If you have unsightly marks on your shower and your kettle is furry rather than shiny, you have limescale. The curse of the hard water area, it can seriously mess up your pipes and cost you money. With these top tips and anti-limecale products you can make your appliances work properly and save you money at the same time.
What is Limescale?
Limescale, which is largely made up of Calcium Carbonate, is responsible for the build up of the milky-white deposit you see on showerheads, taps, glass shower doors, kettles, irons – in fact most water-using appliances throughout your home. And 60% of British homes suffer from it!
Why should I tackle limescale?
Build up of limescale within washing machines and dishwashers can make your machine run less efficiently. In a kettle, limescale stops the heating element working as well as it should and can even damage it over time. Plus limescale is unsightly to look at, especially when it affects once shiny chrome appliances.
Limescale occurs in areas where water is naturally hard, which unfortunately covers large parts of the UK, it contains dissolved calcium and other minerals which have dissolved into the water from chalk and rock in the ground. Research has shown that just 6mm of limescale can reduce energy efficiency by a staggering 40% and, in a moderately hard water area, 6 mm of limescale can form in pipework or on heat exchangers in just two years. The result is that appliances affected by limescale have to work harder, using more water and energy to get the job done.
If your investing in a new bathroom or even just a new toilet it is worth considering your limescale strategy early on. If you are spending a few hundred or maybe a few thousand pounds a small extra investment to insure your pipes will remain unclogged and your chrome shiny, might not be a bad idea.
For more information on saving water in the bathroom click here.
Top Tips to Get Rid of Limescale
The home made way
Limescale can be dissolved by a range of mild acids. You can buy brand-name limescale removers, however two of the most effective substances for getting rid of limescale are lemon juice and ordinary vinegar. This can be a good solution (no pun intended!) for cleaning things you can easily wash afterwards such as showerheads and shower screens. However we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for pipework.
Limescale in washing machines and dishwashers
Both vinegar and lemon juice will do a great job of removing any limescale deposits and freshening up your machines’ innards at the same time. Simply use a large cup of either liquid in place of your usual detergent and run a normal washing cycle in an empty washing machine. For your dishwasher, pour the liquid into the base of the empty machine and run a cycle. The limescale should just dissolve away.
Limescale in kettles
Quarter fill the kettle with vinegar or lemon juice and leave for an hour. Then top up the kettle with water and boil. Pour away the boiled water before it cools and then rinse with several changes of cold water. That should do the job to get rid of limescale deposits.
We have a range of limescale-busting products which can prevent the build up of limescale.
Mira Everclear Showerhead range
Whether handheld or fixed, these showerheads are designed to prevent the build-up of limescale by using a specially designed plate. This plate retracts when the water flow stops allowing small pins to be pushed through the spray plate. This action pushes any limescale to the surface which can then be easily wiped away. Click here for more details.
Ecozone range of limescale-removing products
Including Magno balls for your washing machine, Magnoloo for your toilet, Washing Machine and Dishwasher Descalers and Kettle and Iron Descalers – all eco-friendly products to prevent and descale your appliances to help them work more efficiently.
Eddy Limescale Removal system
Tackle the limescale problem at source. This clever box uses a powerful electromagnetic field applied through two coils of wire to your incoming water pipe. It’s easy to set up and you’ll never know it’s working, just switch it on and leave it to do its magic. It even comes with a 12-month money back guarantee. Click here for more details.
With the wonderful water photography competition in full swing we have had some absolutely stunning images…. and some not so great ones as well (you know who you are!!)
So we asked Amy Squibb, Editor of Photography for Beginners for her top 5 tips for taking the perfect Wonderful Water photo:
1) Consider your speed
When shooting water, your shutter speed will have a big impact on the final result. Use a fast shutter speed of over 1/200sec to freeze every droplet in its tracks, or a slow shutter speed below 1 second and a tripod to create a smooth, milky effect.
2) Use a filter
An ND filter will stop your shot being overexposed when using slow shutter speeds. You can get different strengths – the stronger the filter, the slower the shutter speed you’ll be able to use.
3) Create a point of interest
Vast expanses of water don’t necessarily make for interesting shots, unless you give it a focal point. Use foreground interest such as a rock, a pier or a boat to give your watery landscapes some context. Position the focal point a third of the way across the frame for a stronger composition too.
4) Capture detail
Why not make water the subject of a macro shot by adding droplets to flowers? The flower makes an attractive backdrop, but move your focus point over the water drop to keep it the main focal interest.
5) Look for reflections
A reflection can add extra impact to your water shot. For a ripple-free reflection, you’ll need to head out on a day that’s not too windy, or seek out areas of the water that are a bit more sheltered from the wind. You could even make your own reflection in a puddle by holding bright colourful objects over them.
For more water photography tips, head to www.photoforbeginners.com.
Or visit http://www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/competition to enter the contest.
This gallery contains 20 photos.
SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE PICS SO FAR: We’re now two weeks into our ‘Wonderful Water’ photo competition, an amateur photography competition designed to raise awareness for the Gorilla Organization who work building water filtration systems in central Africa. The winner will … Continue reading
Summer is here and that means more time in the garden but not necessarily more time out watering plants. The sun has been out shining this week so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to remind you of some of the ways you can reduce your water use in the garden. Not only is this good for the environment, but if you are on a meter, good for your wallet as well.
Water saving starts right from when you are planning your garden. Mike Peacock, water resources manager for Affinity Water states
“It’s important to choose plants that thrive in dry conditions, such as lavender, marigolds and cornflowers so look for the full sun symbol on the plant labels when buying new plants as this indicates their tolerance to dry conditions. When planting try to make the most of moisture by adding a layer of tree bark, gravel or compost to keep the sun off the soil; this will help retain the moisture in the soil.”
And for those of you who’s gardens are already planted and coming into bloom here are a few tips to make you all into super-efficient water saving gardeners
- Make sure your lawnmower is set to a higher setting (approx. 4cm) this will help develop thicker grass which will trap early morning dew and reduces evaporation.
- Watering in the midday sun will mean more evaporation, try to water in the early morning or during the evening
- Move your hanging baskets and containers to shady areas of the garden where possible
- A few gel crystals mixed in with your compost are a great way of retaining water in pots and planters.
- If your planting trees or other plants that have deep roots consider burying a short length of pipe alongside your plant; then if you water into the tube the water goes directly to the roots where the plant needs it most.
- Water butts are a great way of storing unused rain water for a later date and if you are on a water meter, they will save you money.
For more on our great range of drought resistant plants that will help you achieve the look you want, without spending all day and night in the garden watering check out our outdoors section.
This week I thought I’d talk to you about a new trend spreading across the UK. Using wet wipes in addition to, or even instead of, toilet paper has caused a heated debate, many blocked sewers and rising bills for the water companies. Market research shows that the UK wet wipe market is growing fast, at more than 15 per cent a year. One of the UK’s biggest water companies is spending over £12 million annually on clearing around 80,000 blockages a year on its 108,000 km network with 2,000 calls per month reporting blockages caused by wipes.
As Simon Evans from Thames Water explains, toilet roll takes seconds to disintegrate if you put it in some water, hence it does not cause any harm to the sewers. He highlights that wet wipes do not break down quickly enough even if the packaging says that they are ‘biodegradable’ or ‘flushable’, hence they should never be put down drains. We don’t want to scare you, but ignoring this advice can come at a high cost! Blockages are more likely in suburban areas where pipes are narrowest – anything from 6 to 12inches in diameter – in urban areas all of the pipes that come from our homes to the main sewer pipes are of similar diameter, so you should not feel safe.
As Simon Evans informs us, blockages can result in sewage backing up on to streets, into gardens, into parks. But it can get worst. There are around 1,000 cases a year where sewage is backing up into people’s homes.
One potential solution to the problem is Freshu, an antibacterial foaming toilet tissue gel being recommended by some of the water companies and sold by SaveWaterSaveMoney.co.uk
This revolutionary product can be used to moisten the final sheets of toilet paper, giving you the same cleansing power as a wet wipe but with no awful and costly consequences.
Rob Smith’s from Thames Water, comments that thousands of wipes end up every day in sewage works where they are plucked out by special forked prongs and taken to landfill. According to Rob, if people knew what percentage of water bills went on blockages and disposing of these wipes when they get to sewage treatment works customers would make this small effort to bin the wipes and not flush them.
Here at SaveWaterSaveMoney.co.uk we’re continuously shouting from the roof tops about water efficiency and using water effectively. We’ve always found saving water to be fun but are aware that this isn’t necessarily everyone’s view! So we’re glad of a current trend that appears to be sweeping the world, water saving games. World Water Day which took place on March 22nd began the International Year of Water Co-operation and what better way to co-operate than playing with your friends?
In areas of the world as different as Colombia and India groups of school children and villagers are gathering for ‘Games Nights’. Simulating real-life decision making on how to use water effectively for their villages as a whole. These are not decisions that can be made in isolation as there is a finite amount of fresh water to go around. These games are being promoted to improve collective water management by a collection of academic bodies including the Foundation for Ecological Security in India, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and Arizona State University.
For example in India groups of five men and five women from each village must choose what to grow throughout a year’s seasons with an eye toward their chosen crops’ water requirements. If growing strategies use too much groundwater, the game ends—similar to real life where groundwater tables are falling, and the cost of pumping irrigation water is rising.
Here in the UK Paula Owen consulting, someone we’ve mentioned here before, has been leading the way in this area with SE2 a sustainability ‘leadership led’ schools project to bring sustainability and water efficiency to the school children of the UK through ‘gamification’ the new buzz word in eco-efficiency.
Our opinion is this can only bring positive results. Whichever way you look at it water management and water efficiency is only going to become more important, not just here in the UK, but across the globe. Anything that can promote the sustainable use of this most precious of resources in a fun and entertaining way is definitely a positive sign for the future.
After last week’s blog about water shortages around the world. I got a lot of feedback asking about how much water it takes to make other items we use every day so below are a few more facts and figures from our friends at www.goodhuman.com (I’m guessing the figures are pretty rough and ready and to be honest pretty hard to believe!!)
How much water does it take to make…
- To make one hamburger it takes 635 gallons of water
- One printed Sunday newspaper uses 80 gallons of water
- One slice of bread needs 10 gallons of water
- That morning cup of coffee requires 35 gallons of water to make
- One egg needs 400 gallons of water
- A pound of chicken needs 500 gallons of water to process
- A single potato? 100 gallons of water
- One orange requires 13 gallons of water
- That cotton shirt you’re wearing? 700 gallons of water
- A full set of tires for your Prius requires 2,072 gallons of water
- The dishwasher uses between 9-12 gallons of water each time you run it
- One barrel of crude oil needs 1,851 gallons of water to refine
Well today is the 20th Anniversary of World Water Day. An idea formed from a UN Environmental conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Over the years there have been various different themes on topics as varied as ‘Groundwater – The Invisible Resource’ in 1998 to ‘Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry’ last year.
Today Save Water Save Money has been supporting WaterAid to promote the plight of the 743million people around the world that still do not have access to clean water and sanitation. We are giving 10% of profits from today to support their work in the developing world along with The Gorilla Organization.
But in this article I wanted to talk to you about some of the less highlighted water crises around the world, it’s not just the global south that suffers from droughts and water shortages. Saving Water is becoming more crucial in areas of the world where we have previously taken this critical resource for granted.
The United States (one of the largest users of water, per capita, in the world) is being ravaged by drought, which has laid waste to much of the Corn Belt, driving up grain prices and causing sleepless nights for farmers. And the situation does not look like improving any time soon, on Thursday NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) warned that the hot, dry conditions are unlikely to ease before the middle of this year. The cost of the drought is estimated at above $50bn, greater than the economic damage caused by hurricane Sandy1.
In 2003, Australia began the worst drought on record, not only did this devastate farming but forced city’s like Melbourne into punishing restrictions on water usage. The drought officially ended on 27th April 2012. By this point the Federal Government had spent $4.5 Billion in drought assistance2. Not a small chunk of change
And the fault cannot all be placed at the door of climate change. One of the biggest problems facing the world in the 21st Century is our love of a juicy steak! As the world gets richer we’re all eating more meat and the planet is struggling to keep up with our growing demand for water. It’s not just farming, by some estimates producing a new set of tyres uses over 10,000 litres of water3.
And the moral of the story, water is going to become more valuable across the world. It’s a precious resource and should be treated as such.
So next time your brushing your teeth, make sure you don’t leave the tap running!
This year we asked our testing panel which charities we should support for 2013. The answers came in thick and fast but the charity winners were The Gorilla Organisation & WaterAid. Both do fantastic jobs helping very different aspects of our planet.
For World Water Day on the 22nd of March we will be donating 10% of all our profits on the day to these charities.
A subject close to our hearts here at Save Water Save Money. WaterAid was set up following the UN’s International Drinking Water and Sanitation decade in the 1980’s. WaterAid works in partnership with local organisations across 27 countries building wells and developing clean water and sanitation services for poor and rural communities.
Safe water transforms lives. Not only does it prevent huge numbers of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and the spread of malaria but safe water close to home means women and children are able to spend less time collecting, or queuing, for water and more time generating an income for their family. This is the start of their journey out of poverty.
WaterAid has been recognised for its great work, being named as the UK charity of the year in the 2003 Charity Times Awards and in 2006 was crowned ‘Britain’s most Admired Charity’.
THE GORILLA ORGANIZATION
The Gorilla Organization has been supporting the conservation of the world’s largest apes since 1989.Today they work in Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, promoting education and conservation to help protect the world’s last remaining gorillas. They take a grass roots approach, realizing that any attempt at conservation must be weighed against the economic challenges of these developing countries. One of the biggest threats these Gorillas face is caused by encroachement of their natural environment, particularly their water supply. Interacting with humans has had some disastrous; effects a recent ebola outbreak killed 1000′s of these endangered animals in just a few months.
The Gorilla Organization has funded water cistern projects across central Africa these not only protect the Gorilla’s environment from encroachment but a recent visit to Gitaraga primary school on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, revealed another surprising result.
Traditionally, the primary school children spent the first hour of their school day collecting water from the national park – a dangerous and time-consuming experience. But since their cistern was built in March 2006, the time spent by pupils collecting water has reduced so considerably that the school has adopted a new timetable, allowing pupils to spend an extra hour and a half a day in lessons. This has had a huge impact on the pupils and the school, which has now been rated first in the district and 18th in the country, following an outstanding set of results during the last exam period.
According to one of the senior teachers at the school, 51 out of 71 pupils passed this year, compared to 41 who passed the year before the water cistern was installed.
This one Gorilla Organization funded system provides water for more than 1,500 people from the local communities. Here at Save Water Save Money we think projects like this are a great way to Save Water and Save Wildlife at the same time!
We will be announcing other exciting events and competitions to raise funds for these great causes throughout the year. Keep an eye on this blog or start to follow us on Twitter @lesswater for news and updates.
With such good causes to support make your purchases on 22nd March at www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk and help us change the world for the better.