It’s easy to see the effects of hard water throughout a home. Hard water makes itself known by affecting anything in your home that uses water. You’ll notice its effects when you take a shower and wash your clothes and dishes. You’ll physically see it as the minerals it leaves behind build up on your plumbing fixtures. You might even taste it in your drinking water.
Some homeowners try to ignore these visible effects of hard water. They rationalize it by saying mineral deposits are unsightly, and drinking hard water isn’t harmful, so what else is there to do about it? What they might not know is that when left unchecked, hard water can wreak havoc on a home’s plumbing system.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water simply means that there are specific minerals in your water supply such as calcium and magnesium. Water systems that utilize groundwater as their source often produce hard water because as the groundwater moves through soil and rock it picks up small amounts of these minerals. If you get your water from a well or from the municipal water supply, you may have hard water.
Effects of Hard Water on a Home
- Hair and skin feel dry after a bath or shower
- Soap scum in the bathtub, shower, and sinks
- Hard water stains on glass shower doors
- Clogged showerhead
- White or yellowish areas around faucets and drains
- Dishwasher leaves water spots on dishes
- Soap left behind after a load of laundry
- Clothes don’t feel “clean” after washing
How It Hurts Your Plumbing System
If hard water causes these visible buildups on the exterior of your plumbing fixtures, just think about what it’s doing to the interior of your plumbing. As mineral deposits accumulate on the interior of the pipes, over time, it builds up to the point that it constricts the amount of water that can move through the pipes.
Although it’s unlikely to accumulate to the point where it causes a complete blockage, it can decrease your water pressure and increase the chance of a clog. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to replace your pipes if the hard water causes enough damage and corrosion.
Hard water can also wreak havoc on your water heater and on the connections to your major appliances such as the dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine. Hard water mineral deposits can cause corrosion in your water heater and if it gets bad enough, your water heater could fail. Hard water can also cause your appliances to become clogged with scale, reducing water flow and causing leaks. This can contribute to needing costly repairs and the damaged parts needing to be replaced
How Can I Protect My Plumbing System from Hard Water?
Getting a water softener installed in your home is the easiest way to combat the negative effects of hard water. Water softeners replace these minerals with salt ions so that the minerals are flushed and you don’t have to worry about them damaging your plumbing system.
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