Effects of Hard Water on Plumbing Fixtures

In past posts, we discussed the potential for poor quality water to cause damage to fixtures. Some houses have had untreated hard water for so long that the water pressure has diminished significantly. By the time Boulden Brothers are called to check the problem, cutting a small section of pipe reveals that more than half of the opening is obstructed by accumulated buildup. Hardness and iron had attached itself to the pipe walls bit by bit, year by year. It has gotten to the point that the pipes are effectively blocked up.

While this is a bit of an extreme example, people tend not to realize that it can happen in our area if hard water is left untreated. Another common issue we might see is excessive sediment buildup on the bottom of the water heater. Gas water heaters work similarly to a teapot that’s placed on a stove burner. (The water is warmed up by the heat applied to the bottom of the container.) When there is excessive sediment in the bottom of the water heater tank, it acts as an insulating layer, reducing the heater’s efficiency and requiring the unit to run longer. The sediment buildup is effectively reducing the lifespan of the water heater.

Toilets can also become damaged from hard water over time. When you flush a toilet, water usually travels from under the rim down into the bowl. Those small holes in the toilet rim tend to gradually become clogged. As a result, the proper amount of water isn’t released into the toilet bowl during a flush. Sinks and faucets will accumulate visible hardness buildup at the bottom of the drain or even in the aerator in the shower or tub. The most obvious sign of hard water is usually a difficult to clean buildup on glass shower doors or the bathtub.

Dishwashers that use hard water will end up accumulating a white residue, and it will be more difficult to thoroughly clean the dishes. Newer dishwashers even have water softeners built right in to combat hard water. These dishwashers have a compartment that holds salt for this exact purpose. Installing a water softener in the home will result in less detergent being used, along with cleaner dishes.

The damage caused to fixtures by hard water is gradual and sometimes easy for homeowners to ignore until it’s too late. That’s why water heater manufacturers recommend that the water heater is flushed on a regular basis. We suggest it is flushed every two years, but the water heater manufacturer usually recommends that it is done as often as every year. If you’re a BAM Club member with Boulden Brothers, membership includes a visit every other year to flush the water heater for you. We also check the sacrificial anode in the water heater that protects the corrosive properties of the water from directly attacking the walls of the tank.

The first step is to call Boulden Brothers to visit your home and test the water. We can then provide recommendations that will extend the life of the plumbing fixtures in the home. We deal with the core problem, which is the quality of the water coming into the house. Because the water supply in one home can be dramatically different from its neighbors, a qualified professional is will be able to make a case by case determination.

If you would like to learn more about how Boulden Brothers can extend the life of your plumbing fixtures, give us a call today.