Can Drinking Limescale Harm You? A Complete Analysis
More people are starting to question the quality of their water and if it can affect them in the long run.
Among the most raised issues is limescale. This silent appliance killer can increase your water and heating bills, causing severe damage to your appliances. Because of this, many people have started wondering if limescale also affects their bodies.
Over the years, concerns were raised that the excess hard minerals can damage kidneys, cause diabetes, and even cancer. But are any of these statements true or are they concerns that science has already addressed? Well, in short, limescale doesn’t directly affect your health. However, it can cause other problems when taken in excess.
Limescale effects on your scalp and skin
Let’s leave drinking aside for a while and focus on the main two things that upset people when it comes to hard water and, subsequently, limescale.
When showering with hard water, the limescale particles react to soap and shampoo to form a harsh lather. The lather washes away with more difficulty than the lather you’d get by using softened water.
This effect alone wouldn’t cause enough concern to raise the question of whether limescale is harmful enough or not. However, what this entails is outright damaging for your skin and hair. Scalp calcification happens when mineral particles don’t get washed away properly after a shower.
The result is as follows: your scalp’s veins get tightened and can’t circulate blood at an optimal speed. Your hair starts missing out on essential vitamins and nutrients. It grows weaker, loses its shine, and eventually falls off. The same happens to your skin. Pores get clogged and won’t be able to absorb air, which leads to irritated skin, including eczema and dermatitis.
Otherwise, can drinking limescale harm you?
Researchers believe that limescale is actually beneficial for the most part. The only thing you have to worry about when ingesting it is how much.
As long as there’s limescale but the water is free from pathogens, hard metals, or chemicals, you are almost completely safe. But why almost completely, and not completely? Well, when taken in excess, it’s possible that hard water might help the development of kidney stones.
Anyone who has ever had to deal with kidney stones knows that they are not pleasant in the slightest. Furthermore, hard water has double the recommended magnesium intake for an adult. This is great news for diabetics who need magnesium for insulin intake enhancement. But for regular folks, it can cause a few problems.
When the excessive calcium combines with uric acid, they form kidney stones. In most cases, this doesn’t happen because the human body can eliminate excess calcium with ease. Not many studies have been able to link excessive limescale with the formation of kidney stones. And the articles that did only focused on a small number of people. In any case, if you’ve had kidney stones in the past, it is better to stick to soft water.
Limescale and cancer. Are they related?
Some time ago, many people were almost convinced that hard water caused cancer, but new research has shed important light on this theory.
On the contrary, many researchers now believe that hard water can be an essential element in the battle against cancer. The high magnesium concentration in limescale is effective at protecting people of all cancer types and stimulates the immune system considerably.
How limescale can harm you indirectly
Moving on, we’ve established that limescale might actually be beneficial for drinking as long as you don’t exaggerate.
But apart from showering, is there any other way that limescale can harm you? Yes, there is one way, and it involves appliances. Let’s say you’re an avid tea drinker. If you’re using the same kettle every day with hard water and it develops limescale, the corrosive effect might make the nickel inside bond to water particles.
If you filter your water, you have to be careful not to use a method that increases the pH significantly. An increased pH level will make the nickel leech to the water even more effectively. But apart from this, no other recorded situations show that limescale will affect your health. In fact, hard water is essential for getting most minerals you need.
Other issues with limescale
Ok, now we know how limescale could potentially harm you. But what about other inconveniences? After all, it’s not like health is your only concern.
As you might expect, limescale is quite visible. When poured in a glass, hard water can appear very cloudy and the taste might feel a little weird for those who aren’t used to it.
Other than that, limescale causes problems when we’re not talking specifically about drinking. The hard minerals build up and start forming limescale inside the plumbing system, putting significant stress on appliances as well as the pipes’ material.
As a result, you’ll see an increase in electricity and water bills alike. Your dishwasher and washing machine will deteriorate far prior to their expected life cycle. Not to mention that your clothes will be dingier, the dishes will have white spots on them, and that you’ll spend a considerable amount of money on detergent and shampoo that’s resistant to hard water.
Getting rid of limescale after it’s already formed is not necessarily hard, but tedious. In most cases, you can just use vinegar with a couple of household items. But why bother ever having to deal with limescale in the first place? Instead, you can try a method that prevents and actively destroys limescale residue inside your pipes.
How a water descaler helps you surpass limescale’s negative effects
Water descalers work on the principle of cathodic protection, a method that has been used for years to keep rust and lime buildups from forming on pipes submerged in water or in the soil.
With the help of electricity and a sacrificial metal, no minerals or corrosive materials stick to the pipe. It’s a method that has helped industries evolve tremendously and has saved them a lot of money in the long term.
Similarly, a water descaler discharges a capacitive effect inside the pipe to actively reshape calcium and magnesium crystals. Instead of staying big and piling up on the pipe, they become small and smooth, thus being stripped of their stickiness. For drinking, you’ll still get the minerals found in limescale, which are beneficial. But for everything else, you’ll notice no more nasty water hardness.
Why choose a descaler over a softener
Unlike traditional salt-based water softeners, descalers require no maintenance and no salt packets whatsoever.
Instead of exchanging calcium and magnesium particles for sodium ones, a descaler simply reshapes them and keeps their benefits while suppressing their negatives.
This adds a great deal of value to water inside the entire household. Sodium damages septic systems, while hard minerals don’t unless limescale builds up. But limescale won’t build up because of the cathodic protection principle.
Overall, out of all the water softeners alternatives, the descaler provides the most benefits with the least number of negatives. It doesn’t waste any water, doesn’t add chemicals, nor does it alter its taste. And unlike softeners, water descalers are unregulated because they present zero risks to their owner and their family.
Several states have banned the use of traditional water softeners, as the sodium buildup was starting to slow down their communities’ sewage system. You can now probably see why that would be a problem and why the neighbors would hate you for it. Furthermore, the lack of maintenance and extra costs is bound to be attractive for many people.
Is a water descaler just as good as a filter?
No, a water descaler isn’t a filter and it’s not meant to replace one. If you have other pollutants in your water, you’ll have to find an appropriate filter for each one.
Some common pollutants, like heavy metals, can even interfere with the descaler’s proper functioning. That is why choosing the right filter is essential. You can purchase tests for the most common pollutants, or you can opt to take a water sample to an authorized testing lab that can determine and solve all sorts of problems.
Water quality in the US is often times questionable despite being one of the most developed nations in the world.
Limescale isn’t detrimental for your health speaking from a purely drinking scenario. However, it is nasty for your appliances, skin, hair, clothes, dishes, etc.
As long as you have a water descaler set up, you’ll get the best of both worlds: nutritious minerals from limescale, and no limescale deposits at the same time. It is truly wonderful thinking how much we can achieve with simple physics principles.
Installing a descaler is a simple process and requires no plumbing skills, and only about 15 minutes of your time. After the installation process, you can start enjoying softened water without sodium, and the limescale deposits that sit on your pipes right now will soon fade away.