How To Protect Your Plumbing From Hard Water Damage

by Connor Pena

Hard water—everyone's heard of it. It wreaks havoc on your pipes and can lead to soap scum buildup in your shower or sink. Hard water can be found in more than 85% of water throughout the country which makes it a common problem in American households. Continue reading to understand the cause of hard water and how to deal with it effectively. 

Hard Water: The Basics

The terms "hard" and "soft" don't retain their usual meaning when used to describe water. Instead, hard refers to the amount of minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, present in your home's water. These minerals come from the soil and other ground material that houses the pipes beneath your home. While not a medical cause for alarm, hard water can damage your home's plumbing, can shorten the lives of appliances that use water, such as coffee makers and tea kettles, and can decrease your pipe's ability to conduct heat

Soft water, on the other hand, is water that is lacking in the buildup of calcium and magnesium. Soft water can be found in your home's plumbing naturally, meaning it hasn't absorbed any of the minerals from the soil around the piping, or it can be induced with the use of a water softener. 

Softening Your Home's Water Supply

While hard water is not harmful to your health, and in fact, may even be healthier for you than soft water, there's is no doubt to the damage it can cause to your home's plumbing. As hard water minerals build up on the insides of your piping, you could eventually be dealing with a clog. 

There are ways to combat hard water, and the most common is with the use of a water softener. Very simply, a water softener replaces the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. For those concerned about added sodium to their diet, there are softeners that use potassium chloride instead.

Water softeners are costly, but they may save you money in the long run. If hard water is allowed to completely clog your pipes, you may be dealing with a total replacement. 

Another Solution to Your Hard Water Problem

If water softening doesn't appeal to you, you can prevent the buildup of hard water in your home. Flush your pipes with vinegar or a store-bought solution to break down calcium deposits and prevent them from ruining your plumbing. 

You can discuss other solutions with your plumber or a place like Optimum Plumbing LLC. Be sure to set up a yearly maintenance appointment to keep an eye on the levels of buildup in your pipes.