Water hardness is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium carbonate present in the water. These minerals dissolve into the rainwater (which is naturally soft) as it flows through limestone or sandstone.
Due to the geology of the South West, the only area that we supply that’s considered to have hard water is East Devon where we get the water from underground using boreholes.
Find more about the water in your area by using our Water Quality Postcode search below, and for more information, please check out our handy guide on water hardness.
Depending on how hard your water is, the way you use your appliances, and use water in general, may need to change.
You might also experience some staining issues - our handy guide on staining will help you work out why.
|Appliance||Soft water - what to do||Hard water - what to do|
|Kettle||No special requirements, although you might notice discolouration over time.||Avoid boiling the same water more than once to reduce limescale build-up.|
|Boiler and central heating||No special requirements.||Setting the boiler to 60-63 degrees can help avoid limescale.|
|Iron||No special requirements.||Use the lowest appropriate temperature to reduce limescale build-up.|
|Washing machine||Use the lower amounts of washing powders and fabric conditioners recommended by manufacturers||
You may find you need to use more powder and conditioners to get soapy water, and limescale may build up in the machine over time.
|Dishwashers||Use the lower settings recommended by manufacturers.||Use the higher settings for softening as recommended by the manufacturer. You might also consider using salt tablets, as these help reduce the risk of scale build up.|
|Baths and fittings||No special requirements.||Unfortunately, one of the bugbears of having hard water is the limescale build up on things like taps, tiles, and showerheads. However, you can keep on top of it by regularly using anti-limescale cleaners.|
|Using soap and washing up liquid||Only use small amounts – it’s all you’ll need to get a good lather.||You might find you have to use more soap to build up a good lather, and it might take a while because hard water is not bubble-friendly. But the effectiveness of the soap remains the same, regardless of the number of bubbles.|
If your water is classed as hard, you may choose to install water softeners in your home.
However, the Drinking Water Inspectorate recommends you don’t soften drinking water because it can increase the levels of sodium which is harmful if you have high blood pressure. It can also be more corrosive to metal pipework which leads to higher concentrations of metal in the water.