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5 Common Plumbing Problems Caused by Hard Water

June 23 2021

Is your home plagued by hard water? Unfortunately, chances are you have hard water running through your pipes and don’t even know it. A staggering 8 out of every 10 homes in America has hard water flowing through their plumbing. While hard water isn’t harmful to your health, it does come with a host of other issues. In this article, we’re breaking down the five most common plumbing problems associated with hard water. Read on to discover how hard water could be affecting your home’s plumbing.

What Is Hard Water Anyway? 

Hard water describes water with high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Hard water can leave stains that look white a chalky on your once beautiful faucets in your kitchen or bathroom.

Hard water is determined on a hardness scale by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). It measures milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter and rates it on a scale like this: 

  • Soft = 0 to 60 mg/L
  • Moderately Hard = 61 to 120 mg/L
  • Hard = 121 to 180 mg/L
  • Very Hard = more than 181 mg/L

Testing your water to see if it is hard can determine if action needs to be taken in your home. Chances are, if you have hard water, you may be noticing one or more of these common plumbing problems. 

What are the top 5 common plumbing problems caused by hard water?

1. Scale Buildup Inside Pipes

One of the most common plumbing problems associated with hard water is scale buildup inside your pipes. Over time the harsh minerals in hard water can cause your pipes to become blocked up, restricting water flow through your pipes. That can cause issues with water pressure for appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, and tubs. But that’s not the only problem that can come from scale buildup.  If you’re not sure if your home has hard water, you can easily get a test to check. Then, depending on the results, you can get your water softened to suitable rates. 

2. Hard Water Can Wear Down Appliances Faster

If hard water is running through your plumbing, it’s also running through your most important appliances, like your dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator. Scale buildup can wreak havoc not only on the pipes that lead to your appliances restricting flow but also on appliance components themselves. Mineral deposits can develop on water supply lines and narrow drain lines, blocking or restricting the water flow. If you’ve noticed that this has become an issue in some of your appliances, you can use calcium, lime, and rust remover through your dishwasher or washing machine. Just run an empty load and add an extra rinse cycle.

3. Hot Water Heater Drama

The chances are great that if you’re noticing buildup around your faucets and hardware, it’s also affecting your hot water heater.  While the average hot water heater lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 years, with hard water, hard water can cut in half to 4 to 6 years! When you factor in the cost to replace a hot water heater, that’s a BIG problem. According to Home Advisor, the cost to replace and install a hot water heater average between $350 on the low end to $10,000. That’s why it’s imperative to test your water for harsh minerals that could hurt your plumbing.

4. Buildup Around Faucets, Sinks, and Tubs

If you’ve started to notice white deposits lurking around your faucets that are hard to scrub off, that’s a sure sign of hard water. These stains may not seem all that big a problem until you realize that’s happening throughout your whole plumbing system. More than just an eyesore, these white deposits can cause other major plumbing issues.

Another sign of hard water buildup is mineral deposits in your sink and tub. The hard water prevents soap from completely dissolving. That leaves behind a nasty soap scum that builds up around your sink and bathtub. You may notice that the same soap scum attaches to your shower curtains and your tiles. Even after using an abrasive cleanser on these areas to remove the soap scum, you’ll most likely notice a dull and unattractive sight for all your hard work. So what can you do to finally be free of the soap scum and mineral deposits? Get your water softened by a professional. Until your hard water issue gets resolved, your soap scum and mineral deposits will continue to return.

5. Clogged Up or Sluggish Sinks

Hard water restricts water flow. It only makes sense that it may affect your drains sooner or later. If your drain looks a little sluggish, it could be hard water deposits blocking water flow from going down the drain. Quite naturally, as your drain becomes more constricted from mineral deposits, it will also become more susceptible to clogging when mixed with any food particles in your kitchen sink. If you’re noticing that you have to unclog the sink frequently, it could be due to hard water deposits stopping water flow in your drains. 

Myths About Soft Water

Three common myths get thrown around about soft water that isn’t true. They are: 

Water softeners make your water taste too salty. In actuality, soft water has only 20 mg of sodium for 8 ounces of water. That’s less sodium than is found in an egg, a slice of bread, and low-fat milk. 

Softeners can remove important minerals from your drinking water. Again, this is false. Softeners only remove minerals that your body can’t absorb or doesn’t need, like calcium and magnesium. What’s left is all the great minerals you usually enjoy.

Water softeners cost a lot to operate. In reality, water softeners can run for less than $10 per year. It uses about the same electricity as your standard alarm clock. Not only that, it will save you the cost of removing mineral deposits in your system and allow your appliances to run efficiently. 

Common Plumbing Problems Be Gone! 

Hard water can be treated and eliminated. Hopefully, you’ve seen how efficient your home can be just by adding a water softener with this article. So wave those common plumbing problems goodbye.

While you’re at it, why not pick up some nice home furnishings for your kitchen and bathroom? Hanover Supply Company has the latest in design features for your home from top brands.