“Hard water” is the term for a condition that affects the majority of homes in the United States. In many cases, it is not a serious issue and may never cause any noticeable problems for homeowners. For most people, hard water carries no adverse health effects. But in a lot of homes, hard water can create damaging obstacles for the plumbing system.
As water moves through the water main and into your home, it can pick up some minerals along the way, the most common of which are magnesium and calcium. These minerals can collect in your pipes over time, gathering until water can no longer flow through the pipes, which may lead to the need for pipe replacement. Furthermore, these minerals can collect in the dishwasher or washing machine and cause irreparable damage.
Look for the Signs that You Need a Water Softener Installed in Your Plumbing System
Luckily, there are water treatment systems available that actually remove minerals from your water supply—water softeners. A water softener uses small beads filled with a brine solution to remove calcium and magnesium from the water, sometimes replacing them with salt ions instead. Look for these signs that you may need a water softener.
- White or Yellow-Green Deposits around Fixtures: The telltale sign of hard water is white or yellow-green deposits around fixtures and faucets, an occurrence known as scaling. These are left behind after water evaporates and the minerals still remain.
- Water Spots and Soap Residue on Dishes and Laundry: Hard water limits soap’s ability to lather. Because of this, a regular dishwasher load or laundry cycle may not be enough for soap to dissolve, and spots can form on dishes, or your laundry may feel sticky.
- Reduced Water Pressure: As minerals build up in your pipes, they will begin to restrict the flow of water, leading to reduced water pressure from one or more areas of your plumbing. Reduced pressure may also indicate a serious pluming leak. In any case, it’s important to call a plumber as soon as possible.