While hard water can be problematic for drinking and washing, it can actually affect your plumbing negatively. Hard water contains a considerable amounts of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, which can leach out and form a substance called lime scale. Hard water can cause a buildup of lime scale inside your pipes leading to a potential decrease in water flow, or even total blockage. Sometimes these dissolved minerals can corrode through the pipes causing small holes leading to water damage and leaks.
The most noticeable effect of hard water buildup is a decrease in water pressure caused by the build-up of the lime scale not only within your pipes, but often times in a much more noticeable spots such your faucets and shower heads – leading to a decline in water pressure. This buildup can also collect within the faucet itself which may inevitably disrupt the shutoff mechanism causing a constant faucet drip.
A complete pipe blockage is another potential ramification of hard water buildup. Limescale forms more quickly in warm or hot water, so pipe blockages are more prone to occur in pipes leading from hot water appliances. Hot water heaters are especially prone to lime scale build up. The minerals in hard water can also leave deposits in your water heater, decreasing its efficiency.
So what can you do to prevent hard water buildup issues?
Install a water filtration system, or water softening system. There are a variety of filters to choose from – there are filters that attach directly to faucets and shower heads, to whole house filtration systems. Before going this route, do your homework. Investigate the product and company supplying it. Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Make sure the company is certified by the Water Quality Association and offers a money-back guarantee. Another tip is to ask the water softening company if they offer equipment rental for a nominal monthly charge.
Your local plumber can often be a great resource and give the solid recommendations based on your specific needs.