Hard water: What it is, its impacts, and what you can do about it

It’s commonly known that hard water is bad for your home’s plumbing and pipes. Over enough time, hard water can even clog pipes and lead to major plumbing problems. But, what is it, and why does it impact your home in this way?

In this article, we’ll review how the state of the water coming out of your tap can impact everything in your home, including your fixtures, appliances, pipes, and more.

If you suspect you have hard water problems, call our team to schedule an in-home estimate on a new water filtration and softening system. Air Control Home Services is your trusted, local team for plumbing repair and upgrades here in Lake Havasu City and Mohave County.

Among other problems, hard water can lead to a calcium buildup on your faucets and fixtures.

Among other problems, hard water can lead to a calcium buildup on your faucets and fixtures.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that contains a high percentage of minerals, especially magnesium and calcium carbonates. As water moves through stone in nature, these minerals break off and head downstream in the water.

Is the water in Lake Havasu City hard?

Here in Lake Havasu City, we get our water from two sources: the Colorado River, and from groundwater wells. Given that the Colorado River was formed by water eroding rock, the surface water we drink is relatively hard. Groundwater is even harder, as the water is coming from underground aquifers and is constantly moving between rock underground.

According to the city, our water hardness is 325 parts per million (PPM). According to national standards, anything over 180 PPM is considered “very hard”. Lake Havasu City’s water supply is so hard that it’s basically off the scale!

The situation isn’t that much different in other parts of Mohave County. In places further from the Colorado where groundwater is used even more, the hardness count just increases.

Is hard water safe to drink?

Let’s bust a myth: this water isn’t bad for you. It’s safe to drink, even if some people think it tastes somewhat “off” compared to bottled water. In fact, your body needs some of the minerals found in harder water. There may be other contaminants in the water that make a water purification system a good idea, however.

However, when it comes to just how hard your water is, it’s your appliances, pipes, and fixtures you should be worried about.

How does hard water impact my home?

You can actually see the impact. Over time, your shower and sink fixtures take on a white or yellow flaky buildup. That’s the calcium from your water being deposited. The buildup of calcium deposit makes the fixtures look dirty.

It’s easy enough to clean up calcium on external fixtures. But, the buildup elsewhere can be far more sinister.

Your home’s pipes

Take, for instance, your home’s pipes. Over time, more and more calcium will be deposited within the pipe on its interior walls, eventually forming a partial clog. This reduces water pressure until the clog completely restricts the flow, blocking the pipe and leading to the need for major plumbing repair.

Calcium buildup is unlikely to impact new pipes in a new home. But, if your home is more than 20 years old, you need to seriously consider having a plumber inspect your pipes to see the degree of buildup. You should also consider solving the problem with a water softener—more on that in a minute.

Your home’s appliances

The same thing that is happening to your home’s pipes is also a war being waged against two of your most important appliances: your dishwasher and your washing machine. Not only can the pipes connecting both of them to your home’s main water supply also become clogged, but this untreated water can increase the wear-and-tear on internal components.

Hard water actually makes both appliances work less effectively, too. Hard water interacts differently with dish and laundry detergents—in the case of the former, it can prevent detergents from truly working as designed, meaning that your dishes aren’t getting as clean as they could be. When it comes to your laundry, that calcium can grind over fabric again and again, leading to faded or worn clothing over time.

Left untreated, hard water can eventually lead to blocked pipes and the need for major plumbing repairs.

Left untreated, this water can eventually lead to blocked pipes and the need for major plumbing repairs.

Your water heater

Your water heater is also under attack. The minerals corrode the inside of the water tank faster, burning through the sacrificial anode rod. This decreases the lifespan of your water heater and puts the unit at a greater risk of a tank burst.

What’s the best way to deal with this problem?

The simplest and the best way to treat hard water problem is to call our professional plumbers for installation of a water softener. Whether you rely on municipal water supply or groundwater through a pump or well, a water softener will perfectly help in treating hard water problem.

How do water softeners work?

Most water softeners are installed into the water supply system of the house. The softener removes minerals from the water using ion exchange. It trades minerals in the hard water with either potassium or sodium.

The exchange of minerals takes place inside the water softener’s tank. The water flows through the small resin beads inside the tank. This results in the exchange of hard ions (magnesium and calcium) with soft ions (potassium or sodium). Overtime, the resin beads exhaust, and need to be recharged by adding salt bags in the tank.

Call Air Control Home Services for your water filtration solutions

High-mineral content water can cause serious plumbing problems over time, and the only remedy is to soften your water. If you live in Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, or other parts of Mohave County, call our team today for an in-home estimate on a home water filtration and purification system.

Our plumbers can meet with you, test your water quality, and talk you through any further questions you have about your water.

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