Limescale Management

What is Limescale?

Limescale is the hard, off-white, chalky deposit found in kettles, hot water boilers and the inside of inadequately maintained hot-water central heating systems.  The inside of pipes often have a similar deposit where the Hard Water has evaporated leaving behind solidified minerals.

What is Hard Water?

Hard Water contains higher than average levels of dissolved minerals.If water has run over soft spongy rocks, like limestone or chalk, it absorbs minerals from them.  The minerals are often calcium or magnesium carbonate, which are what make the water become hard. The hardness is measured by milligrams per litre dependant on how much calcium and magnesium is found in the water.

Should Limescale be a concern for me?

The issue is that as hard water is heated past 55°C the dissolved minerals in it solidify as the moisture evaporates.  A 1.6mm coating of limescale on a heating element has been found to be 12% less effective and can cause your appliances to burn out more quickly.  The minerals can precipitate and form scale and form an insulating barrier between the heating element and the water to be heated.

Excessive scale can cause a kettle to switch off before boiling and may damage the element invalidating the warranty.  Water will take longer to boil in appliances such as kettles and irons using more electricity and costing you more.

Is Limescale an issue in New Zealand?

More than 60% of the earth’s water is groundwater.  This means it travels through rock and soil picking up minerals along the way.  In New Zealand limescale is far less of an issue than elsewhere due to the rainfall and access to clean and soft water.  Morphy Richards products come with filters and limescale management to reduce the likelihood of minerals in your appliances or solidifying to the inner surfaces.  The Morphy Richards kettles have a spout filter to deal with limescale, which will require cleaning and descaling as its job is to filter out the minerals.

How can you remove Limescale?

You can clean limescale out by treating it with malt vinegar or lemon juice to dissolve the mineral deposits.  With a kettle you can ¾ fill it with water and boil it, remove it from its stand and gradually add 50 grams of citric acid crystals, then leaving it to stand.  As soon as the effervescence subsides, empty the kettle and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.  Wipe the outside of the kettle thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove all traces of acid which may damage the finish.  However if the limescale is too tough this may require using a descaling product suitable for stainless steel, glass or plastic, these are readily available at small appliance stores and water purification centres.