If you are dealing with limescale problems at home, you want a quick and effective way to remove this buildup and prevent it from returning. Liquid and tablet solutions are available, but many people, and professional plumbers, recommend using a limescale inhibitor.
A limescale inhibitor is a unit you add to your central heating system. The inhibitor doesn’t get rid of calcium from the water, so you’ll need another solution for that. However, it does provide a helpful service in preventing limescale from damaging washing machines, showers, water tanks, boilers and pipes.
Given the cost of resolving issues with dissolved minerals, and the negative effect limescale has on drinking water, this is a practical solution. Limescale inhibitors make cleaning your appliances easier, too, helping you reduce heating bills around the home.
There is no denying the importance of limescale inhibitors, but it is vital to know this isn’t a one size fits all solution. This guide looks at the different sizes of limescale inhibitors on the market and why it is crucial there is such an extensive choice on offer.
A quick look at various online retailers indicates the following sizes are the most common sizes for limescale inhibitors:
When it comes to cartridges, some of the most common sizes are:
You also get inhibitors in these sizes for other outcomes, such as heavy metal reduction, calcium reduction and removal and nitrate reduction and removal, but focusing solely on limescale inhibitor products, or water conditioners, you'll find various sizes to fit your needs. Find out also what is a polyphosphate water filter cartridge.
It's not a surprise to learn that the larger the product, the more expensive it is to buy. This isn't necessarily a comment on the effectiveness of the product, or how suitable it is for your needs. Instead, it is a simple reflection in the increased materials in place to manufacture the item.
In looking at lime scale inhibitor cartridges, a quick price check of the same product, but in different sizes, indicates the difference in cost as the inhibitor gets larger.
The 5 inch inhibitor is listed at a price of £11.26 inc VAT.
The 10 inch inhibitor is available at a cost of £24.76 inc VAT.
The 20 inch lime scale inhibitor is for sale at a price of £46.50 inc VAT.
A one-off example isn't necessarily the full story when it comes to the price of inhibitors, but these price changes are in line with what you'd expect.
A similar comparison with 15mm and 22mm inhibitors, for the same brand and product type produces similar results.
For a 15mm product, the price is £20.38 inc VAT while for the 22mm product, the price is £34.99 inc VAT. Therefore, the bigger the inhibitor you need to deal with limescale formation, the higher the price you should expect to pay.
No matter the size of inhibitor you choose, you should be able to choose between electrolytic limescale inhibitors and magnetic scale inhibitors.
An electrolytic scale inhibitor works by producing an electrolytic current, which sits between the internal cathode, and the anode. This helps to dissolve iron in the water, and it is the iron particles which prevent limescale particles forming in the water.
With a magnetic scale inhibitor, this product uses a magnetic field, which reduces the impact hard water has on appliances, including washing machines and kettles.
The end result with magnetic types is lime crystals and salt merge here, as opposed to doing so in the pipes or household appliances.
While it is possible to install these inhibitors to the pipework which provides water flow to your whole house, or you can install it for each appliance. This is why there is a range of sizes on offer, because there is a broad range of pipes and connectors to consider.
It is clear that installing one inhibitor at the start of your water supply is more cost effective, and saves money on different products.
However, if you want added confidence that certain appliances, and their respective water flow, aren’t affected, you can buy a number of inhibitors and attach them to each relevant device.
If you live in a hard water area and feel you need a greater level of support, you’ll be glad of the different magnetic and electrolytic scale inhibitors, and their sizes, on the market. Of course remember that inhibitors aren't water softeners, so if you live in a hard water area and want to enjoy soft water for washing clothes, or even as drinking water, you'll need to invest in another water softener solution.
Regardless of the size of the limescale inhibitor you use, it isn't a water softener. If you are looking to enjoy soft water (especially if you live in a hard water area), you'll need to invest in other water softeners, alongside the inhibitor. As the name suggests, the inhibitor prevents limescale building up on pipes, and heating elements, and this is the case for all sizes of limescale inhibitors.
If you are worried about hard water, bear in mind that inhibitors have no impact on the scum in the water. This sort of device, regardless of size, won't help you retain essential minerals when you wash, nor will it magically make your skin and hair feel softer. It also won't reduce the amount of soap, washing up powder, washing up liquid, conditioners, bath foam or cleaning materials you use.
Also, remember limescale reducers don't remove existing scales, they improve the quality as water passes through. If you have an issue with dissolved minerals already
A scale inhibitor only reduces scale formation and has no effect on scum. The water it produces does not have a silky feel or make skin and hair feel softer. Nor does it substantially reduce the consumption of soap, shampoo, bath foam, washing up liquid, washing powder, washing conditioners and cleaning material.
Inhibitors prevent scale building in pipes, household appliances and your plumbing system. So, it can make your drinking water more palatable, but there are far more effective water softeners to choose from if soft water is your main focus. Check out our article about pipes knocking when hot water is turned on.
At Plumb Guardian, we offer plumbing solutions for heating systems, for your boiler and appliances. We also offer guidance and tips on dealing with these problems. If you are worried about limescale and want the most efficient solution, we make sure you get the help you need, especially when it comes to the size of inhibitors that are ideal for your needs. You can also check out our post how to remove limescale from combi boiler.