Hard Water And Its Effect On Your Plumbing

Feb 26, 2013 by

Hard water is the oxymoronic distinction given to water in a house that has high concentrations of mineral deposits. The water is referred to as “hard” because it’s difficult to work with. Magnesium, calcium, and certain carbonates and sulfates make their way into your tap water system. At first, the need for an emergency plumber likely won’t arise, but, if left to its own devices, hard water can produce some emergency situations. Hard water is difficult to detect because it doesn’t really pose any health risk to humans and can just appear like regular water for a certain time period. But, hard water will exhibit some signs that will help you make a determination before things become too dire.

Indeed, one of the worst aspects of hard water is that it will produce lime scale deposits in pipes, on dishes, and even in the water heater. These deposits can end up clogging certain pipes and producing a backup in your water flow. They can also be responsible for the degrading quality of the pipe or water heater. This is particularly egregious when it happens inside the water heater because that is essentially the unit that all your water flows through. The lime scale deposits can, in fact, ruin an entire water heater.

Of course, this would make a call to an emergency plumber immediately necessary. Fortunately, most hard water situations aren’t quite this drastic and there are steps that you can take to alleviate some of the issues. To really make sure that you have hard water, you’ll want to run a few simple tests using soap. Although this might seem odd, water that has too many counterintuitive minerals will actually make lathering more difficult. This includes any soap you might use in the shower, for dishes, or even for your laundry. If the soap doesn’t lather well or it takes an increased amount to do so, then it’s likely that you have hard water.

Taking a look at any surface in the house that regularly comes into contact with water will also clue you into the possibility of water hardness. This is because soap scum will start to form around the bathtub, in the dishwasher, and even on the dishes themselves. The minerals have a chemical reaction with the additives in soap causing a difficult-to-remove ring of green scum any surfaces that frequently touch water.

Getting rid of hard water isn’t really a matter of calling an emergency plumber. Of course, if it goes without treatment for too long, you might need to call your local plumbing service. But, most individuals use water softeners as a way to mitigate their losses. These usually work as an ion exchange system that shifts the chemical composition of the water to more favorable levels.