Scale is a hard, rock-like substance, made of minerals like calcium and magnesium. It is often deposited on the inside of metallic elements in systems or appliances that use water, like heating elements, pipes and plumbing fixtures. Scale prevention chemicals are used to prevent and negate the effects of scale.
A build up of scale can cause corrosion, tube clogging, loss of heat transfer efficiency, reduced output and reduced system life, among many other undesirable results. It often leads to increased maintenance costs.
Scale prevention chemicals are used to stop these things from happening by loosening and dissolving scale deposits to facilitate the smooth, uninhibited running of a system or piece of equipment. Some inhibit corrosion by forming a thin protective layer on the inside of pipes and metal parts.
Different scale prevention chemicals are produced for different purposes, including general scale prevention and anti-corrosion protection. Some are intended to be used with specific types of equipment, such as central heating systems, and target specific kinds of scaling, such as limescale and iron oxides.