You might be used to living with hard water, but your appliances might be struggling to make it through another day. Hard water, which is water that is rich with natural minerals like calcium and magnesium, can coat plumbing and change the chemistry of cleaning, creating a long list of issues.
Here are three ways hard water might be damaging your appliances, plus ways professional plumbers can help.
1. Clogging Drains and Spray Jets
Hard water is notorious for leaving behind a trail of lime scale, especially in appliances that move water like dishwashers and toilets. Over time, the microscopic minerals in hard water can create difficult-toremove deposits, clogging things like sprayer jets, drains, valves, and nozzles.
Unfortunately, because hard water accumulation occurs slowly, many homeowners chalk up problems to aging appliances, when deposits simply need to be removed. Dishwashers might not seem to clean as efficiently as they once did, shower heads can distribute water unevenly, and toilets can develop valve damage and unsightly internal stains.
Fortunately, plumbers can identify these issues by looking for the signs of hard water buildup. Dishwashers and shower heads can be treated with solutions that remove lime scale, and plumbers can clean out pipes to allow wastewater to drain properly.
2. Requiring More Soap
Most people don’t realize it, but hard water actually changes the chemistry of dirt and grime removal, since it contains massive amounts of dissolved minerals. While clean, clear water works by forming a lather when it comes into contact with soap and friction, the minerals in hard water react with soap to create soap scum, creating the need for additional soap to remove the same amount of grime.
As a result, homeowners find themselves needing significantly more dishwashing detergent, laundry soap, hand wash, shampoo, and cleaning chemicals, creating even more soap scum that can coat the inside of appliances and main plumbing lines. Additionally, since many soaps contain small amounts of oils and animal fats, these substances can congeal inside of difficult-to-clean appliances like washing machines, creating foul odors.
If you are living with hard water, have your appliances and plumbing system inspected and cleaned regularly to prevent problems. To eliminate soap scum and hard water deposits completely, you can even have a water softener installed, which uses sodium ions to remove calcium and magnesium particles before water is used throughout your home.
3. Filling Holding Tanks With Minerals
Water-using home appliances that contain holding tanks are especially susceptible to problems caused by hard water because minerals can settle inside of the tanks over time. Water purifiers can develop large accumulations that prevent water from being cleaned properly, and hot water heaters can struggle with efficiency, since their interior holding tanks can fill up with hardened minerals.
In fact, hot water heaters that aren’t maintained properly can develop large mineral deposits that float around inside the tank, reducing the amount of hot water the tank can hold and creating hard-to-locate noises emanating from your basement or utility closet. Over time, these accumulations can become heavy enough that they can put pressure on the bottom part of the tank, creating serious indoor floods.
Although adding a water softener to your home can help to prevent these accumulations, one of the best things you can do is to have your appliances professionally maintained. Plumbers can inspect water purifiers and hot water heaters for deposit buildup. They can also install or clean drain systems to allow particulates to escape the holding tanks.
Are you struggling with home maintenance problems because of hard water? Talk with the professional plumbers at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains. In addition to helping you with clogged pipes and overworked appliances, our team of experienced contractors also guarantees our work and promises to respect your home and family.