Plumbing 101: Water Hardness

Plumbing 101: Water Hardness

Water hardness matters when it comes to the longevity of plumbing pipes as well as associated household components such as hot water heaters and appliances. Hard water can also affect lifestyle issues such as health and beauty.

“Hardness” refers to the percentage of dissolved natural mineral content in water—in most cases, calcium and/or magnesium. About 85% of U.S. municipal water is considered hard to some degree.

Some Hard Facts About Hard Water

  • As hard water passes through household pipes, mineral residue known as “scale” gradually accumulates, reducing the flow, lowering water pressure, and accelerating internal deterioration of pipes. This leads to early plumbing replacement and increased maintenance costs to keep up with leaks and other issues.
  • Mineral sediment from hard water accumulates inside hot water heaters, impairing energy efficiency and heating performance. Costs of heating hard water are an average of 29% higher compared to softer water. Mineral accumulation also necessitates more frequent replacement of water heaters and increases likelihood of tank leakage that can cause expensive water damage.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers are similarly impacted by hard water and lifespan of these appliances may be reduced by up to 50%.
  • Hardness lowers the effectiveness of detergents by about one-half when washing clothes and cleaning. It also increases the amount of residue and spotting left behind on surfaces such as fixtures and glass.
  • Mineral residue from bathing in hard water leaves your skin feeling dry and scratchy and tends to make hair dull and lifeless.

A Softer Solution

The mineral content in water is an unchangeable fact of local geology. Therefore, water from your municipal water utility may be harder than you prefer. Mineral content in water can reduced by installation of a home water softening system. The unit connects to the main water line and utilizes an ion exchange process to extract calcium and magnesium from all water entering the house. This lowers water hardness into the optimum range for plumbing durability, appliance effectiveness and cleaning performance.

For more info about how water hardness impacts your home, contact the professionals at Aggressive Mechanical.

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