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How Does Hard Water Affect Your Plumbing?

by Mark Fear on Sep 25, 2017

Hard water is common throughout the world, but many people don't really know what the term means or how it affects their home's plumbing.

Hard water is caused by minerals in the water, mainly calcium and magnesium. While hard water isn't considered harmful or dangerous to your health, it can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, your faucets and some of your appliances.

If you have hard water, you might notice that soap doesn't lather properly. It might also feel like soap leaves behind a film you can't get rid of. Shampoo and conditioner may be hard to rinse out and may even damage your hair.

The same problem occurs when doing laundry. Detergents and soap lose some of their effectiveness, so clothes may feel stiff and look dirty.

How Does Hard Water Affect Plumbing Systems?

Hard water contains high levels of calcium, which can create deposits in your plumbing system. Calcium deposits are flaky and white or yellow in color. They typically show up on your faucets, showerheads and sinks.

Calcium, or limescale, build-up can make your fixtures look dirty and can be very difficult to remove. Even if you do remove these deposits, they'll just reappear again in the future because you haven't fixed your hard water problem.

If these deposits are clearly visible on your fixtures, imagine what they're doing to your pipes. The problem is that you can't clean your plumbing system (not easily), so it can be a challenge to remove calcium deposits from this hard-to-reach area.

Over time, the calcium deposits can accumulate to the point where they actually narrow the opening of your pipes. The narrower the opening, the less water that can flow through.

Limescale build-up rarely gets so bad that it completely blocks the pipe, but it can seriously hinder your water pressure and greatly increase the occurrence of clogs.

Along with your fixtures, hard water can also damage your hot water heater. Over time, the minerals in the water can actually corrode the tank and cause your water heater to stop working properly.

How Can You Tell if You Have Hard Water?

So, how can you know for sure if you have hard water? The best way to find out is to check with your local water department. Most water companies provide information on water quality and hardness level on their websites. If you can't find this information online, give your water provider a call to find out whether you have hard water.

It helps to know if you have hard water, but it also helps to know the hardness level. Very hard water will cause build-up to accumulate more quickly.

What Can You Do About Hard Water?

How can you tackle your hard water problem? The most effective solution is to install a water softener.

A water softener uses a salt water brine solution to remove the calcium and magnesium from the water.

A water softening system is the only tried-and-true way to eliminate hard water problems and prevent limescale build-up. And water softener systems are easy to install and maintain – a major benefit.

Author

markfear

Mark Fear

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