There are many different factors that can affect your home’s water, and if you are among the estimated ninety percent of homeowners in the U.S. who have to live with the burden of hard water, then you may have already noticed some of its effects. Hard water is characterized by its high mineral content and while most water filtered into homes has some amount of calcium, lime, and iron, the presence of too many minerals can build up over time and cause your water’s flow to become sluggish and cause other plumbing troubles as well. Because hard water can affect almost every room in your home, understanding what causes it and how it can damage your plumbing is essential before you can take steps to correct it.
Identifying Hard Water Symptoms
If you suspect the presence of hard water in your home, the first step to take is to identify its symptoms. Hard water can damage pipes and showerheads slowly over time because of the buildup of lime and calcium. You can detect the presence of hard water in several ways; for example, if your showerhead appears to have a greenish discoloration around the jets or where the joints meet, you have hard water because this green tinge indicates the presence of lime and calcium buildup. These buildups can also appear whitish and crusty, like salt deposits.
The presence of hard water can also be found around the outside of your home. Outdoor faucet fixtures may also appear discolored, and if you have leaky hose connections, lime stains may be visible on the exterior walls around it. The thicker and greener these stains are, the harder your home’s water typically is. While lime scale stains usually do not compromise the strength of concrete, they can be difficult and costly to remove once they have set it.
The Effects of Hard Water
Over time, hard water deposits can clog the pipes and jets of your home’s faucets and showers, making the water flow slow to a drip. In most cases, you will have to use a harsh chemical solvent to either get rid of this mineral scaling or have the pipes and faucets replaced. Steel pipes are particularly vulnerable to this problem and can become badly damaged from the effects of hard water. While copper and PVC plumbing are more resistant to the effects of hard water, lime and calcium deposits can cause slow draining from sinks and showers.
Reducing the Effects of Hard Water
While hard water can be damaging to your home’s plumbing, there are ways to reduce or eliminate its effects. The most effective way is to call your family’s go to plumber and have them install a water softener in your home. These systems filter out minerals that cause scaling, discoloration and damage to plumbing and fixtures. During the filtration process, magnesium, iron, and calcium ions are removed from the water, making it softer. This can increase the longevity of your home’s plumbing and appliances, including your washing machine and dishwasher.
Hard water can seriously damage your home’s plumbing, costing you time and money. If you suspect its presence, being able to identify the signs and symptoms can help you address the problem before it gets too serious. Having your water tested by a professional will confirm the presence of hard water and allow you to seek advice about how to treat it.