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Essex Revealed As Limescale Hotspot With The County Home To Some Of The Hardest Water In The UK

10 Mar Essex Revealed As Limescale Hotspot With The County Home To Some Of The Hardest Water In The UK

Essex is home to some of the hardest water in the UK meaning many households across the county are likely to have high levels of limescale building up in their pipework and boilers – costing residents extra in heating bills.

The 2021 UK Hard Water Index, compiled by Harvey Water Softeners, has ranked the 50 hardest water locations based on the latest readings of calcium carbonate per litre levels for each area – the metric used to measure the severity of hard water.

With 335 parts per million (PPM), Basildon ranks seventh for hard water in the UK. Colchester (332ppm) and Chelmsford (327ppm) also feature in the top 12.

The research found Ipswich (378ppm) has the hardest water in the UK followed by Norwich and Sunderland.

The top 15 towns and cities with the UK’s hardest water: 

Location  Water hardness level (parts per million) Kg of limescale in the home (based on a family of four) 
Ipswich 378 70.0
Norwich 346 64.1
Sunderland 343 63.5
St Albans 342 63.3
Bury St Edmunds 339 62.8
Stevenage 338 62.6
Basildon 335 62.0
Colchester 332 61.5
Reading 329 60.9
Chelmsford 327 60.6
Canterbury 324 60.0
Watford 320 59.3
Cambridge 315 58.3
Hull 314 58.1
Lincoln 312 57.8

It’s estimated limescale costs households in hard water areas an extra £180 a year on heating.

Homes in these areas potentially accumulate a staggering 1.5mm of limescale within their internal plumbing over a year, which can increase average gas costs by 28 per cent.

As well as disrupting heating systems, limescale is a household menace when it comes to cleaning as it causes difficult stains around baths and basins, sinks, toilet bowls and shower heads.

Scientific research has also proven a link between water quality and skin conditions like eczema and dryness.

Tony Jones, general manager at Harvey Water Softeners, said:

“Hard water is a blight on many households’ finances, health, and efforts to protect the environment. It is well documented that hard water causes limescale build-up which can lead to bigger bills and lower energy efficiency, however it’s also important to consider the impact it can have on your carbon footprint.

“While many people often refer to how the hardness of water can affect its taste, it’s actually the other implications of hard water on the home and to lives in general that are greater causes for concern, particularly at a time when families are spending more time at home and using their heating and appliances more than ever before.”

Hard water typically builds as a result of an area’s water supply percolating through limestone or chalky rock.

It’s estimated that hard water in Basildon can cause up to 62kg of limescale – equivalent to just less than the average woman’s weight in the UK – to be accumulated in the home every year for a family of four.

To mitigate the impact of hard water, Harvey’s have put together some of their top tips on combating some of the most common problems people living in hard water areas face.