Hard Water: A Threat to Your Plumbing System

4 May

If your system uses hard water, you know what a nuisance it can be. It causes white, chalky buildup on your sinks and tubs. Hard water also has minerals like calcium, which prevent soap from dissolving in the water. This can leave marks on your clothing after a laundry cycle and create a soapy buildup on your tub after baths and showers. Other headaches that hard water can cause include spots on dishes, oily hair and skin, and stains on clothing.

While these issues are bad enough, the damage that hard water can do to your pipes and your plumbing system can be even worse.

Hard Water Damage

Minerals in hard water can start to build up in your pipes. This can cause the amount of water moving through your pipes to drop. The reduction in water pressure can become very serious, and you may even notice only a small amount of water getting through. The solution to this scenario is to replace your pipes, even if they are not due to be changed. It is an expense that no one wants to deal with.

Unfortunately, this kind of buildup can even cause problems in fixtures and faucets. For example, your kitchen taps may become clogged, or there is only a small amount of water, making its way into your dishwasher. Or, perhaps, it starts to cause damage to the pipes behind your washing machine. Hard water can even wreck a water heater. All of these are expensive repairs that you could avoid.

Signs of Hard Water

If you are not sure that your home’s system has hard water, here are some ways you can figure it out:

  • Funny taste. Hard water has a strange taste and smell. You should be able to recognize that something is not right if you pour yourself a glass.
  • Soap scum. White marks on your tub and tiles are one of the biggest problems that come with having hard water in your pipes. You may also notice a few ugly spots on your dishes.
  • Shower stress. When you just don’t feel clean after you’ve showered, hard water may be the culprit. Soap and hard water don’t mix well. You can struggle to get a lather and fight to rinse it off. In essence, if you just don’t feel clean after your shower, you likely have a hard water problem.
  • Dirty clothes. If your clothes just don’t seem to get clean, no matter how many times you wash them, it’s time to investigate your water system. The way that hard water mixes with your laundry detergent can leave stains on your clothes.
  • Irritated skin. Is someone in your household suffering from a skin irritation? Hard water may be to blame. For example, eczema can become worse in children if they wash in hard water.
  • Appliance damage. Appliances that use water can start to wear down and break if you have hard water in your system. If you have been dealing with appliances not doing their job as well, consider whether you have hard water problems.
  • Water flow. Hard water causes minerals to build up in your pipes. As the buildup grows, your water flow will begin to slow and may even cease. You may first notice this in your toilets and taps.
  • Stains. When you notice stains in your toilet bowl, that is a major sign you have a problem with hard water. While you could simply scrub the stains away, they will keep reappearing until you tackle the hard water issue.

Tips to Tackle Hard Water

Homeowners who have to deal with hard water can try the following solutions to help prevent expensive damage to pipes, plumbing systems, and appliances:

  • Use a water softener. A tank with a salt solution to counter the minerals in hard water is often the best way to prevent damage in your pipes and system. Moreover, it is a cost-efficient way to protect your home from the hazards that hard water can bring. If you are considering getting a water softener to help you deal with hard water, you should seek the advice of a professional plumber first.
  • Change your laundry habits. There are laundry soaps available that help overcome the challenges of washing your clothes in hard water. You can also try using hot water on all cycles, which can help rinse the soap away better.
  • Vinegar. You can try a homemade solution by using a vinegar and water mix to wash the minerals left behind by hard water. This can be an effective way to keep your taps, sinks, and tubs looking clean.
  • Cool water. Running hot water through your water heater can make the situation worse. So, try to reduce the amount of hot water you use to help prevent damage that hard water can cause in your plumbing and water system.
  • Flush your water heater. Regular flushing of your water heater can help prevent sediment and buildup from causing clogs to the system.
  • Clean your appliances. Keeping buildup off your appliances will help them work better for longer. If you have hard water in your home, cleaning your appliances is a must. There are several cleaners you can buy to help you do this. Alternatively, you can use a vinegar-based solution for cleaning.
  • Wipe down surfaces. Hard water will leave stains on your dishes, sinks, tiles, and tubs. But one way you can prevent ugly stains is to wipe down these elements before the water dries. This can be particularly important if you have glass shower doors. If you do not have the time or energy to wipe down these surfaces to prevent hard water from drying, you can use a spray to combat the minerals that cause the stains.

For more information about tackling hard water problems in your home, call Brothers Plumbing at 1-800-742-0018 or contact us here.

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