Hard Water’s Impact on Your Home Appliances

Have you been having more problems with your appliances than usual? It may be time to take a look at your water supply. If you have hard water, that could be the cause.

It may seem like the worst part of hard water is the annoying rust stains or limescale build-up it can leave on…everything. But the truth is, the high mineral content in hard water can cause expensive problems to your plumbing system, as well as appliances such as your washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and hot water heater that come in contact with hard water regularly.

Hard water can cause significant damage to your appliances, so if you want to increase the lifespan of your appliances, avoiding hard water is a must. This article will discuss some effects hard water has on your home appliances.

What is Hard Water?

In the United States, over 85% of households have hard water. Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals (mainly calcium and magnesium). It’s natural for minerals to build up during the water cycle, and they can show up in city and well water. And the more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, the harder the water is.

Hard Water and Appliances

As these minerals build up, they can take a significant amount of time off the life of your appliances. A study by the Water Quality Association determined that the lifespan of appliances is significantly reduced by hard water.

  • Washing Machine – 11 years reduced to 7.7
  • Dishwasher – 10 years reduced to 7
  • Faucets – 9 years reduced to 5.4
  • Toilet – 6.5 years reduced to 2
  • Electric water heater – 13 years reduced to 6.5
  • Gas water heater – 11 years reduced to 5.5

Not only is their lifespan affected, but so is their efficiency. The mineral build-up restricts the water flow reducing the efficiency of the appliance. Manufacturers typically recommend using treated water to ensure optimal performance, and some manufacturers will even void warranties if you use hard water.

Washing Machines

Washing machines are one of the appliances most significantly affected by hard water. After running hard water through your washing machine for an extended period of time, build-up will accumulate on your washing tub, lint screen, and pump mechanism. Eventually, this build-up will lead to a breakdown of your machine.

Hard water can also adversely affect the power of your machine. It hinders your detergent’s ability to clean your clothes, meaning the level of cleanliness will diminish.


Dishwashers are also highly impacted by hard water. The mechanisms in your dishwasher are susceptible to mineral build-up. This build-up can cause your dishwasher to fail or cause expensive breakdowns.

Hard water can leave a residue on your glassware from the minerals in the water and can also affect the detergent you use. Hard water doesn’t allow detergent to dissolve properly. Because of this, you need to use twice the detergent you would typically use to get your dishes clean.

If you have hard water, have you ever noticed scratches on your glassware? The minerals in the hard water cause those scratches.

Water Heater

Your water heater regulates the water temperature in your home. Unfortunately, the minerals from hard water can form sediments that can get stuck in your water heater, impacting its ability to function correctly.

High-Efficiency Appliances

High-efficiency appliances help reduce energy costs and their impact on the environment. If you’ve chosen high-efficiency appliances and have hard water, your hard water may be counteracting your investment.

How a Water Softener Can Help

A water softener helps eliminate the damage caused by mineral build-up by filtering out the hard water minerals before they hit your plumbing. Water softeners can:

  • Save money on soaps and detergents
  • Lower water heating expenses
  • Extend the life of your appliances that use water
  • Make your clothes brighter
  • Remove water spots and soap scum
  • Leave your skin and hair smooth and healthy

Let the Experts Help You Eliminate Hard Water

Reducing your appliance’s exposure to hard water is essential in avoiding future issues and keeping them running at optimal performance. One way to do that is to install a water softening system in your home.

At Independent Water Service, Inc., we can help you test your water supply and recommend, install, and maintain a water system to give you the best water possible. Our technicians are experts in various solutions, from water softeners to pressure tank maintenance.

If you have concerns about hard water or the overall quality of your water, we can help! Contact us today to schedule your FREE water analysis.