It would be nice if our tap water was perfectly pure, but the truth is that water picks up minerals, sediment and various othercontaminants as it travels from its source to our homes. Although our water treatment plants remove some of the materials that leech into our tap water, nothing is done to address how “hard” our water can be – and this can have serious impacts on our homes. Today we’re going to talk about the effects hard water has on plumbing systems and what you can do to soften the tap water in your Bay Area home!

What is hard water?

Water is considered “hard” when it has a high concentration of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. These minerals leech into water from the rocks that coat the aquifers where many water supplies originate. Although the hardness of tap water varies from home to home, it’s estimated that more than 85 percent of homes in this country have hard water.

What are the effects of hard water on your home’s plumbing system?

One of the biggest problems with having hard water in your home is that it can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. The main reason for this is limescale buildup.

Limescale is the white crusty substance that you might notice building up around your faucets, sinks and drains. Along with being unattractive on your home’s surfaces, limescale can build up inside of your pipes where you can’t see it. Over time, limescale can build up so much in your pipes that it will begin to close them up. This can lead to low water pressure in your home, as well as severe clogging.

In addition to clogging issues, hard water affects the performance and efficiency of your plumbing appliances. One of the biggest issues is that limescale builds up on your water heater’s heating elements. When this happens, it makes it difficult for heat to transfer to the water inside the tank, which forces your water heater to work harder and longer than usual. This can have a big impact on your monthly water heating costs.

Limescale can also build up inside the working components of your water heater, dishwasher and washing machine. This can lead to breakdowns and a lowered life expectancy for those appliances.

How to avoid hard water in your Bay Area home

The best way to avoid hard water in your home is to install a water softener. When the water from your home enters a softener, it goes through a process that removes and drains away hardness minerals. Because a water softener is installed at the point where water enters your home, this device can protect your entire plumbing system from the negative effects of hard water.

If you have any questions about the effects of hard water on your home’s plumbing system, or if you’d like a water softener serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.