remove limescale from tap water

How to remove limescale from tap water?

Limescale in tap water can be a big problem. Coffee machines and kettle get clogged up, glasses get tinted and difficult to clean and sometimes even the faucets and shower heads get blocked.

Therefore many people want to remove limescale from tap water. 

In this article we will explore what limescale is, potential health issues with limescale, types of limescale filters and the best alternative to filter limescale.

What is limescale in tap water?

Limescale is actually the result of hard water. Hard water is filled with minerals including calcium, carbonate, magnesium and manganese. When scale deposits are showing on your coffee maker, tea kettle, carafes and water glasses there is probably a “hard” problem in your home. Statistics reveal that 85% of European and similarly 85% of US homes are affected by such issues.

Limescale is that hard, chalky residue that lurks inside your taps, pipes and even kettle, left behind by hard water that contains above average levels of dissolved minerals (TDS). And while hard water and limescale isn’t dangerous, it could be very annoying and contribute to poor taste.

Is limescale in tap water bad for you?

Generally the calcium and magnesium that makes up limescale is not unhealthy. Limescale, in normal tap water quantities, does not have any bad repercussions on your organism. On the contrary: most mineral waters you find in stores have minerals like magnesium and calcium that are good for your body. The daily recommended minimum intake of calcium is 500-1200mg and magnesium 300mg. If you drink two liters of water a day, you could be getting 10 to 20% of your daily calcium requirement. Even more importantly you get up to a third of your required magnesium from tap water.

What about hard tap water? 

Hard water is the result of high mineral content which usually includes calcium and magnesium. It has no known adverse health effects. WHO says that in addition, hard water, particularly very hard water, could actually provide an important supplementary contribution to total calcium and magnesium intake.

There is some evidence from epidemiological studies that magnesium or hardness has a protective effect on cardiovascular mortality. At the moment the evidence is being debated and does not prove causality. There may also be health conditions where the patients should probably avoid hard water including those with kidney stones. But once again the science is inconclusive. 

How do I remove the limescale from tap water?

There are several methods to remove limescale from tap water including

Conventional softeners:

Removes calcium and magnesium and replaces it with sodium. This is good for preventing scale build up but not so good for your health.

Reverse Osmosis:

Uses a membrane with super small holes to push through the “pure” water and block other chemicals such as calcium, magnesium, lead and more. Read more about Reverse Osmosis Filters.

Ion Exchange (IX): 

Generally uses cation resins that are strong acid/strong cation (SAC) resin beads to reduce hardness levels and increase sodium levels by removing scale-forming calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions. 

The downside is the removal process can make the water slightly acidic (like naturally soft water). This can sometimes take a few weeks to get used to if you have been drinking hard water all of your life! On the upside, it makes very good cups of tea and coffee. In fact, most high street coffee shops use this for their hot drinks.

Scale inhibition filters:

These filters do not use scale removal, but employ scale inhibition to help keep your kettle clean. These filters use a phosphate-based chemical to pre-react with the hardness in an attempt to stop the formation of limescale. The water will generally taste more like the water from a carbon filter, but won’t usually give as good of a performance in preventing limescale as a genuine scale removal cartridge.

Combined scale removal filters:

These are filter that use multiple media types that usually includes granular activated carbon in combination with phosphate, or they can contain pyrolox or water softening resin (Ion Exchange). Depending on the type of filter media contained by these filters, they either remove manganese and iron, or prevent limescale deposits by transforming calcium ions into calcium crystals.

A big advantage of these is that the mix of media can balance out any side effects such as sodium or acidity. 

Magnetic / Catalytic / Ionization Devices:

These are magical magnets sold in hardware stores and on social media that claim to soften the water with the magnetic force. Lab testing of these devices have generally shown that they don’t work.

What does TAPP use to remove limescale from tap water?

TAPP 2 Limescale Filter

TAPP Water spent the past 2 years experimenting with different technologies to come up with the best mix between taste, scale removal effectiveness and capacity. The result is a new cartridge for TAPP 2 using the latest carbon block technology combined with Ion Exchange resins. The cartridges will be available for sales from Nov/Dec 2019. 

Please sign up to be the first to try out with a 10% introduction discount.

What are the benefits of a limescale water filter?

If you live in an area with hard water and limescale the benefits of limescale water filter include:

  • No more limescale in the coffee pot or tea kettle
  • No more limescale in carafes and glasses making them difficult to clean
  • Potentially better tasting coffee, tea and drinking water if you are used to soft water
  • Your Nespresso machine, other coffee makers and appliances that require water may last longer and require less maintenance

Conclusion

In summary

  • Limescale is the result of hard water formed by calcium and magnesium
  • There is no proven negative health impact of hard water or limescale
  • There are various filter technologies available for limescale removal in tap water including Water Softeners, Reverse Osmosis, Ion Exchange and filters that use a combination of technologies
  • TAPP 2 uses the latest combined water filtration technology to keep your tap water free from limescale

Sources

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