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The impact of hard water on plumbing and appliances

The Impact of Hard Water on Plumbing and Appliances: Damage You Don’t Even See

You might already be familiar with the visible hard water problems. You’ve already bled trying to scrub the scale off your faucets, showers, and sinks. You’ve already watched your favorite clothes fade and your fanciest glasses go murky. But what if we told you that the worst might be yet to come? You see, hard water affects your plumbing and appliances too, and by the time you can see it, it might already be too late.

Your Pipes

Think about all the scale and soap scum buildup on surfaces that frequently get wet. Think of the layers of scum and scale on your faucets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and dishes. Bear in mind that, while these surfaces get wet multiple times a day, they’re not exposed to water for hours and hours at a time. Your pipes, on the other hand, are almost constantly exposed to water to some extent. So, if the scale buildup outside is bad, you can imagine how it gets inside the pipes themselves.

Wait long enough, and you don’t have to imagine. You’ll see it at the same time your wallet does. With enough scale buildup, you’ll see your water pressure drop significantly. At the same time, that scale has been eating through the pipes, especially if they’re copper or PVC. That means that, by the time you notice something’s wrong, you might have a major leak in your pipes. Trust the early warning signs!

Your Appliances

You might assume that the hard water affects your dishes and clothing too, but it’s more tricky than that. See, hard water is going to wear down your dishwasher and washing machine gradually too.

Your dishwasher, like any other, relies on a mixture of water and detergent to thoroughly clean your dishes. Hard water doesn’t mix as well with detergents and soaps, so it’s going to affect the quality of your washes. However, hard water can also cause scale buildup inside your dishwasher and its components. Over time, that can clog your dishwasher’s drain, which makes it an unsanitary environment for your dishes. If the problem persists for long enough, you’ll notice dishwasher performance issues even after getting a whole house water softener. Trust us, you don’t want to replace an entire dishwasher.

Your washing machine, meanwhile, is suffering a similar fate. Washing machines contain more delicate parts made of rubber and plastic, which are worn down even faster than metal by hard water. Scale deposits can also clog the machine, which affects the cleanliness of your clothes. If left with the issue long enough, you can cut your washing machine’s lifespan in half.

Your Water Heater

Do you like spending money? Do you like spending a ton of it on utilities? We figured not, but that’s where you might be headed. Hard water deposits can absorb a surprising amount of heat; when they form inside your water heater, they steal a lot of that heat from the water itself, which means it takes longer and requires more energy to heat your water to the same point as before. That means you can either settle for colder water or pay increasingly higher utilities for hot water. People with whole house water softening system have seen their utility bills go down by more than a third, you know.

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