3 Tips to Protect Your Plumbing from Hard Water Damage

Hard water is the bane of many a homeowner. It’s found in just about every water source regardless if it’s well or city water. The water gets its name from the fact that it’s high in calcium and magnesium content. Over time, these minerals build up in the pipes and eventually clog your pipes and fixtures. Hard water is also the source of water stains that are difficult to clean without a lime and rust remover. The good news is you can protect your plumbing from mineral build-up and stop the stains. Here’s how:

Install a Water Softener or Reverse Osmosis System

Water softeners are a tried and true method of “softening” hard water. They work by filtering water through a substance suspended in salt water. The hard minerals undergo a process called ion exchange which causes the calcium and magnesium to switch places with the sodium in the water and filtering substance. One drawback to a water softener is that this option requires salt pellets which come in 20 to 25 pound bags. If carrying or storing bags of salt pellets is inconvenient, a reverse osmosis system is an alternative. If the installation process makes you nervous, a professional company like Arctic Air Plumbing, and Electrical Services will install it for you and make sure everything is working properly.

A reverse osmosis system has a membrane that removes minerals and other impurities as water flows through. This is simpler to operate than a water softener, but usually more expensive.

Replace Steel Pipes With Copper or PVC

This can be an expensive solution, but build-up is inevitable in steel pipes and the resulting damage can be catastrophic. Build-up of minerals in the pipes means less water pressure because there’s less available space for water to flow through and reach the faucet or shower head. The best solution to the problem is to pull out steel pipes, especially if they’ve been in the home for a few decades, and replace them with copper or PVC. These materials are less susceptible to build-up and have a similar lifespan to steel. Once you replace the pipes, you won’t need to do this again while you own the home.

Flush Your Pipes With a Cleaning Solution

The process for flushing your pipes is involved and is best done by a professional, but it’s an inexpensive method for reducing build-up and extending the life of your pipes. Flushing pipes involves turning off the water to the home, lowering the water level in the water heater, pouring in two gallons of vinegar or lime remover, turning on the heater, then flushing the system through all of the water taps in the home. It’s a simple solution, but it’s best to have a professional perform the maintenance. Professionals perform the job quickly and know what to look for when running the operation.

Water build-up is going to happen in iron pipes if there is no water softener on the system. And even if a softener is added later down the road, there’s still existing build-up to deal with. Talk to a plumber about your options to reduce build-up and what to expect for future plumbing maintenance.