It’s an intriguing fact that water in certain areas is harder than others. What makes water hard? Usually this is down to large amounts of dissolved calcium and magnesium. It is measures in calcium parts per million (mg/l) so anything from 0-20 is considered soft moving up to 40-60 as slightly hard and 80-120 as hard. In between there are other classifications, but these are the just an example. Unfortunately for those wanting to brag about having the hardest water, a lot of the UK is considered to have hard or very hard. Areas such as Birmingham and Manchester have slightly less hard water while Scotland has many areas of soft water. Is hard water harmful? Much like those hollow playground taunts, the truth is hard water is pretty harmless and it is not usually advised to take any action to prepare the water for drinking. Some people prefer the taste of soft water to hard water – but apart from this, the only real difference is that hard water is more likely to create limescale. Limescale is a build-up of these hard-water minerals. It’s usually mostly made up of calcium carbonate – or chalk. If you do prefer softer, naturally sourced water though, you could always look at investing in a bottled water cooler for the office. A water boiler is another alternative as hard water can be formed in a domestic environment by things such as kettles. Many water cooler providers will offer a maintenance service for things such as water boilers to ensure this kind of thing is prevented.