Live in Ipswich? Unlucky … you have the hardest water in England.
Data sourced from local water authorities shows the Suffolk town has the highest levels of calcium carbonate, the key mineral component of hard water, in the country – 423 milligrams per litre – which is 44 milligrams more than the second highest place, Colchester.
Luton, Norwich and Watford round off the top five with calcium carbonate levels of 360, 359 and 358 milligrams respectively.
The findings emerged after it was revealed one third of Brits believe the water in their area has damaged their home appliances, including kettles, washing machines and showers.
Commissioned by Water Company, Best Water Technology (BWT), the research of 2,000 UK adults also found one fifth have no idea whether they live in a hard or soft water area.
Jon Wicks, Managing Director, BWT, said: “As the research suggests, many people don’t know what type of water they have in their area – hard or soft – but actually most of the country lives with hard water.
“Hard water has a high mineral content in comparison to soft water which has less.
“The water becomes ‘hard’ when it filters through limestone and chalk deposits – which are mainly made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.
“These mineral deposits lead to scale in your appliances and on the surfaces of your home.”
Brits will pop the kettle on at home 82,095 times during the average adult lifetime and use the washing machine on 5,224 occasions over the same period.
Amid this, those with appliances or facilities affected by limescale build up have typically spent £311.87 in the last five years having the items repaired.
The survey carried out by OnePoll also found we have an average of 15,458 showers and 3,567 baths during our adult years.
But more than a quarter think their mains water has detrimentally affected their skin, 28 per cent feel the same about their hair and 14 per cent believe it has made them look older than they really are.
As a result, a fifth of Brits purchase products such as creams and lotions in the hope they will counteract the effects of mains water on their skin and hair – spending £218.76 a year on average.
Jon Wicks continues: “Many people don’t know what hard water is or what impact it has. For example, what will surprise most people is that hard water can make your skin look older, and hair colour duller.
“Household costs can go up too as you use more cleaning products on your skin, hair and laundry when you have hard water rather than soft.
“It needn’t be like this, and with a BWT water softener installed your water would be luxuriously soft instead.”
Top hard water facts
- More detergent is needed to get your clothes clean and soft when washing with hard water.
- Household appliances can be damaged and become less efficient as scale deposits found in hard water build up.
- Hard water can damage hair colour and cause dye to fade more quickly.
- Soap scum builds up on your skin, blocking your pores and making moisturisers less effective when washing with hard water.
- Hard water may make your skin age faster and look older than it is; the minerals in it can strip moisture from your skin, preventing the natural oils in your body from doing their job.
- Elements in hard water such as iron and calcium can form free radicals that damage healthy skin cells and cause a breakdown of collagen, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
- Even a 1.6mm coating of limescale on a heating element in the heating system can make it up to 12 per cent less effective.
- Acid based cleaners are needed to remove scale and water stains left behind by hard water. These cleaners damage glass and chrome over time.
- Hard water can make your shower less powerful as it clogs up the shower head with mineral deposits.
Top 20 hard water areas
- Ipswich 423
- Colchester 379
- Luton 3604
- Norwich 359
- Watford 358
- Stevenage 355
- Swindon 343
- Harrow 335
- Hemel Hempstead 333
- St Albans 323
- Reading 323
- Cambridge 322
- Dartford 315
- Hull 313
- Bath 312
- Bromley 311
- Milton Keynes 309
- Canterbury 308
- Bromley 303
- Slough 303