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Tackle Limescale Buildup With Our Simple Solutions

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Tackle Limescale Buildup With Our Simple Solutions

What is Limescale?

Limescale is a hard chalky deposit that builds up inside appliances that use water, like kettles, dishwashers, washing machines and showers. It is made up of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are naturally present in hard water.

As hard water is heated, these minerals come out of solution and stick to surfaces. Over time, the deposits build up and form limescale. This can cause problems like blocking pipes, reducing water flow and damaging appliances.

Limescale is a particular issue in areas with hard water, but it can affect any home or business connected to the water supply. The amount of limescale deposit depends on:

  • The hardness of your water – Higher mineral content means more limescale.
  • Water temperature – Hot water dissolves less calcium, so more limescale forms.
  • Flow rate – Slow moving water deposits more limescale.

Why Remove Limescale?

Limescale may seem harmless, but it can cause a number of problems if left to build up:

  • Blocked pipes and fittings – Reduces water pressure and flow.
  • Damaged appliances – Can impair function and efficiency.
  • Less efficient heating – Limescale on heating elements wastes energy.
  • Musty odor – Caused by mould and algae growing in limescale deposits.
  • Stained surfaces – Limescale marks can be hard to remove.

By removing limescale regularly you can prolong the life of appliances, maintain efficiency and prevent plumbing problems.

Effective Ways to Remove Limescale

Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic, so it dissolves mineral deposits very effectively.

To use it for descaling:

  • Pour undiluted vinegar into affected areas like kettles, showers and sinks.
  • Leave it to soak for a few hours, overnight if possible.
  • Scrub with an old toothbrush or cloth to remove loosened deposits.
  • Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

Pros:

  • Natural and non-toxic.
  • Safe for most surfaces.
  • Removes stains too.

Cons:

  • Can take several treatments for heavy scale buildup.
  • Lingering vinegar odor.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a natural limescale remover commonly sold as a cleaning powder.

To use:

  • Dissolve powder in warm water to make a cleaning solution.
  • Submerge scaled objects like showerheads and let soak for a few hours.
  • Scrub deposits away with a brush.

Pros:

  • Works quickly to dissolve limescale.
  • Leaves no odors or residue.

Cons:

  • Can be harsh on some metals if left too long.
  • Not as easily available as vinegar.

Limescale Filter

A limescale filter attaches to your main water supply. It contains media that helps prevent scale from forming and build up in the first place.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance – just replace cartridges periodically.
  • Protects your whole plumbing system.

Cons:

  • Installation can be complicated.
  • Filter replacements are ongoing costs.

Preventing Limescale Buildup

As well as descaling, you can take steps to minimize limescale formation:

  • Flush pipes regularly – Letting water flow removes standing water with minerals.
  • Use water softeners – Ion exchange softeners reduce water hardness.
  • Clean appliances frequently – Don’t let scale build up.
  • Set heaters to optimal temperatures – Lower temps deposit less limescale.

When to Call a Professional

For heavy limescale buildup in your plumbing system, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

They have industrial descaling equipment and can fully flush out your pipes without damaging them. A professional cleaning may be needed:

  • If you have very hard water.
  • When descaling chemicals are not effective.
  • If you have reduced water flow or pressure.
  • For large plumbing systems like in businesses or apartment blocks.

Preventing and removing limescale promptly can save you from expensive plumbing repairs down the line. But don’t hesitate to call the experts if you have trouble shifting stubborn buildup.

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