Evidence of hard water on a bathroom faucet.

Plumbing systems are essential. A healthy plumbing system in your home enables you to handle your personal care needs, access safe drinking water, do your laundry, and more. An unhealthy plumbing system can turn safe drinking water bitter, generate foul smells, produce mold, cause a sewage backup, and even lead to higher water bills.

Maintaining your plumbing system prevents issues and saves you money in the long run. Hard water is an issue in some regions with higher concentrations of minerals in the water supply. Since it’s essential to understand threats that can compromise your home’s plumbing, it’s crucial you know the impact of hard water on plumbing and what you can do to protect your plumbing from hard water problems.

Related: How Plumbers Find Leaks

Is Hard Water Bad for Plumbing?

Hard water contains high levels of minerals. The most common minerals associated with hard water are calcium and magnesium. However, minerals such as iron, aluminum, and zinc can also cause hard water. 

Hard water damages plumbing systems, appliances, and clothing

Hard water can cause several plumbing issues, including the following:

  • Clogged faucets
  • Clogged pipes
  • Clogged shower heads
  • Corroded pipes
  • Decreased water flow
  • Poor water pressure

Corrosion weakens the pipes, and blockages cause water to apply more pressure to them, eventually causing them to burst. Consequently, hard water can eventually lead to leaks and damage to your property.

Can Hard Water Block Drains?

Hard water is hard on plumbing systems stems because of how the minerals interact with soap. Combining minerals with soap produces soap scum, which usually appears as a chalky white residue, although it can also be gray. This film solidifies, and when it solidifies in your pipes and plumbing fixtures, it narrows or blocks the openings through which water should flow. Consequently, hard water causes blocked drains and clogged faucets, pipes, and shower heads.

Blocked drains can cause severe damage if they aren’t addressed. A blocked sewer drain can cause various issues, such as preventing toilets from flushing and causing wastewater to return to your home. 

How Long Does It Take for Hard Water to Affect Pipes?

Hard water impacts your pipes immediately. From the first time hard water flows through your pipes, it leaves mineral buildup in its wake. Initially, you may notice the scaly residue on your fixtures without having issues with water pressure or corrosion; however, by the time you notice poor water pressure and reduced water flow, you have severe buildup in your pipes. 

Other Signs of Hard Water

What’s happening inside your plumbing system can be hard to see until it begins to affect you. Still, there are external signs that point to hard water damage. Some of these signs include the following:

  • There are chalky white or gray stains on your plumbing fixtures
  • There’s mineral buildup on your clothes after you wash them
  • There’s scaly residue on your bathroom tiles after use
  • You notice mineral residue on floor tiles after you mop them
  • Your dishes have spots on them after they’re washed

You may also notice signs of hard water in your appliances. Signs of hard water damage to appliances include the following:

  • Your dishwasher has a chalky residue inside: This residue can clog your dishwasher and damage its components
  • Your washer has damaged drums, hoses, and pipes due to mineral buildup: Mineral deposits clog and destroy washing machine components
  • Your water heater can’t heat water effectively: When mineral sediments build up inside a water heater, they prevent effective water flow and make it harder for the heater to raise the water’s temperature

Mineral buildup in appliances causes breakdowns and reduces their lifespan.

Is There Hard Water in Las Vegas?

Hard water is an issue for Las Vegas residents because the local water ranks second in the United States for hardness. Since the local water supply is hard, Las Vegas residents must take steps to protect their plumbing systems.

Related: How The Sewer System of Las Vegas Works

How Do I Protect My Plumbing From Hard Water?

The steps required to protect your plumbing depend on the existing damage level. Suppose you move into a new home with a new plumbing system. You can prevent damage by installing a water-softening system in your home. 

Suppose you live in an older home with mineral buildup in the plumbing system. Your Las Vegas plumber can address hard water damage by cleaning your drains, checking for pipe corrosion and leaks, and repairing or replacing your water heater.

Larkin Plumbing Can Help With Hard Water Damage

A plumber holding tools and pipes with additional plumbing tools strapped to him.

Turn to Larkin Plumbing for affordable plumbing services. Our expert hard water plumbers in Las Vegas can evaluate your plumbing system, identify issues, repair existing damage, and take preventative measures to protect it. This will help you save money on your water bills, appliances, and clothes and prevent plumbing emergencies from hard water damage. 

Call Larkin Plumbing for help with your plumbing needs.

Sources:

Lupiani, J. (2019). Las Vegas has 2nd hardest water in the nation.
Sengupta, P. (2013). Potential Health Impacts of Hard Water.
Stickley, A. (2022). Hard Water and How It Damages Plumbing.
Stickley, A. (2022). Symptoms of a Sewer Drain Clog.