Killer Scale – the 4th Element

The 5th Element is one of my favourite films. Fitting the fourth element in our MIra Sport shower is not my favourite thing. I live in a hard-water area, and this town is producing scale for England. You have to drink your tea fast before it crusts over. Even the super expensive German washing machine only survived 4 years before scale killed the element, and it needed repairing. This is the third time in 18 years the element in the shower has needed replacing. I’m pretty sure its the hard water that’s doing it. Now the shower is 18 years old I wonder if there will still be spares for it next time it packs in. I would buy another spare element (Mira call it a boiler as its in a plastic water jacket) to keep but at just under £100 it is probably not worth it.

As a child I recall my Dad regularly having to replace the element in the electric kettle, although back then it might have been due to being boiled dry; electric kettles were no where near as reliable as now. The first time I actually had to deal with the scale problem myself was in my late teens when newly trained in electrical work I volunteered to fix my Grandma’s over the sink water heater. It would be a simple job, get a new element, remove the old element and fit the new one. I isolated the circuit, turned off the water, drained out the unit, then opened the lid. Instead of the empty water chamber with an element in the middle, it was solid with scale. It looked like a container packed tight with a massive version of those rock-rose stones that people bring back from holidays in desert locations. It was completely unrepairable, so Grandma had to have a new heater and I got to take the element back to the ironmongers.

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