How Can Hard Water Affect Your Plumbing?

If you’ve noticed a white residue on your drains and faucets, you may have hard water. Hard water is water that contains excessive amounts of minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium.

These minerals build up through the water cycle and can be found in well water and city water. The more minerals present in the water, the harder the water is. The high levels of magnesium and calcium in hard water cause limescale, which can not only be hard to remove but can also cause damage to your plumbing.

Visible evidence of limescale buildup on your fixtures is just the start of what could end up being a very expensive problem. Minerals can build up in your plumbing system and clog drains, hoses, pipes, and other parts of the system. We’ve compiled a list of ways that hard water can affect your plumbing and what you can do to eliminate hard water.

#1. Clogs

Decreased water flow or water draining slower can signify that minerals from hard water are building up on your pipes. Minerals will build up continuously on the sides of the pipes. As this build-up increases, it can cause the following problems.

  • Drain clogs form when the minerals build up and stop the water from draining. Although drain cleaners can help, they mostly only remove a small amount of minerals, so the drain continues to run slowly, causing water backup in tubs, showers, and sinks.
  • Decreased water flow occurs when the build-up has accumulated in the pipes slowing down the flow of water. It can also increase pressure in the pipes, causing a backflow of water.
  • Slow flushing toilets tend to be one of the first signs of mineral build-up. Not only can the build-up reduce the water flow and lead to clogs, but deposits can begin to form in the tank causing corrosion of internal components of the toilet and reducing the life of your toilet.

#2. Corrosion

Magnesium and calcium can destroy some types of metals. As the minerals break down your metal pipes, it can cause the pipes to break and leak. If you fail to repair the section of pipe that has corroded, the entire section of your plumbing system may disintegrate.

And your pipes aren’t the only metal that these minerals can corrode. It can also happen to drains, fixtures, faucets, valves, and appliances.

#3. Affects Appliances

Mineral deposits in your plumbing system can have a significant effect on your appliances as well. Here are some ways hard water affects your appliances:

  • Reduced energy efficiency — As mineral deposits build up, they can leave a residue on dishes and can make your clothes feel like they aren’t clean and they may feel stiff. You’ll likely put the dishes or clothes through another wash cycle when that happens. This requires more energy and will raise your utility bills.
  • Increased wear and tear — Build-up on drains, jets, and the connections on your dishwasher or washing machine can cause water to collect in your appliances. This can lead to mold and corrosion. It can also reduce the life of your appliances.
  • Void warranties — Many manufacturer warranties are void if the appliance is damaged due to hard water. Typically, warranties cover defects due to normal use of the appliance, and hard water deposits are not considered normal use.

#4. Damage to Your Water Heater

While hard water deposits occur in hot or cold water, hot water environments typically see more mineral build-up. And this includes your hot water heater.

Not only is hard water more difficult to heat, causing your water heater to work harder, but when you heat water, it causes evaporation which can leave an increased concentration of the minerals found in hard water. Mineral build-up can significantly reduce the lifespan of your hot water heater.

The Solution

Installing the right water softener system can eliminate hard water in your home. A water softener removes the unwanted minerals from the water by trapping the calcium and magnesium in resin beads inside the softener and replacing them with potassium or sodium. The result is softer water, which is better for your home and your family.

Let Independent Water Service Inc. Perfect Your Water

If you’re worried that hard water is taking a toll on your plumbing, turn to the water experts at Independent Water Service, Inc. We are an official Ecowater Systems dealer and have been serving the residents of Yakima and Central Washington since 1986.

Our water treatment experts will come to your home and perform a FREE water analysis to determine what is in your water and recommend the best system for your needs. And our superior service doesn’t end there. We will install and maintain a water system to get your family the freshest, clearest water possible.

There’s no need to just “deal with” hard water. Contact us today. We can help.