Tap water naturally contains suspended minerals like calcium, magnesium and other trace materials. While hard water is safe for human consumption, it can leave unsightly, hard-to-clean spots on your fixtures. Hard water can cause faded laundry, spots on glasses and flat, dull hair. But it can also be harming your home.
When water passes through the water table, it picks up considerable amounts of minerals like magnesium and calcium. The mineral content 1) varies geographically, 2) isn’t really dangerous to human health, but 3) it does cause damage to pipes, fixtures and appliances.
For water to be considered “hard,” it has to register above 3.5 grains per gallon. In Cincinnati, the average hardness of the water is 10 grains of dissolved minerals per gallon, which is classified as “hard” by the Water Quality Association.
From our water damage cleanup experts, here are some things to remember about hard water.
Mineral deposits from hard water, also known as scale deposits, are often responsible for clogging pipes. When hard water is heated, a certain amount of water evaporates, causing the minerals suspended in it to precipitate. This solidified scale (or limescale) can then accumulate. As scale builds, it gradually restricts water flow and decreases the efficiency of multiple systems: your pipes, water heater, washing machine and dishwasher.
These accumulations can cause major troubles all throughout your plumbing system, from low water pressure to a complete failure of an appliance. Calcification in plumbing lines restricts water flow, which means your dishwasher and washing machine will have to work harder to do their jobs, taking a toll on the lifespan of these appliances, including hot water heaters. According to the Water Quality Association, a washing machine may only last 7 years with hard water. With soft water, it could last 11 years or longer. This is why many appliance manuals recommend soft water for optimal performance.
Certain plumbing materials are more susceptible to hard water clogging than others. This problem is most pronounced in steel pipes. While copper, PVC and PEX pipes are more resistant to hard water buildup and corrosion, eventually they can still get clogged or completely blocked by scale deposits.
Though the scale buildup in pipes is predominantly hidden within the walls, you can readily see it in other places around the house. One of the most visible places is on shower heads and faucets, where it can restrict water flow if it gets bad enough.
Does only one shower in your home not get enough hot water from your heater?– perhaps the mixing valve isn’t working. Due to sediment build-up, rubber parts found in the mixing valves get worn down over time. That hard water sediment might be causing the degradation within the walls and at the facets.
Hard water can actually do permanent damage to glass by etching it, and this is often seen on glass shower doors. Over time, scale deposits around seals in both washing machines and dishwashers can also create leaks. And lastly, although superficial, cleaning soap scum is exhausting.
Water softeners eliminate some of the hard-water scale inside pipes by reducing hard calcium and magnesium. This helps reduce the corrosion of water-using appliances, such as dishwashers and toilets. That, in turn, will extend the life of the appliances. Soft water can also eliminate “soap scum” left behind when cleaning with hard water. Depending on your water supplier, adding a water softener to your home might extend the lifespan of your appliances; thus, helping to prevent costly water damage cleanup down the road.
Whether your damage came from a faucet broken due to hard water, or any other reason, get help now. Call the water damage cleanup experts at ICON Property Rescue to provide emergency services for water, fire, and mold removal services throughout Kentucky and Ohio.