Hard Water and How it Can Cause Problems to Your Plumbing

If you have ever seen a television commercial for a tub, sink, and toilet cleaner, you have probably noticed that many products tout their ability to fight hard water. This might leave you wondering what hard water actually is, if you have it, and what it does to your health and your plumbing fixtures.

Hard Water and the Bad Rap

Fortunately, hard water is not dangerous to your health or the health of your family. Experts estimate that all put about 15% of water in the United States is hard water, so the odds are good that you could have it in your home or workplace. It could also be in your children’s school or at your favorite restaurants. There is no need to worry about drinking hard water; researchers actually have found that hard water offers benefits to the human body. But, there is some bad news to go along with the good because hard water can do damage to your plumbing fixtures that eventually become costly to repair or replace.

Water Loaded with Natural Minerals

Hard water is water that is filled with minerals. As it falls from the sky, water is empty of minerals; it really is just H20 - hydrogen and oxygen. When it lands on the ground and rolls down hill, the water picks up debris in the form of minerals like calcium and magnesium. We know that calcium is good for your bones and magnesium benefits several systems in the body, like the nervous system and circulatory system. Many municipalities and homeowners filter hard water to remove or “soften” out the minerals. If you use a well for your water, the minerals remain, unless you add a water softener to your plumbing system.

Soften Your Water

Water is softened by using a water softener. These usually need to be installed by a professional plumbing. The softeners remove the minerals by using sodium molecules. The calcium and magnesium bind with the sodium molecules as the water moves through a specially designed filter. Water softeners usually require sodium tablets to effectively work. Softeners themselves can be automatic, so they soften the water as soon as it enters the home, but some are manual and require regular maintenance to keep the water free of minerals.

Plumbing Issues from Hard Water

While many people enjoy the added minerals in their hard water, their plumbing systems do no benefit from hard water flowing through them. Pipes can get clogged by the minerals in the water, which can reduce the efficiency of your water flowing to the spouts. Water heaters can develop scale build up, which can reduce the effectiveness of the heater. If you have hard water, you will notice a scaly residue on your dishes after you run them through the dishwasher. Your clothing will become discolored, as hard water creates a dingy gray look to clothing. You will also notice that your clothes do not last long because of the hard water build up. Your bathtub, shower head, and sinks will develop a buildup of calcium which can be challenging to remove.

Take Care of Your Hair

Even though hard water is not bad for the body, you might notice some problems with your hair as a result of showering with hard water. Some people notice that their hair has become discolored (usually in an orange or green tint, with brassiness), often because of excess iron in their water. Some notice that their hair no longer shines and it loses body. Others complain that hard water causes hair color and perms to take more time to finish and in many cases, hair has difficulty being styled.

Contact Us for Help

If you are worried about hard water and what it will do to your plumbing, your body, and your family, feel free to give us, Scott English Plumbing, a call at 714-987-9801 or 949-462-9773.