How Hard Water Affects Your Plumbing

Is Hard Water Affecting Your Plumbing?

Most of us are familiar with the term “hard water,” but what does it mean? Hard refers to the level of dissolved minerals present in the water. Various minerals may be found, but it usually includes certain amounts of magnesium and calcium that contribute to the hardness or softness of the water. These minerals aren’t necessarily harmful to health, but hard water can be troublesome when accumulating in pipes and on plumbing fixtures.

How Can You Know If You Have Hard Water?

Soap Scum On Plumbing Fixtures—The solid deposit that is created when you use soap in hard water is referred to as scum. The insoluble deposit is a result of charged calcium and magnesium particles that have reacted with glycerine. The substance accumulates slowly but may feature mold and mildew growth and eventually results in clogged pipes. Scum can also contain bacteria, exposing you and your loved ones to health risks.

High Water Bills—Huge accumulations of hard-water deposits in your pipes lead to excess water or unwanted materials being trapped in the plumbing line. Increased pressure in the pipe eventually leads to cracks, causing leakages before the water reaches a fixture. If not addressed in time, this type of damage will significantly increase your utility bills.

Quality of Drinking Water —If you notice small particles or debris in your tap water, it could be an oversupply of these minerals in your hard water. The stream collects these particles as it travels through the pipes to your sink faucet, shower, and other fixtures.

The particles in your drinking water are often traces of calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper. If you don’t address this issue as soon as possible, the deposits in your plumbing will continue to accumulate until it clogs your pipes.

Household Appliance Problems—Hard water negatively affects household appliances, such as the water heater, washer, and dishwasher. When minerals accumulate on appliances, the deposits clog valves and create other problems that cause your appliances to deteriorate quickly.

Stiff, Rough, or Faded Fabric—If overlooked, mineral deposits from hard water attach to clothing and linen, resulting in the material feeling rough and stiff. These deposits weaken your fabric and may cause unsightly discolorations.

Recurrent Plumbing Repairs—Mineral deposits easily corrode pipes and water-dependent appliances. The damages mean that you’ll need to repair your plumbing system and other fixtures more frequently.

Take the guesswork out with a Free Water Analysis from c and j water. We will come to your home and provide an analysis of your city or rural water and answer any questions you may have. Your visit will take 30 – 45 minutes and will be scheduled at a time that’s right for you. 

Hard Water PlumbingDoes Hard Water Hurt My Plumbing?

In short, yes it does. Mineral deposits from hard water cause clogging in the pipes. When you heat hard water, some of the water evaporates, leading to the precipitation of the minerals in it. These solidified mineral deposits then accumulate within your plumbing system, water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine. It causes severe problems throughout your plumbing system, for example, including low water pressure, rising water bills, and the malfunction of various household appliances. Some plumbing systems are more vulnerable to hard water. For example, PVC and copper pipes are more resistant to hard water’s effects, but mineral clogging might still be a problem if left unchecked.

What Can You Do To Fix Hard Water?

The good news is, you don’t have to settle for poor-quality water—there are several ways to mitigate hard water with the right equipment. 

Water Softener—This is the most common way to get rid of your hard water. Just like the name says, it literally softens your water. Water softeners remove hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium through a process called ion exchange. A typical water-softening system removes calcium and magnesium ions from hard water and replaces them with sodium ions—ion exchange. Calcium and magnesium ions interfere with the action of household soaps and detergents, but sodium does not. Your water softener unit is usually located in your household plumbing near the place where water enters the house so that it softens the water used for drinking and washing. The unit contains several cubic feet of porous plastic resin covered with molecules that attract and bind to positive ions dissolved in the water.

Normally, sodium-positive ions coat the resin, but as water flows over the resin on its way to your sink or washer, the naturally occurring calcium and magnesium positive ions that exist in hard water stick to the resin. This releases sodium ions into the water in order to maintain a balance of electrical charge on the resin. Gradually, most of the sodium ions are released into the household water, and the resin becomes saturated with calcium and magnesium ions.

Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System—Paired with a water softener, RO systems further purify your water for consumption. Reverse Osmosis is a filtration system designed to remove dissolved solids, organic and inorganic forms. RO removes metals like arsenic, aluminum, copper, lead, chromium, and many others. It also removes inorganic forms such as nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, and many others.

An RO unit is a great solution for water used for drinking and cooking. It removes solids that a water softener cannot and provides the whole family with high-quality water right from the tap.

If you are unsure about the hardness of your water or would like more information about water quality solutions, contact c and j water today!