What Is Hard Water And Is It A Problem?
The quality of the water your home receives can have lasting impacts on the longevity and function of your plumbing system. While hard water is not harmful to drink, it can cause damage to your pipes, faucets, fixtures, and appliances. Understanding the qualities of hard water and how your plumbing service can help you combat these effects is a positive step toward a healthier home plumbing system that delivers the performance and reliability you want.
What Is Hard Water?
All water contains dissolved minerals and other elements. Hard water refers to water that contains a particularly high concentration of two specific minerals: calcium and magnesium carbonates. These minerals are picked up by the water as it percolates through deposits in the Earth before it is supplied to your home. Although water is typically treated by your supplier to remove harmful microorganisms and chemicals, this treatment process does not remove minerals, which are not harmful to human health.
How Does Hard Water Damage Your Plumbing?
While hard water is perfectly safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing, the minerals in hard water can cause trouble for your plumbing system. Over time, these minerals are left behind as water flows through your plumbing pipes, faucets, showerheads, and appliances. These deposits can shrink the usable diameter of your pipes, as well as cause corrosion that leads to pinhole leaks.
Ultimately, these effects can result in water damage and a loss of water pressure throughout your home. Hard water can also clog faucets, showerheads, and appliances, reducing their performance and leaving unsightly limescale deposits behind. Inside your water heater, these minerals can corrode the heating elements or even affect the tank itself, requiring water heater repair or premature replacement. Over time, all of these effects will reduce the functional lifetime of your plumbing system, requiring you to call for more frequent repairs and replace your appliances and pipes much sooner than expected.
How Is Hard Water Treated?
Hard water is treated with a home water softening system. A water softener removes the unwanted minerals from your home’s water and replaces them with salt before the water flows into your home’s plumbing. There are many benefits associated with water softeners, especially if your home’s water is particularly hard. Although hard water isn’t harmful to humans, it can cause dry skin and hair after bathing and may affect the taste of some foods and beverages. Hard water affects the efficacy of soaps and detergents and can lead to premature wear and tear on clothing as well as appliances and pipes. Treating your water with a water softener is a simple way to completely eliminate the effects of hard water on your home and your daily lifestyle.
Water that has been treated will taste better and leave your hair, skin, and clothes feeling softer; soft water also allows you to use less detergent when washing clothes and dishes, and won’t leave spots on silverware, glass, and cookware after drying. Installing a water softener is not only a step toward a more comfortable lifestyle, it will also protect your plumbing from the harmful effects of hard water for fewer plumbing issues and lower overall costs associated with plumbing maintenance, repair, and replacement.