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Everything You Need to Know About Hard Water

water-softener-tankMost people have heard of hard water and know that it’s not any good for your home. But fewer people understand exactly where hard water comes from and how it causes damage. In this post, we’ll go over all of the above to make you a professional on the subject.

What Is It?

Long before water becomes part of the municipal drinking supply, it first must go through nature. As river water runs through rock and soil, it dissolves and picks up various minerals. Calcium and magnesium are the most common. As the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water increases, the water becomes “hard.”

Soft water, on the other hand, doesn’t pick up these minerals nearly as much. This is often the case with rainwater, which comes from the sky clean of minerals and doesn’t have to travel through as much rock and soil before becoming part of your municipal water supply.

The levels of hard and soft water you’ll find in the water often depends on the region. Water from the Midwest tends to collect the most.

How it Affects Your Plumbing


As hard water travels, it leaves behind traces of calcium and magnesium. Repeated exposure results in buildup. Now, combine that with the steady and constant flow of hard water through your pipes, and you’re looking at a formula for blockage in your plumbing. In extreme cases, your pipes can become so blocked with buildup that they burst.

More often though, the biggest problem with hard water on pipes is the gradual corrosion. Corrosion occurs when the calcium and magnesium buildups start eating through the pipe. This leads to small, pinhole leaks that will get bigger as the corrosion worsens.

Since the hard water itself is the cause of the corrosion, you can expect that a similar process is going on through pipes in your whole home. Corrosion that affects many pipelines can eventually call for repiping services.

Water Heaters

Hard water can affect every appliance in your home that’s connected to the water main. One common victim is your water heater.

Over time, the hard water’s mineral deposits will collect at the bottom of your water heater’s tank. This will create a layer of sediment that can cause a couple of problems.

For one, it will decrease the efficiency of the water heater. The sediment layer creates a barrier between the burner and the water, forcing the heater to work harder to keep the water warm. Second, it can create pockets of heat beneath the sediment. When these spots get too hot, they can damage the tank and create leaks.

What to Do About Hard Water

It’s important to note that hard water isn’t critical to your health, but as stated above, it will do damage to your plumbing over time. The best course of action is to stop the problem at the source by installing a water softener.

There are many types of water filtration systems in Salt Lake City, UT that you could install to remove contaminants from your water, but not all of them remove minerals from the water. In this case, a water softener is the most logical option. It directly trades the magnesium and calcium for sodium ions, removing it before it ever reaches your pipes.

Do you need a water softener or other water filtration device? Contact At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today!

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