Limescale Problems & Prevention

Limescale Problems

To understand how ENiGMA works it is necessary to have a basic understanding of why scale forms in water systems in the first place.

  • Rain absorbs carbon dioxide as it falls to earth and percolates through the ground. The resulting acidity of the water causes normally insoluble calcium carbonate (chalk or limestone) to dissolve into a bicarbonate state. Thus calcium bicarbonate becomes part of the water chemistry, and can not be removed by simple filtration.
  • When hard water is heated some of the carbon dioxide is released resulting in a small amount of its calcium bicarbonate reverting back to a calcium carbonate state. Thus precipitated hard crystals form onto the surface that caused their precipitation. As more water is introduced further crystals form and build-up to produce scale.
  • Now the chemistry bit (click here to view the presentation)

Limescale Prevention

Applying ENiGMA treatment results in premature precipitation of calcium bicarbonate into the bulk of the water. These tiny crystals now have a host (other ions in the water) and will not adhere to surfaces.

Crystals from ENiGMA treated water preventing limescale
Crystals from ENiGMA treated water
Crystals from untreated water
Crystals from untreated water


Problems Caused by Hard Water

Water performs many vital functions, but not all of its properties provide benefits. Naturally hard water contains dissolved calcium and other minerals which help to build and maintain healthy bodies, but their effect on water systems can be very damaging.

Increased boiling running times caused by scaleWhen dissolved minerals, such as calcium bicarbonate, revert to their solid carbonate state, limescale is formed in water systems and this impedes heat transfer, narrows pipes and blocks sprays. Not only does this dramatically reduce system efficiency but it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, such as Legionella.

Research has shown that just 3 mm of limescale can reduce energy efficiency by a staggering 21%, and, in a moderately hard water area this can form on heat exchangers in just six months! £Billions are wasted each year in increased energy costs, lost production and early renewal of damaged equipment and appliances.

With a clean heat exchanger, a typical domestic hot water calorifier takes 1½ hours to heat a family’s water. With just 2 mm of scale the boiler has to run for another hour to heat the water, wasting a significant amount of fuel.  (Source: University of Portsmouth)