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Water hardness in Ireland

Water hardness has great influence on how often there is a need for descaling household appliances - e.g., the washing machine and the coffee machine. The water hardness level indicates how much calcium carbonate is in your water. If there is a high concentration of calcium carbonate in the water, limescale will build up, and you will need to descale various water-consuming machines more often. Conversely, if there is a low concentration of calcium carbonate in the water, you won’t need to descale as frequently.

Water hardness will also affect how much soap is needed to wash clothes in the washing machine.

In most places of Ireland, there will be a need to descale washing machines, coffee machines, electric kettles, etc. We recommend this Professional Descaler.

Not sure whether the water is hard or soft?

If you are unsure about the water hardness in your area, you can look it up here.

However, often you won’t have any doubts, as limescale will build up in electric kettles, and you will be able to see calcium residue after boiling water in pots and pans. If this is the case, then it will be a good idea to descale all your water consuming appliances – such as washing machines, coffee machines, kettles etc.

Water hardness is measured in parts per million (PPM). Hardness rating is divided in the following categories:

PPM Hardness
0 – 50 PPM Soft
51 – 100PPM Moderately soft
101 – 150PPM Slightly hard
151 – 200PPM Moderately hard
201 – 275 PPM Hard
276 – 350 PPM Very hard
350 + PPM Aggressively hard

Benefits of living in a hard water area

Overall, in Ireland we have relatively hard water. And even though, you will need to descale water-consuming household appliances in areas with hard water, living in an area with hard water is fortunately also a benefit. There are advantages in having high calcium content in the water, as your body will absorb calcium and minerals when you drink water with high levels of calcium.

In fact, some studies indicate that areas with hard water have lower incidences of caries and, as a result, fewer cavities.

In addition to having less risk of getting cavities when you live in an area with hard water, there are also indications that hard water can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as areas with hard water also has a higher content of magnesium.

Both are stated in a report on Central softening of drinking water (report in Danish), composed by the Danish Ministry of Environment.

Benefits of living in an area with soft water

There are also benefits worth mentioning in relation to living in areas with soft water.

Softer water provides household budget savings and at the same time makes everyday life easier regarding the reduced need for descaling household appliances (and purchase of descaling agents).

At the same time, you will find that a simple thing like washing your hair is easier when you have soft water, as the shampoo washes out more easily when the calcium content is low.

In addition, there is lesser risk of dry scalp when the water is soft, just as the risk of dry skin is generally not as pronounced in areas with soft water. For example, there is a study that shows that a high calcium content, affects the risk of dry and itchy skin (especially for children). If you live in an area with hard water, dry and itchy skin can most often be prevented with lotion – according to this study.

Lastly, there are also benefits to soft water that are not related to personal care – for example, in areas with soft water, you will find it easier to get the windows sparkling clean, as soft water does not leave calcium streaks after window polishing. Limescale build up will also be seen to a lesser extent on glass and porcelain after dishwashing.

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