Almost nine out of 10 people in the UK could be spending hundreds of pounds more than they need to on their heating bills simply because of the hardness of their water, according to a survey by YouGov.

The survey revealed that 89% of people questioned were unaware they could save up to £580 on their boiler maintenance and heating costs just by softening their water in hard water areas.

The potential saving was calculated by the company that commissioned the survey, Harvey Water Softeners, in a statement endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust.

With much of London, the Home Counties, East Anglia and the Midlands classed as ‘hard water areas’ as much as half the UK’s population - 25 million people - could be living with hard water.

Casey Bowden, managing director of Harvey Water Softeners, said: “We’ve known for years that softer water can reduce household energy bills and cut the cost of maintaining everyday appliances in the home by preventing the build up of limescale.

“Now there’s evidence taken from across the country to show that potentially millions of people could be spending more than they need to, for no other reason than the hardness of the water coming out of their taps.

“Backed by the Energy Saving Trust, our research shows that by softening water, these costs can be cut by hundreds of pounds, while soft water brings additional benefits including less need for household cleaning, softer hair and even reports of help with chronic skin conditions.”

Tap water varies in hardness across the UK according to the concentration of minerals found within it. The levels of calcium and magnesium, which cause limescale, vary between areas of the UK according to their geographical makeup. The vast majority of the UK has a water supply rated between hard and aggressively hard.

For those people living in hard water areas, one option is to soften tap water as it enters the home using a domestic water softening unit plumbing into the household mains water supply. A water softener works by removing the ‘hard’ minerals from water using ion exchange to prevent damage to households.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock/David Koscheck