​​​ ​​ 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hard Water - BWT Best Water Technology 

BWT UK conducted some consumer research about hard water and here is the result

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hard Water

31.8.2017 9:00   Some need-to-know facts about Hard Water
top hard water areas uk

Most of the nation lives with hard water and suffers its effects daily, but there is still a surprising number of us who aren’t fully clued up on the how’s, why’s and what’s of hard and soft water. 

As experts in water, we at BWT conducted some consumer research to lift the lid on the realities of living with hard water and to bring you some need-to-know facts. 

Firstly, if you live in Ipswich you’re the unlucky ones. Local water authority data shows the Suffolk town has harder water than any other in the UK. Hard water is measured by the quantities of calcium carbonate, a key mineral component of hard water. Ipswich has 423 milligrams per litre of calcium carbonate, 44 milligrams more than Colchester, the second highest hard water town. 

The top five hard water towns include Luton (360 mg/l), Norwich (359 mg/l) and Watford (358 mg/l).

Our findings showed one third of Brits have experienced limescale damage to their home appliances and features, such as showers, washing machines, taps and pipes. Kettles come off worst with 80 per cent of us having noticed the effect of water on this kitchen essential. 

Interestingly, more than a quarter believe their mains water has had a detrimental impact on their skin, 28 per cent thinks its effecting their hair and 14 per cent thinks it is ageing their skin, making it look older. 

These impacts are felt so strongly that a fifth of us buy products, such as creams and lotions, especially to counteract the effect of hard water on our skin and hair, which costs an average of £218.76 per year. 

We use water a lot. In fact, Brits will boil the kettle 82,095 times during the average adult lifetime, and use the washing machine 5,224 times. We have an average of 15,458 showers and 3,567 baths during our adult years. But this usage takes its toll if you live in a hard water area as our research also found limescale damage on appliances cost an average of £311.87 in repairs in the last five years. 

Tellingly, the research of 2,000 UK adults highlighted that one fifth have no idea if they live in a hard water area or not.

So what is hard water?

Hard water has a higher concentration of minerals such as calcium carbonate, calcium and magnesium compared to soft water which has less. These minerals enter the water and make it ‘hard’ when the water filters through limestone and chalk deposits, which are mainly made up of calcium and magnesium deposits. This explains why hard water areas often have chalky soil and limestone buildings. It is these mineral deposits which lead to scale in your appliances and surfaces around the home.



  1. Ipswich has the highest levels of calcium carbonate in its water
  2. More detergent is needed to get your clothes clean and soft
  3. Household appliances will become damaged and less efficient as scale deposits build up from the water
  4. It can damage hair colour and cause dye to fade more quickly
  5. Soap scum builds up on your skin, blocking your pores and making moisturisers less effective
  6. Hard water may make your skin age faster and look older than it is; the minerals in hard water can strip moisture from your skin whilst preventing the natural oils in your body from doing their job
  7. Elements in hard water such as iron and calcium, can form free radicals that damage healthy skin cells and cause a breakdown of collagen, leading to fine lines and wrinkles
  8. Even a 1.6mm coating of limescale on a heating element in the heating system can make it up to 12 per cent less effective
  9. Acid based cleaners are needed to remove scale and water stains left behind by hard water. These cleaners damage glass and chrome over time
  10. Hard water can make your shower less powerful as it clogs up the shower head with mineral deposits


   Place: Calcium carbonate levels ppm or mg/l: 
 1  Ipswich  423
 2  Colchester  379
 3  Luton  360
 4  Norwich  359
 5  Watford  358
 6  Stevenage  355
 7  Swindon  343
 8  Harrow  335
 9  Hemel Hempstead   333
 10  St Albans  323
 11  Reading  323
 12  Cambridge  322
 13  Dartford  315
 14  Hull  313
 15  Bath  312
 16  Bromley  311
 17  Milton Keynes  309
 18  Canterbury  308
 19  Slough  303
 20  Portsmouth  296

Source: The research was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of BWT surveying 2,000 UK residents. Carried out online August 2017.
Calcium Carbonate levels for postcode towns was gathered via local water authority websites 8th – 14th August 2017
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