Hard Water Woes

Here in the Valley, we have hard water--12 to 17 grains per gallon. For the homeowner, this can translate into plumbing problems. When the minerals in the water build up in pipes, they calcify and corrode fixtures.

Hard water shortens the life of things like faucets, water heaters, appliances, and valves considerably. When this happens, leaks can develop. Today, we’re going to talk about where this calcification might affect a homeowner the most, and what to do about it.



When a valve begins to leak, chances are it’s caused by debris or damage caused by debris, aka our hard water. If you notice a lot of calcification on a valve, it’s going to require replacement soon.

Water heater

Water heaters take the brunt of hard water because they heat the water, and heating causes calcium buildup. The calcium buildup lives at the bottom of the water heater, which is then forced to heat the build-up before it can even begin to heat the water. The recommendation to drain your water heater periodically is to eliminate some of the buildup.


Fixtures can be pricey, and our hard water does a number on them. Cleaning can only eliminate the cosmetic damage. The internal working parts are at the mercy of calcium buildup, which eventually damages them until they begin to leak.


Pipes can be fused, and eventually, the calcium build-up can restrict the flow of water. Older pipes can become corroded from the accumulation.


Water-using appliances such as the washing machine and dishwasher can be damaged by hard water buildup in the same way as pipes and fixtures. Hard water will also cause them to use an awful lot of soap and can leave a filmy buildup inside the machine.

There are a number of effective solutions. We’ve listed some of them below.

Water softener

A water softener can do a lot to prevent mineralization damage to plumbing parts. It can save a homeowner not only the cost of new fixtures, and valves, but can help a water heater last up to twice as long. It can avoid the grief of leaks and emergency plumbing visits.

Soft water uses less soap, and doesn’t leave a dingy film, and makes a beautiful lather. It will also make the water feel nice on the skin when washing or showering.


Water appliances can be cleaned using a cup or two of vinegar and running the device through a cycle. Vinegar rinses can be done every few months to keep the buildup low and prevent scale clogs.

Drain water heater

Drain the water heater partially or entirely according to the manufacturer's directions. Draining will prevent much of the buildup that can prematurely age a water heater or make it less efficient.

If you need an honest, dependable plumber in the Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe or Chandler area, call Jimmy at 480-757-1273.