London and the South East of England are some of the areas most affected by hard water in the UK. But the reality is around 60% of the UK is classed as having hard or very hard water. Its effects on your household fixtures and fittings are obvious and visible. But the effect of hard water on industrial and commercial properties can be wide-ranging and devastating. Read on to find out how hard water affects a wide variety of industries and what can be done about it.
What causes hard water?
Water is considered hard if it has a high concentration of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. These elements can be picked up by groundwater as it passes through soil and rocks. Although they are naturally-occurring, excessive amounts in the water can cause a wide range of, potentially, serious issues. The presence of limescale is the most obvious sign that your area’s water is hard, but it isn’t the only one.
What are the effects of hard water on Industry?
From clogged pipes to hot-water equipment failure, many commercial building owners and facilities managers are aware of the problems caused by hard water. But the impact of hard water on the lifespan of plumbing infrastructure, energy use and the environment may be less well known.
Hard water’s impact on infrastructure
Hard water can drastically reduce the lifespan of industrial and commercial equipment. This is due to minerals being deposited and hardening on most appliances they come into sustained contact with. Over time this can cause equipment to fail and require repairing or replacing.
It is possible to salvage equipment by periodically flushing impurities to the drain and replacing the water in the boiler. But this means using water, energy and chemicals, which means more resources being literally flushed down the drain.
Hard water’s impact on energy consumption
Having a commercial property in a hard water area can have a huge impact on your energy consumption. Over time, the minerals found in hard water can settle on heating elements and the internal surfaces of boilers. This build up of scale reduces the efficiency of the heating elements, making it require more energy to heat the surrounding water. Left untreated, this can end up costing you a fortune in increased utility bills as the boilers use more energy to provide the same heating output.