Finding Plumbing Issues Early

Is Hard Water Ruining Your Plumbing?

by Chris Bowman

Hard water can be a nuisance for people who have it, but the problems go far beyond stiff laundry and stained toilets. If you let your hard water stay the way that it is, it could also cause significant problems for your plumbing. Here's what you should know.

What Hard Water Is

Hard water bothers plenty of people, but many don't actually know what it is. All hard water really is is water that contains too many minerals. These minerals are naturally occurring most of the time, but the water company doesn't filter them out as they're not harmful to health. As a result, it's harder to do things like build up a lather with hard water.

How it Causes Pipe Problems

The minerals in the hard water are where plumbing problems begin. While much of what's contained in the water makes it out when you turn on the tap, not all of it will. Mineral deposits can get left behind in the pipes.

While this starts out as a minor issue and doesn't cause much of an inconvenience, it won't stay that way over the long run. These mineral deposits will continue to develop every single time the water runs. In the long term, this can lead to the pipe becoming more and more narrow as the mineral deposits form walls inside the pipes. This can happen to the pipes that bring water in as well as your drainage pipes that send it out to the sewer line.

If this problem goes untreated, it can cause frequent blockages for you. Unfortunately, you can be pristine about treating your pipes and drains well, making sure that things like hair, food, and grease don't go down the drain. But as long as minerals keep flowing every time you turn on the tap, the problem will just get worse.

What to Do

If you suspect that hard water is damaging your pipes or you know that you're already having issues with your pipes being sluggish, you should contact a plumber. Using a liquid drain cleaner will not be sufficient to resolve this problem, especially if you have a large enough build-up to be causing draining problems.

In many cases, plumbers, like those from Knights Plumbing & Drain and other locations, can strip away the minerals by cleaning the drain. If the problem has become severe, though, replacing the pipes entirely may be necessary.

Once your pipes are cleared, you need to take steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again. You can do that by getting a water softener for your home. Your plumber can recommend one that works for your home and can install it for you, too.