Hard water in your household plumbing is no picnic. The mineral-laden liquid can gum up your appliances and shorten their lifespans, while degrading the functionality of your pipes as well. In certain circumstances, hard water can even contribute to a health hazard. Fortunately, you can confront the challenges that hard water poses to your household plumbing with a water softening device that will protect your pipes, appliances and family all at once.
Appliances at Risk
Hard water is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium, and can be found in most regions of North America, particularly in areas with a lot of sedimentary rock like limestone. The minerals build up in the form of scale inside your pipes and appliances, creating a variety of problems.
As scale accumulates in your water heater tank, it insulates the liquid from the burner, meaning it takes more energy to bring it to the desired temperature. The scale will corrode the inside of the tank, eventually leading to consequences like jammed valves and leaks. Hard water also makes it more difficult to agitate soap into a lather; instead, it turns into more of a scummy texture. That means you lose functionality in your dishwasher and washing machine, and your clothes and dishes may not be cleaned to your satisfaction.
Clogging the Pipes
Water with high mineral content also poses a problem to your household plumbing itself. As the scale builds up, the water flow coming out of the faucet will be reduced. Meanwhile, the pressure will increase behind the blockage, which could eventually lead to a leak in the pipe.
The scale can also spell trouble for your own well-being. Mineral buildups in and of themselves aren't dangerous to your health; however, the scaly formations that they create inside your pipes are a prime area for bacteria to take hold and create a biofilm. Biofilms can harbor the bugs that cause noxious illnesses like Legionnaire’s disease. Then, if the water ever backs up the drain, you and your family can be exposed to the harmful bacteria.
Soften that Water Today
One way to combat hard water is to make sure that a plumber performs regular maintenance on your household plumbing to keep the water heater from degrading and the pipes flowing in good order. You can also install a water softener into your plumbing system. The softener works by releasing its own chemicals into the water to combat the calcium and magnesium. Be advised, however, that many water softeners use sodium, so some households prefer to maintain a separate, untreated cold water line for drinking, cooking and irrigation.
If you suspect that you have hard water in your household plumbing, call a qualified plumber who can help you counteract some of the damage and install a water softening system to prevent future problems. Your local Benjamin Franklin® is always available to help!