When turning on the tap, you should be aware of whether the water coming into your home is hard or not. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, approximately 85% of homes in the United States have hard water. Hard water occurs when various minerals combine with water molecules while traveling through the ground, lakes, rivers, or old pipes. The list of minerals commonly found in hard water includes calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. In some areas, water might also contain traces of aluminum. Although typically not harmful to drink, hard water commonly poses other problems. Our team at High 5 Plumbing in Denver, CO has water-softening solutions for homes and businesses that suspect their plumbing problems are related to hard water.
1. Abnormal Water Odor or Taste
Water that tastes or smells off is commonly one of the primary indications of a hard water problem. If you notice a metallic taste, there could be an abundance of iron in the water. Water that emits an odor like rotting eggs indicates the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. Another water smell might also come from the presence of a certain type of bacteria reacting with magnesium to create sulfates. And should you notice that your water tastes dirty, the cause could be due to rust in older pipes, which might also contain harmful algal blooms.
2. Sink, Shower, Tub, and Toilet Stains
Orange or reddish-brown stains on porcelain occur when water has a high iron content. The presence of iron might also indicate loosened residue that has accumulated inside rusting pipes. There are a variety of household and commercial cleaning products to help eliminate stains, which also commonly require vigorous scrubbing. However, until learning the underlying reason for the iron presence, staining will continue. The assistance of a professional can help you resolve the presence of iron in your water.
3. Soap Scum Issues
When water contains high levels of calcium or magnesium, the water dries or evaporates and leaves mineral deposits. When hard water reacts with soap during bathing, dishwashing, or laundering, a white scaly substance remains, which is commonly known as soap scum. Examples include the white spots on dishes after running them through dishwasher cycles. White filmy deposits are also commonly seen on shower curtains. While the deposits are harmless for the most part, soap scum adds to the burden of household chores by continually having to scrub and remove the film. The deposits additionally have the potential to serve as a breeding ground for bacteria in warm, moist bathrooms.
4. Interference With Personal Hygiene
Excessive calcium and magnesium levels in water react with body washes, soaps, shampoos, and shaving creams. While bathing, showering, or shaving, individuals often have trouble creating a lather. Additionally, hard water ineffectively rinses cleansing or shaving products from the body. Thus, residue remains on the hair and skin. Bad hair days, or hair management problems, may be the result of leftover residue. The deposits are also commonly responsible for clogging shower heads.
5. Chronic Pipe Clogs
Hard water tends to create layer after layer of deposits within pipes, which gradually interfere with water flow. When the scales break free, they clump together and lead to the creation of clogs. The problem manifests when water drains slower than normal or stops draining completely. Should the symptoms occur on a regular basis with no other indications of debris in the drainpipe, the problem is more than likely mineral deposit accumulation. The issue is typically common in homes and business structures having steel pipes.
In addition to clogging problems, mineral accumulation and corrosion remain major factors that cause leaks in steel pipes. Over time, the corrosion causes a pipe to become brittle and break, which leads to messy cleanups and repair hassles. Minerals leaking along with water from pipes commonly progress to exterior corrosion, which also leads to pipe failure and breakage.
6. Laundry Issues
As in other scenarios where calcium and magnesium interfere with soap, the hard water also becomes noticeable when laundering clothes. Normally, laundry detergents are designed to eliminate dirt, grime, and stains from clothing. However, in the presence of hard water, soap does not rinse effectively and combines with the grime to accumulate in the fabric. Regardless of the types of products used or the frequency of washing, clothes remain dingy or gray in appearance. In time, the buildup also leads to brittle and deteriorating fabric fibers.
Should water hardening be the result of excessive iron, clothes emerge from the washing machine with yellow to rust-colored stains. The problem is particularly noticeable when laundering whites, as bleach combines with iron to form iron oxide or rust.
7. Development of Skin Irritation
When skin is continually subjected to exposure to hard water, the tissue dries and itches. The cycle of exposure, drying, itching, and scratching may evolve into contact dermatitis or eczema. Youngsters are especially susceptible to the condition due to their delicate skin. Should anyone in the family begin showing signs of skin problems, consider having the water tested.
8. Shortened Appliance Lifespan
Consider all the appliances in the home through which hard water travels. In addition to plumbing pipes, refrigerators might have an ice-making feature. Hot water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines all function using water. As with water pipes, mineral deposits, accumulation, and clogging also affect appliances. Indications of hard water problems include decreased performance efficiency, which may result in higher utility bills. Over time, an appliance might fail prematurely. The American Water Works Association reports that hard water decreases the lifespan of affected appliances by 30% or more.
Toilets are another needful household item affected by hard water problems. Deposits forming in the water tank increase over time and release with each flush. As the deposits flow through the toilet with the water, they find a new avenue for combining and creating narrowing or blockages. While many factors contribute to slow draining or toilet backups, few consider hard water deposits as the reason for the problem.
Contact the Professionals
Before hard water becomes a major problem in your home or business, reach out to High 5 Plumbing in Denver for a solution. In addition to offering water-softening products, our team remains ready to service clients in the Greater Denver Metro area with other types of plumbing and repairs. Consumers have the option of greatly reducing major plumbing issues by taking advantage of our routine maintenance program. Our skilled team of plumbers inspects interior plumbing for any signs of trouble and acts before a costly remedy becomes necessary.
But, should a serious plumbing blockage or backup occur, our hydro jet cleaning system quickly and effectively clears the most stubborn clogs in the deepest of places. Hydro jet technology has proven to be more effective than traditional mechanical snaking or other commonly used methods. Hair, grease, and even tree roots are promptly and effectively eliminated. Plus, despite the water pressure administered, pipes remain free from damage. The results are long-lasting as well.
We are also trained and experienced with natural gas line installation and repairs. Call High 5 Plumbing when you need drain, sewer, and water line inspections, repairs, cleaning, installation, or replacements.