save money on repairs for your appliances.
- Prevent increased energy cost brought by high energy heating
- Avoid the chalky residue that remains on your cleaning surfaces.
- Avoid hardening of your hair and cracking your skin.
- Make your cleaning work easier.
- Prevent your laundry from hardening and discoloring
- Avoid breakdown of your whole house plumbing system.
Ways of Removing Limescale from Water
1. Use Water Softeners
Softeners are the most common and effective method to clean the limescale content in your water.
Invest in a commercial water softener. Softeners comprise specific salt particles that dissolve in the hard water.
The salt content prevents the limescale and other mineral content from sticking to surfaces. However, consider applying the softener before your water gets to the heater, as this will lead to the limescale not being removed.
Make sure you buy softeners approved by the relevant bodies and use them as prescribed on the packaging.
Install the water softeners at the main entry point supply line, as this ensures that your home has access to limescale-free water.
Take note that there are several types of water softeners.
- Salt-based softener
- Salt-free softeners
- Dual-tank water softeners
- Magnetic water softener
As the name suggests, this softener increases the salt content in your water by a very minimal percentage.
The softener uses the ion-exchange approach. The calcium and magnesium ions that harden your tap water are attached to the softener as resin and then exchanged with the sodium (salt).
These softeners have a Templated Assisted Crystallisation(TAC) unit that uses the polymer beads which bond the tiny nucleation sites. These softeners do not eliminate the heavy metal content in your water.
Through neutralization, the crystals break down, thus inhibiting limescale in your hard water. Though these systems are pricey, you get value for your money as they can last up to three years.
This process has two resin tanks. The two tanks’ essence is that while one tank is under the regeneration process, the other tank services your home with soft water. This ensures your household is never short of clean water.
Despite these softeners handling higher quantities, they occupy bigger space and are a bit complicated to install.
Magnetic Water Softener
This water softener functions best under small spaces as it is strategically placed on the pipe. The magnetic field neutralizes the heavy metal and minerals and thereby clears the limescale deposits.
When buying a softener, consider the following factors.
- Available space
- Bypass valve
- Regeneration cycles, especially for the salt-based softeners that must regenerate the salt, run out.
2. Reverse Osmosis
This is a water purification process that uses a filtration unit with a special reverse osmosis membrane.
The semi-permeable membrane with tiny pores that work to prevent the impurities in your flow from proceeding with the process.
A reverse osmosis unit comprises filters in between the membrane, and the filters work together with the membrane to get rid of limescale, chemical, and minerals.
3. Ions Exchange
Calcium and magnesium are responsible for making your water hard, eventually leading to the limescale content.
This procedure works by removing the calcium and magnesium ions in your water. Through highly acidic cation resins, the beads increase your water’s sodium content, eventually softening your water.
Applying this method to eliminate the limescale content from your system needs to be monitored closely as a mishap could waste the resource during the procedure. In case this procedure goes wrong, it can not be reversed, and you are left with salty content.
When not carried out accurately, the process might lead to highly acidic water, but ion exchange is the most practiced process to remove limewater by most coffee shops.
4. Combined Scale Removal Filters
As a method to remove the limescale, the process involves using filters that use multiple media beds.
Mostly, the combination includes granular activated carbon combined with phosphate or the pyrolox chemical. Then, through ion exchange, the filters remove the limescale and soften your hard water.
This method is highly effective as combining the different filter media prevents high acidity levels in your water. Furthermore, this method softens your water and eliminates most of the impurities in your water.
The filtration procedure also retains the important mineral content in your water.
Under this method, you will have to heat your water and collect the vapor in tubes in the form of vapor. After this, condense the vapor in a different container.
The water harvested in the second container will not have limescale content. The downside of using this method is that it may take you time to get the soft water. Furthermore, most home distillers are small in size, and the large ones could be expensive and bulky.
6. Chemical Reactors
In most cases, people use chemicals in their water systems to remove the limescale build-up in their appliances. For instance, the additives are poured into the toilet bowls and showerheads to remove the build-up, and this exercise makes your cleaning task easier.
Similarly, you add the chemicals to your tap water to soften it.
You will find most of these chemicals in your grocery store or even online. However, take caution to ensure your pets do not drink the treated content as it may harm them.
The use of vinegar to extract limescale is the most common method most households use for this purpose, especially for a small amount of water.
All you have to do is buy the ordinary white vinegar and put it in your unit. The vinegar will break down the limescale components in your water.
This process leaves your content soft and free from minerals like limescale, magnesium, and calcium responsible for hard water.
8. Magnetic water descaling
With modern technology, advancements have been made on more ways to get rid of limescale content from your water.
This method uses a magnetic scale preventer, which is fitted at your water line. The magnetic component traps the limescale content in your water.
As water flows past the magnetic field, the limescale particles present in your pipes are bound together, preventing them from causing limescale build-up on the surfaces.
Consider placing this unit at the entry point of your water before the heating point of your water.
9. Electrolytic Water Treatment
This system is similar to the magnetic descaler, only that this one uses electrolytic components instead of the magnetic scale.
The electrolytic scale, which has zinc particles, reacts with the copper components on your pipes to eliminate the limescale. The Charge that this reaction causes prevent the minerals in your water from flowing into your plumbing system and eventually improves your hard water taste.
These systems are more effective in limescale removal than magnetic ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you filter out hard water?
Yes, you can filter out hard water and eliminate the calcium and magnesium contents responsible for your water’s hardening.
Several types of filters, such as the ion-exchange filter, can be used to eliminate limescale in your water and reduce the build-up deposits. This residue could damage your plumbing system and leave a white chalky residue on your appliances.
You can choose to add a carbon filter to your filtration process to eliminate more contaminants from your water.
2. How do you remove limescale from hard water?
There are several methods that you can use to get rid of the limescale from hard water.
Top on the list of these methods is the use of water softeners. Other methods include using filters, ion exchange, and vinegar to eliminate the limescale and improve your water quality.
3. What is the effect of having calcium and magnesium in my water?
The major effect of having these ions in your drinking water is causing hardness in water.
High levels of these ions in your drinking water can affect your health, cause your skin to dehydrate, and harden your hair.
4. How can I ensure my whole house has access to soft water?
You can access soft water by placing softeners at the mainline water supply’s entry to your home. This also applies to the filters. Placing the systems at this point gives your home access to soft water all through its lifespan.
5. How do I get Limescale from my tap water?
Apply any of the methods discussed above, especially using water softeners at the entry point of your main water supply source to your home. The method is both effective and affordable.
Limescale may not have any known adverse effects on your health. However, it leaves a white chalky residue on your water appliances and can cause clogging.
Cleaning these items can prove to be a hard task, but you can consider using vinegar, lemon, sodium bicarbonate to get rid of the residue staining easily.
When present in water, the limescale content hardens your water and could alter your tea and coffee taste.
The limescale residue deposits minimize the lifespan of your water appliances and could damage your whole house plumbing unit. Moreover, the water may affect the texture of your hair and leave your skin highly dehydrated. That is why knowing how to filter limescale from water is such a huge step in getting clean water in your home