How hard is my water?

Nov 21, 2022

The short answer is that it depends on where you live. However, the chances are that you are more than likely to live in a hard water. Around 13 million households are located in parts of the UK where water is considered to be hard – that’s around 60% of the entire housing stock.

What is hard water?

You may not realise this, but water in its natural state is never hard. When it falls as rain, water is naturally soft. The change in its composition is due to the soil beneath out feet.

Across the UK, much of the rocky underlay is composed of either chalk or limestone. These layers are rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium. When rainwater permeates through the ground, these minerals get to work and have the effect of turning the water hard from soft. That’s nature for you! Similarly, if you live in part of the country where non-porous rocks like granite are more typical, the rainwater isn’t able to penetrate the ground, so the water remains soft.

If you thought it had anything to do with the water companies who provide your supply, you’d be wrong. They treat the water to ensure it is safe to drink, but they don’t affect its hardness or softness.

Where is hard water found in the UK?

London and the south-east particularly, together with eastern England, are the areas where water is at its hardest. The further west and north you go – Wales and Scotland, for instance – the softer the water tends to be.

How do we know how hard or soft water is?
The relative hardness of our water is measured by a parts per million (ppm) calculation. This describes the concentration of mineral particles, such as calcium and magnesium, that are dissolved in the water supply.
If you live in an area where the reading is above 200ppm, this designates hard water. If the measurement is near or above 300ppm, your water supply is considered to be aggressively hard.

The chart below provides the relative hardness levels, based on the parts per million rating:

0 – 50 PPMSoft
51 – 100PPMModerately soft
101 – 150PPMSlightly hard
151 – 200PPMModerately hard
201 – 275 PPMHard
276 – 350 PPMVery hard
350 + PPMAggressively hard

Did you know that a water softener will bring these readings down to virtually zero?

What is the problem with hard water?

Hard water is the primary cause of limescale. And no matter how hard you try to keep limescale at bay, for as long as you have hard water in your home, scale build-up will keep recurring. It isn’t just a nuisance and a devil to keep everything clean, it can also a have seriously bad impact on your central heating system and everyday household appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, kettles and even the iron. Indeed, have you noticed how the element gets furred up? That’s limescale for you!

Every time you have a bath or take a shower, start up the washing machine, load the dishwasher or put on the heating, the malign effects of hard water will start to make themselves known.

These are the detrimental effects of hard water:

Dried out skin
Limp, lifeless looking hair
Starchy, coarse-feeling laundry
Stained surfaces (kitchen tops and sinks, shower screens etc),
More elbow grease needed for cleaning
Clogged up pipework
Inefficient appliances and increased likelihood of breakdown
Energy waste
Higher fuel bills

What happens when pipes get blocked with limescale?

It’s rather like having high levels of cholesterol and fat blocking your blood vessels, putting more pressure on your pump (the heart). The same applies to the pipework in your central heating system. The pipes get internally clogged up with limescale, meaning that more energy is required to push the water through the system. And more energy usage equates to increased fuel bills.

How can hard water be stopped?

Unless you want to move to an area of the country where there is soft water in the mains supply, the best policy is to have a water softener installed. In an instant, you will bring an end to all the problems that hard water creates.

How does a water softener work?

A water softener connects to the mains supply, so that the hard water is channelled through the softener, which works its “magic” to make the water soft, ensuring that all parts of the property receive softened water.

The “science” bit, to transform hard water into soft water is done through a process called ion exchange. The tank or tanks in the water softener are full of microscopic resin beads, which contain sodium ions. The calcium and magnesium hard water-causing minerals, which are positively charged ions, are attracted to the sodium ions, which remove or replace them – hence the term ion exchange. And hey presto, you have softened water!

Are water softeners easy to fit?

Yes, especially our MolliVita range. In fact, they are designed in such a straightforward way that, as long as you have basic DIY skills, you should be able to install one yourself. They would typically fit under the kitchen sink, although if space is limited, there are plenty of other options as far as safe and effective positioning is concerned.

If you would prefer that a qualified engineer carries out the installation – just let us know. We will arrange a time with you for someone to attend your property.

Are water softeners suitable for all sizes of property?
Yes. The beauty of the MolliVita range is that we have water softeners that are ideal for smaller apartments or studio flats, right through to large executive properties with bedrooms and bathrooms coming out of their ears!

And you certainly don’t have to pay through the nose to be able to afford one. We pride ourselves on selling the UK’s most affordable (and reliable) water softeners.

What are the running costs of a water softener?

One of the reasons why soft water always wins over hard water, is that the overheads for our water softeners pale into insignificance compared to the financial burden associated with hard water.

There is a one-off payment for your water softener – and thereafter, if it needs replacing, we will supply a brand new one FREE OF CHARGE. So, in effect, you can enjoy a water softener for life. All you need is maintain a monthly payment of £9.99 to cover any repairs or replacement parts. The only other cost is for salt, which is required to run and regenerate the water softener, to ensure it maintains a consistent and constant level of soft water. This should cost no more than £2 per person per month.

Set against this, most households that are running hard water will be spending an extra and unnecessary £1000 every year, to cover the cost of additional cleaning products, detergents, along with repairs and maintenance of household appliances – as well as higher electricity and gas bills.

If you are fed up with having nothing but hard water coming into your home, it’s really straightforward to make the switch to softened water. MolliVita Water Softeners are here to offer UK homeowners the most affordable, hassle-free route to a soft water lifestyle!

Check out our range, order online, or if you would like to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team in person, please don’t hesitate to contact us at MolliVita Water Softeners on 01243 252360 or via email:

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