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If you’ve noticed a filmy residue clouding your glasses after they come out of the dishwasher, you might be dealing with the effects of hard water. Hard water, making up 85% of the water used in the United States, is water with a high concentration of minerals dissolved in it. Though it isn’t hazardous to your health, it can be incredibly damaging to your plumbing system and appliances. Before calling emergency plumbing services, however, take a look at our best recommendations for dealing with hard water at home. 

What is hard water?

Water hardness refers to high amounts of calcium, lime and magnesium in water. Hard water is usually discussed in contrast to soft water, which is treated water in which the only ion is sodium. 

How do I know if I have hard water?

Hard water can cause mineral buildup in plumbing, fixtures, and water heaters. It can also cause poor performance of soaps and detergents, worsening buildup on your skin, clothes, dishes, or any appliance that comes into contact with water. Signs of hard water include: 

  • Cloudy or spotty glasses and silverware, even when they have just been cleaned in the dishwasher. 
  • White mineral stains on clothes from the washing machine. 
  • Decreased water pressure. 
  • White, flaky buildup that clogs spray nozzles on the shower head. 

What happens to your plumbing system when you have hard water?

  1. Scale buildup. When cholesterol builds up in your blood, it clogs and narrows the space in your blood vessels. Similarly, mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate in the pipes, essentially shrinking the interior diameter of the pipes and reducing water flow. Referred to as scale buildup, these mineral deposits result in less water movement and lower water pressure. 
  2. Clogged Water Sprayers. Blockages can occur quickly when hard water runs through tight spaces, such as the spray jets on dishwasher arms and shower heads. This is a compounding problem: when these openings clog, less water passes through the space, which interferes with cleaning the device. In fact, after just nine months of hard water, the Water Quality Research Foundation discovered that shower heads had lost as much as 75% of their flow rate. Water heaters didn’t even survive the nine months of hard water.  
  3. Water heater damage. The minerals in hard water corrode the water heater tank, which can significantly decrease its lifespan. Water heaters are particularly sensitive to the damaging effects of hard water.

The Solution to Hard Water

Water softeners are an investment that can soften the water that your home uses for fifteen years. Appliances that use soft water remain efficient, functional, and free of unsightly limescale buildup. This excellent preventative measure is a smart long-term investment that can prolong the life of your plumbing and home appliances. 

Need Plumbing Services? 

If you are looking for high-quality plumbing services, look no further. At Shepherd’s Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning, you can rely on our experts to improve the quality and longevity of your plumbing system. Schedule with us today 650-459-4557, or use this easy form to get in touch.

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