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Five Ways Hard Water Can Damage Your Home

For homeowners, hard water is typically considered to be a big nuisance due to the fact that it results in many problems, all of which can damage your home. For one, hard water can increase your energy bills. Secondly, hard water damage can be costly in regards to your home. Unfortunately, more than 8 out of 10 American homes are affected by hard water, suffering from its effects. While hard water isn’t necessarily harmful when ingested, hard water can cause a series of issues and inconveniences in day-to-day life.
What is Hard Water?
Before we get to the various ways that hard water can damage your home over time, it’s a good idea for you to have an understanding of what hard water is. Put simply, the term “hard water” refers to the type of water which contains the highest amounts of both magnesium and calcium. It should be noted that hard water can be resolved temporarily or, rather, by using a more permanent solution such as a water softener. In terms of how to temporarily reduce hard water in your home, you can boil the water. This will remove the high amounts of minerals from the water and even purify it so that you can drink it without worry.
How Can You Test for Hard Water in Your Home?
So how can you test the water in your home in order to determine whether or not hard water is present? If you happen to notice white scale build-up over plumbing fixtures in your home, this is a pretty good indicator that you have a hard water problem. At this point, you can perform a simple test to confirm whether or not there is hard water in your home. This involves simply taking a container and adding some water along with dish soap and shaking it up. If there isn’t a good amount of suds forming as you shake this solution, this is may be a sign that you have a hard water problem.
What You Can Expect From Hard Water Damage in Your Home
Now that you know what hard water is and how you can test for it in your home, let’s talk more about the damage that hard water can cause in your home. Unfortunately, hard water can be a serious threat in a variety of ways, but by being educated on the subject, you can avoid the impact that hard water damage can have on your home.
Heat Transfer Problems
Whenever hard water is heated, it results in the formation of insoluble precipitate known as “scale.” When scale is formed, there are a variety of problems that result. This includes the fact that scale is notoriously difficult to clean and is known for leaving a soapy lining on your dishes long after they go through the dishwasher.
Secondly, this scale can build up in your hot water heater. When this happens, it effectively reduces the efficiency of your water heater, raising your energy bills. In fact, just one-quarter inch of scaling over a water heater’s heating element can result in a 40% increase in energy usage.
Finally, scale build-up will also result in lower heat transfer efficiency because scale is not a good conductor for heat. As a result, food will not heat up quickly, and you may even find large scale deposits on pots and pans.
Soap Scum Build-Up
Another problem that you can expect from hard water is soap scum build-up. You may start to notice a build-up of soap scum in the bathtub, on ceramic tiles, or even mineral deposits in your cookware. Rather than being a sign that you are not cleaning effectively, this is an indication of hard water in your home. This scum can be extremely inconvenient and difficult to remove.
Water Flow Issues
When scale builds up in appliances such as dishwashers or in pipes, this can result in the obstruction of water flow, as well as reduced water pressure in your shower or bathtub. Not only is this a frustrating issue to deal with, it can also result in more costly problems over time. When this occurs, it is necessary for you to replace the parts of your appliances more frequently since such blockages can result in cracked or even burst pipes.
It should also be noted that mineral build-up around faucets looks very unattractive and can even block water flow completely. Further, as mentioned above, soap scum is very difficult to clean effectively.
Galvanic Corrosion
Hard water possesses electrolytes, and it is the presence of these electrolytes that can result in something called galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion happens when one metal starts to corrode, coming into contact with another metal. When this happens, it is very common for pipes to burst. If a pipe bursts in your home due to hard water damage, you may be in for a costly plumbing bill. This is why it is crucial that you remain proactive when it comes to keeping hard water out of your home.