Dingy, scratchy clothes. Dull hair. Spotted dishes and shower doors. Crusty shower heads. Sound familiar? Like many others in our area, hard water may be the culprit in your home, and it may lead to serious plumbing issues.
WHAT IS HARD WATER?
Water is considered hard if it has a high concentration of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. These elements can be picked up by groundwater as it passes in and around soil and rocks. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG), parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). The WATER QUALITY ASSOCIATION considers water to be hard if it has more than 17.1 ppm or 1 GPG. In the United States, 85 percent of the water is hard, according to a U.S. Geological Survey. In the Central Valley our water is found to be as much as three times higher than what is considered hard water by the WQA.
SIGNS OF HARD WATER
If your home has hard water, you may notice stiff, dingy laundry and the need for fabric softeners, mineral deposits on dishes and glassware and scale buildup in sinks, tubs, faucets and appliances.
WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?
The annoying buildup on tubs, showers, sinks, and faucets caused by hard water are only part of the problem. The minerals in hard water also start to build up inside pipes, fixtures, and appliances over time, causing a variety of plumbing problems such as reduced water flow, clogs, and increased stress on pipes and fixtures. Mineral deposits can also cause appliances to operate less efficiently and wear down faster, most notably for our water heaters, dishwashers and faucets. Your water heater can build up more than one inch of mineral deposits annually—just over a five year period it is like heating the water through bricks of mineral deposits.
HOW TO PREVENT HARD WATER STAINS AND MINERAL DEPOSITS
The key to getting rid of mineral deposits, stains and limescale buildup from hard water is to prevent them from forming in the first place.
Don’t let water dry on surfaces—When water evaporates, mineral deposits from hard water are left behind. Make sure to wipe surfaces dry to prevent stains and use a rubber squeegee to remove water on glass shower doors.
Use a spray cleaner on shower doors—If you don’t want to squeegee your shower doors, spray them with a shower cleaner after each use to help prevent hard water stains. Applying Rain-X to glass shower doors may also help prevent water from drying on the surface.
Install water softening / conditioning equipment—While preventive maintenance can help, installing a water softener removes the stain-causing minerals at the source, before your water is distributed throughout your plumbing system.
WHEN IT’S TIME TO CONTACT A PROFESSIONAL
From conducting water testing to ensure you have the right systems on hand, to providing water treatment system maintenance to help your systems last as long as possible, our water treatment services are comprehensive. We offer a 6-year complete warranty on all plumbing work except fixtures available to our AMP club maintenance program members.