What Is Hard Water and How Does It Damage Plumbing?

Scratchy and faded clothes, spotty dishes, crusty shower heads, and dry skin/hair. Sounds familiar, right? Most of Americans are dealing with this issue in everyday life. So, who is the culprit? Yes, it is Hard Water.

Hard water is formed when a high amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium are present in water. This is a common quality issue that is raised due to naturally occurring elements in water which creates havoc in household chores and potentially damages the plumbing system. And obviously, the hidden damages are graver that is seen in the long term.

Water hardness is measured in gpg (grains per gallon). 3.5gpg is the lowest hardness level anything over 10.5gpg is extremely hard. Limescale is the noticeable sign of water hardness but it isn’t the only indication. Dry hair, brittle nails, chapped skin, clingy laundry, poor soap lathering, low water pressures and spotty kitchen/ bathroom all are indicators. If you use municipal water call them for free reports and testing kits so that you are aware of water quality.

Individuals believe that hard water minerals like calcium, magnesium iron, etc pose a health risk but the fact is it doesn’t. Different studies show that minerals help in the fulfillment of essential nutrients. Long term intake of these minerals has proven to be positively correlated with cardiovascular disease. Thank god these minerals can be taken in other ways without entailing adverse impact on the plumbing system.

Among many plumbing problems, I guess the water heater is the most affected one. They are generally ignored until they develop a thick crust at bottom of the tank. This waste energy and also is a reason for increased utility bills. It shortens the lifespan of the heater gradually degrading it. This leads to overheating and burnout. This is the case with dishwasher, washing machine, and all water-based appliances.

All plumbing system including valves, fixtures, pipes, faucets, sink, bathtubs, seals and washers gets damaged due to hard water.

If you have steel pipelines they are prone to damage but a PVC and Copper pipe takes long to get corroded. This blocks the pipe and hinders water flow causing low water pressure.

This actually sounds scary but many don’t even care what’s going on in the house as they are pretty much used to it. This lands them in plumbing trouble every time and they are frequently diverted towards repairing. The only permanent solution to every problem whether it is plumbing or skin related issues is getting a water softener installed. It is recommended to choose the best according to reviews as there are many variants available in the market.

How water become hard?

Rainwater is pure when it falls from the sky as it flows through the soils it absorbs minerals mainly calcium and magnesium. This is because water is a universal solvent. When this water seeps through rocks it collects minerals and stores underground. This causes water hardness. The more minerals water, the more hardness, and vice versa.

The United Geological Survey measuring of water hardness is in milligrams per liter (calcium carbonate and magnesium). This is as:

  • 0-60mg/L: Soft
  • 61-120mg/L: Moderately Hard
  • 121-180mg/L: Hard
  • Above 181mg/L: Extremely Hard

Testing For Hard Water:

White scales on faucets and plumbing system is a sole indicator of hard water. If you want to do a DIY take a bottle filled with tap water and adds a few drops of soap, shake it well. If it fails to form suds then probably you have hard water. For precise results, you can call a professional or bring a water sample to a laboratory for testing.


Water conditioning as mentioned above is the only way to eradicate home water troubles. These are when you are dealing with mild hard water. But if the water is extremely hard the common and effective solution is a whole house water softener system. They are highly efficient and are designed for the removal of minerals from water to make it soft and usable.

Hope you got your answers. Still, if you have any further queries we are always there to help you.

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