Limescale can be a major problem when it occurs in the internal pipe work or water heating elements of kitchen equipment which uses running mains water and heating elements, such as dishwashers, combi-ovens, coffee machines and vending machines. It can even be a potentially dangerous cause of overheating in these appliances.Where scale build-up occurs in internal pipework, it restricts the flow of water causing serious and expensive damage to equipment. Where scale build-up occurs on heating elements, it insulates the elements and forces them to use far more energy than needed to heat the water, leading to early burn-out. The fact that a catering business may be in an area of the UK officially classified as a soft-water region is not an excuse for not fitting a water softener treatment device, because there is still a risk. There are dissolved salts in all types of water and scale build-up will occur eventually. Even when the normal water supply is considered to have soft water, should the water be drawn from deep boreholes in times of drought, its hardness level will change. Additionally, water companies move water around from region to region through underground pipe work, which also changes the hardness level.
Limescale in hard water areas leads to high running costs of heating and hot water systems used in both building services and industrial applications. In the UK, the cost of limescale formation to industry environment through wasting energy is equally significant. Studies have revealed that a 25mm thick layer of limescale on a heat exchange surface reduces heat transfer by 90% and this has significant implications for energy costs. Just a 1mm layer of limescale increases energy costs by 7.5%, while a 12mm layer raises energy costs by 65%.