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The heat exchanger on a boiler will usually accumulate a layer of calcium when used in hard water areas, impairing the ability to transfer heat to the water. This is only a problem where the system uses continual fresh water; where the system circulates the same water repeatedly, because there is very little calcium in that specific batch of water, the scaling wont happen. The problem is fixed by applying a descaling solution using a machine hooked up directly to the heat exchanger (usually via the washing machine inlet pipes). Once finished, the machine is disconnected, the mains water supply is reconnected, and then all taps are turned on to flush the descaler solution out. Optionally, a water-softener can be installed to the cold water system. Because soft water actively removes scale, this can gradually remove it over time. A boiler heating element with approximately ten years worth of scale on it will descale itself in around six months using a water softener.