If you have hard water, you probably know all about the little annoyances it causes. You find that you have to soak your
But what many people don't know is that hard water can have serious effects on your central heating system, taking years off the life of your furnace and raising your winter energy bills. So what should you be looking out for – and what can you do about it?
Gradual Heat Loss
Since limescale – the mineral deposits that hard water leaves behind – builds up gradually in pipes, you may first notice it as your radiators struggle more and more to reach the temperature they are set to. This may be a sign that the pipes of your central heating system are becoming narrower and narrower, preventing hot water from moving through them quickly enough to keep the temperature up in your home. It's possible for this to affect only a few or even a single radiator, so watch for any rooms that you are having difficulty keeping warm.
An alternative symptom of partially blocked pipes is higher energy bills. Your furnace may be capable of working hard and keeping the temperature in your home up, especially if the winter weather is mild. However, as limescale builds up, the furnace will have to work harder and harder to do so, causing your heating bills to climb. As with a loss of
Blocked Radiators or Pipework
Eventually, limescale can block pipes completely. This is especially likely if you have narrow pipework. The sign to watch out for is a heating system that only partially works; for example, perhaps your upstairs radiators give off no heat, but those downstairs work fine. It's even possible for part of a radiator to get hot while the rest remains cold, which means there is likely a blockage within the radiator itself.
If you're noticing symptoms that your central heating system might be affected by limescale, there are two things that you'll need to do. The first is to have the system flushed out; usually, caustic chemicals are used for this process, which will eat the limescale away from the interior of the plumbing. Then, to prevent the problem from recurring in the future, you'll need a water softener installed in your home. Both of these can be carried out by a qualified plumber or an HVAC contractor. To learn more, contact a company like