What Does Hard Water Do to Your Plumbing?


Hard water can create hassles and maintenance problems in a variety of ways. Knowing how hard water can affect your pipes, how to identify hard water problems in your home and how to protect your pipes can help you maintain your home. These frequently asked questions and answers will tell you some of the things you need to know about hard water.

What does hard water do to your pipes?

Hard water is water that contains invisible, dissolved bits of minerals. When hard water runs through your pipes, it can leave behind a buildup of dissolved minerals called "scale." Over time, scale can further build up in your pipes and contribute to clogs in the plumbing.

How can you tell if you have hard water?

If your home has hard water, you will notice several warning signs, including:

  • Hard water stains on tiles and dishes. When hard water touches the surfaces of your home, it leaves behind an invisible film of minerals. Over time, you'll start to see stains on the surfaces of your home that are frequently in contact with water.
  • Itchy, irritated skin. Hard water can also leave a film on your skin. You may not be able to see the film on your skin, but you will be able to feel it over time. Your skin will become itchy and irritated, and your hair may become rough and easily tangled.
  • Clogged faucets and shower heads. If your home has hard water, your shower head and faucets will develop a green, flaky crust that clogs the holes where the water comes out. If scale is not removed over time, it can cause the faucets and shower heads to stop working.

What can you do to prevent plumbing problems if you have hard water?

If your home has hard water, the best way to prevent plumbing problems is to have a water softener installed. Water softeners replace the dissolved minerals in the water with sodium ions. Soft water will not damage your home's pipes.

How can you get a water softener installed in your home?

Water softeners can be installed by plumbing professionals. If you want a water softener to be installed in your home, contact a reputable plumber in your area. He or she can install a water softener and check your pipes for damage. If your pipes have been damaged or become clogged by hard water scale, your plumber will be able to make recommendations for repair.


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