The scale in tap water is usually tasteless, so there is no need to descale the water to make it taste better. However, there are regions in Germany where the degree of hardness of the tap water is particularly high. Brief explanation: lime contains calcium and magnesium. The more of it there is in the water, the "harder" it is. And indeed, extreme water hardness (such as in Berlin, Cologne or Düsseldorf) can have a negative effect on the taste - but not on our health. However, this does not change the fact that, over time, annoying limescale deposits on kitchen appliances such as coffee machines and kettles become noticeable, causing long-term damage to the appliances. You can find out how to find out the degree of hardness and decalcify the water as follows.
To determine the degree of hardness, you can choose between two options:
With the help of the test strips you can determine the German hardness (°dH), it is the decisive unit for the degree of water hardness and is divided as follows:
As explained at the beginning, there are no health reasons that speak in favor of decalcifying the drinking water. Here it is all about personal taste, how you prefer to drink your water from the tap. However, if it is particularly hard, stubborn limescale deposits can become noticeable in the bathroom and kitchen. Calcified fittings do not look particularly nice, and the water can often no longer flow unhindered through the tap. For household appliances (e.g. coffee machine, dishwasher or washing machine), however, limescale is even more harmful, as it can clog hoses and thus paralyze the entire technology. Apart from that, the machines have a significantly higher energy consumption when they are heavily calcified. For these reasons, it definitely makes sense to regularly descale your kitchen appliances and bathroom fittings. Superficial deposits can be easily removed with citric acid. There are special descalers for coffee machines. However, if you want to descale the water, there are more effective methods.
There are several ways to decalcify tap water. Three of them are briefly presented below:
Option 1: Boil the waterBoil the water, for example in a saucepan or kettle, and then pour it through an ordinary coffee or tea filter - this keeps the limescale residue in the filter. You can repeat this process several times because there is less lime in the water after each cycle. However, this process is extremely complex and not for everyone. Alternatively, you can also use a special descaler for small household appliances, with the help of which limescale deposits are dissolved when boiling.
Option 2: Use a water filter If you like to drink tap water often or use it to boil coffee or tea, you can decalcify it faster and more efficiently by using a special drinking water filter (e.g. from Brita). This is in a practical plastic carafe and filters the lime (as well as chlorine, copper and lead) out of the water using ion exchangers and activated carbon. The only downside: the filter has to be replaced regularly so that your tap water stays permanently lime-free.
Possibility 3: Install a filter systemIf you live in a region where the water is particularly hard (i.e. contains lime), it is worth investing in a professional filter system. These are attached directly to the water connection and decalcify your drinking water as it leaves the tap. Here, too, the cleaning is carried out with the help of ion exchange, so that the water becomes softer. Depending on the manufacturer and model, a filter system can cost between 50 and 300 euros. In addition, many models only fit kitchen fittings with an external thread.
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