The Major Pains of Hard Water
“Hard water” and “soft water” are common terms when talking about the quality of water in your home. But do you really know what they mean? Hard water tends to have fewer bubbles – and some people even prefer the taste – but did you know that it can also cause a variety of plumbing problems?
Hard water simply means that the water in your plumbing system contains a lot of mineral particles that have dissipated into it. This is common in rocky regions where the natural water level is exposed to lots of minerals. Unfortunately, this can cause issues when the water interacts with your plumbing. Here’s what to be wary of and what to do.
Hard Water Problems
If your region has hard water with lots of minerals in it – like calcium, magnesium, or iron particles - it’s almost certainly still safe to drink (although some people do say that switching to soft water is easier on their stomachs). However, it can cause problems like:
- Skin irritation: Some people find that hard water is tougher on their skin. It can also make it harder to work up a lather with soap, which is less annoying but still impacts your showers, dishwashing, and similar tasks.
- Stained showers, sinks, and toilets: These reddish stains are usually caused by iron particles in the water that stain light-colored materials over time. These stains don’t usually washout, at least not without a lot of hard work, and can quickly become annoying if they build up over time.
- Clogged pipes: When hard water is heated, certain minerals can precipitate out of the water and then bond to the metal in your pipes. If this happens enough, it will actually create a thickening ring around the inside of the pipes, slowly clogging them and causing many related plumbing issues. These clogs can’t be removed like normal pipe clogs and can usually be resolved only by replacing pipes or components in your fridge, dishwasher, etc.
- Water heater issues: Since the water gets hottest in your water heater, it’s here that minerals are most likely to create layers and cause problems with water tank sensors and operation.
Address Hard Water Problems
So, what can you do about a ubiquitous problem like hard water? Minor issues can often be addressed by frequent cleaning. However, more serious problems indicate that it may be time to install a water softener in your home, which chemically treats the water to make the minerals inside less of an issue. This will help prevent long-term build-up inside your pipes, as well as treat issues like difficulty washing your clothes or soap build-up.
There are also water heaters specifically designed with rods to reduce mineral precipitation and related problems. These upgrades can remove hard water problems that may have been plaguing your home for years!
Does it look like your home is having problems with hard water and related issues? Talk to the experts at Amanda Plumbing, and we can help you find a fix at last!