Whether your water supply consists of hard or soft water is determined by the geology of the ground that the rain in your region falls upon.
Pure rainwater is naturally soft, but the chalk and limestone regions of the south and east of England surrender calcium and magnesium into the natural water supply to create hard water.
The granite areas of the north and west do not contain the same minerals and so the water remains 'soft'. And with the development of water distribution networks, some parts of the UK which have historically been soft water areas, are now beginning to experience hard water.
As hard water is heated (e.g. in washing machines, showers, kettles etc), the Calcium and Magnesium separate out and form a crust on surfaces they come into contact with. This is what we know as limescale.
About Hard Water
We have all heard of it - but what exactly is soft water?
Or, for that matter, hard water?
The scale contained in hard water can cause damage and expense in the home...
Limescale build-up in heating systems causes a loss in heating efficiency, wasting energy
Showers, washing machines and immersion heaters become damaged and inefficient more quickly
Limescale quickly builds up on taps, sinks and other fittings becoming unsightly and making cleaning difficult
Hard water can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema