Water hardness describes the concentration of minerals, calcium, and magnesium in the water. While it does not cause serious problems with your health, it can be a nuisance and may damage your piping. Water hardness can lead to corrosion, clogging, and even leakages. In this article, we will explore some of the ways hard water can harm your plumbing.
How You Know You Have Hard Water
There are many areas of Texas where the water is relatively soft. But cities like San Antonio have high water levels of up to 197 parts per million. The water supply from the city comes from naturally occurring aquifers. As the water passes through the rocks, it carries magnesium and calcium, which are highly soluble.
One way to tell if you have hard water is if there are white marks on the sink, bathtub, and water fixtures. Your cups and glasses may have stains on them after removing them from the dishwasher. You may notice you require more soap when cleaning clothes or cutlery, too.
You can do a test by adding liquid soap into a transparent container with water. When you add the soap, the foam should rise to the top, and sediments should settle at the bottom. If, on the other hand, the water turns cloudy, you most likely have hard water.
You can also use a test kit to get more reliable results of the hardness. You can consult Beyer Plumbing Co. for quality hard water tests in San Antonio. We can not only provide accurate results, but we can also diagnose other issues that could pose a threat to your plumbing. Our highly skilled plumbers will evaluate the acidity, mineral content, and water pressure, among other factors.
Scale Buildup on Fixtures and Sinks
Scale develops when calcium and magnesium ions react with chemical compounds in the soap. The reaction creates corresponding salts, which deposit on your plumbing as scum or limescale. The mineral deposits will often leave stains on the fixtures, which can cause corrosion.
The extent of corrosion in your piping can be severe depending on a number of factors. For example, high temperatures will accelerate the process of mineral buildup and corrosion. Additionally, the water’s acidity can act as a catalyst that speeds up the deterioration of your plumbing.
Other factors that may quicken acceleration include:
- Galvanic corrosion from using dissimilar metal pipes
- Stray current electrolysis
- Concentration of oxygen in the water
- Concentration of minerals
Clogging Your Plumbing
There are two types of hard water. The first type is caused by dissolved magnesium and calcium salts and is temporary. With temporary hardness, you can turn the water soft by boiling. The second type is permanent and contains sulfates and chlorides of magnesium and calcium.
It is impossible to reverse the second type of hardness by boiling the water. That is because when the water is heated, it leaves behind minerals. The high temperatures allow faster accumulation of limescale on your washing machine, water heater, or plumbing.
When limescale accumulates inside the pipe, it forms a layer that covers the walls of your plumbing. As a result, your plumbing will be more prone to clogging. Because the deposits and clogs can weaken your piping, Beyer Plumbing Co. recommends scheduling an inspection.
Change in Water Pressure
Minerals that deposit on the pipe can reduce its diameter, and, in turn, scum will limit the flow of water. However, the accumulation is unlikely to get to the point where it completely blocks your pipe. However, it can still create a plumbing issue that limits the flow of water to fixtures.
Low water pressure can worsen the clogging issue within your plumbing. When you cannot run enough water down the sink, it becomes harder to wash away hair and grease. This means the little force from the pipes will not be sufficient to push the debris down the drain.
Low water pressure can also be an inconvenience in your house. It often makes cleaning harder since soap and lather are harder to rinse. Additionally, you may have high utility bills because of the extra amount of water you will need for household chores.
Significant Damage to Your Heating Equipment
The hardness of the water going through your plumbing is likely to damage some of the valuable equipment you own. Limescale can accumulate on parts of your water heater and may reduce the heating element’s efficiency. Insulation on the components of your equipment may melt, triggering systemic issues that require frequent repairs.
When the heat exchanger has a layer of scum, it takes that much more time to heat water. You will notice it takes progressively longer for the temperature to rise. The extra time it takes to heat the water could dramatically raise your energy consumption and utility bills.
Limescale can also accumulate at the bottom of the water heater tank. The temperature of the liquid can accelerate corrosion if you fail to address the problem on time. If you encounter any issues with your traditional or tankless water heater, Beyer Plumbing Co. has experienced professionals always ready to help.
If it gets to the point that the limescale causes low pressure, your equipment may not get enough water. Manufacturers usually set a rating for each appliance with the level of pressure it can handle. Water hardness may eventually make it harder to operate your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater.
Blockages and Backups
Hard water causes mineral accumulation in the pipes, causing blockages in the process. The blockage can stop the flow of water. It may eventually force water to back up into your residence. Over time, backups can deteriorate the pipes and may lead to other chronic plumbing issues.
Higher Frequency of Leakages
Another problem that may develop as a result of high levels of water hardness is leaking pipes. Leakages will take some time to develop, but they can eventually cause water damage and high utility bills.
Leaks may develop if you do not address clogging and corrosion promptly. Your pipes will begin to deteriorate from the movement of debris containing hard, sharp objects. The resulting flooding backups can cause a health hazard in your house. Also, water problems will encourage microbial growth and disease-causing bacteria to thrive.
Therefore, you ought to consult a professional plumber whenever you detect a plumbing problem. Unfortunately, it is not easy for you to spot leakages, especially in underground pipes. Such tasks require special equipment, skill, and years of experience.
Contact the Professionals
Beyer Plumbing Co. has certified plumbers in San Antonio who can inspect and fix your plumbing leaks. We use the latest equipment, such as miniature cameras, to view parts of the pipes hidden from your site. We will work fast and efficiently to locate the leaks and protect your home from water damage.
Beyer Plumbing Co. also provides comprehensive water quality services. Our water softening solutions will remove calcium and minerals to leave only soft water to get through to your plumbing. Another solution is reverse osmosis, which can remove salts from water. It is useful where drinking water has considerable amounts of salts and nitrates.
We have teams of certified and reliable plumbers who can address your water quality issues. To schedule an appointment, call Beyer Plumbing Co. today.