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How hard water could be harming your plumbing

Prevention and Remediation solutions


hard water effect on pipes

Indianapolis is known to have a problem with hard water. But for some residents, they may not be fully familiar with how that impacts their plumbing. We’ve written up this quick guide to help you understand what hard water is, its effects, and how to remedy them. We’ll also clarify when expert help is needed for serious issues.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water contains a much higher concentration of minerals than normal. The water becomes imbued with these minerals when it filters through certain rock deposits, which are quite common in the Indianapolis region.

Local hard water tends to have excessive amounts of both calcium and magnesium. The specific levels measured are around 200 to 350 milligrams per liter/parts per million (ppm), which comes out to roughly 12 to 20 grains per gallon. It’s important to know this figure, because that is what’s used to determine the settings of water softening systems (more on that later).

shave in drains

How Hard Water Damages Plumbing

Having all of that mineral content in the water puts plumbing at risk of blockages. When the water passes through your pipes, faucets, and filters, the mineral particles have a tendency to adhere to their surfaces.

Over time, these minerals will accumulate. This accumulation could eventually result in too much clogging for water to flow at the right pressure, or at all. Here is a list of the different symptoms that may result:

  • Showerheads spurting out water irregularly Sudden drops in water pressure
  • White residue in showers, tubs, and sinks
  • Difficulty getting clean when bathing
  • Skin problems like dryness, itchiness, rashes, or breakouts
  • Backflows of water in other pipes and drains (resulting from flow obstruction)
  • Burst or leaky pipes
  • Corrosion of metal pipes and fixtures
  • Scaling of teapots, coffeemakers, and other water-using appliances
  • Ineffectiveness of laundry machines and dishwashers
  • Failing water heater
hard water damages plumbing hard water damages plumbing

Preventing & Resolving Hard Water Damage

It’s far easier to prevent hard water damage than it is to resolve it. That’s why Indianapolis homeowners are encouraged to install water softening systems. These will filter your water before it flows through the rest of your plumbing, removing most of the problematic mineral content. Of course, proper installation is best assured when it’s done by a professional plumber.

If you already have minor hard water damage and are looking for mitigation techniques, there are a few things you can do. It’s possible to descale some of your fixtures, removing a bit of the mineral buildup for a time.

Faucets and showerheads can be soaked in vinegar, then scrubbed with a toothbrush. Vinegar soaks may also be used for descaling the tanks of water heaters. You can use a commercial descaling treatment for dishwashers, laundry machines, and drain pipes. These will usually need to be flushed out by a hot water rinse, but be careful to follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions.
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Expert Help Fixing Hard Water in Indianapolis Homes

If you have significant mineral buildup in your pipes, DIY descaling treatments aren’t going to get the job done. You’ll need to call in the help of an expert to replace the affected plumbing and install a water softener to prevent future issues.

Hamm and Sons Plumbing has been helping Indianapolis residents resolve their hard water problems for over three decades. We offer free in-person evaluations and estimates, giving you the complete transparency you need before making a decision.

If you need help fixing your plumbing issues, contact us today. We even offer 24-hour emergency service for problems that just can’t wait. Call 317-202-9853 to get help ASAP.

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