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Husted Plumbing Blog

Hard Water vs. Your Water Heater—The Bad News

Wavy-water-lineHard water is water that has a high level of minerals suspended in it, principally magnesium and calcium. This isn’t harmful for drinking; after all, these minerals are found in food. However, those minerals are not good for the plumbing in a home, and they also affect the ability to keep both the house and people in it properly clean. (Soap doesn’t dissolve well in hard water, leaving to filmy deposits, itchy skin, flat hair, and more.)

Hard water is a common problem in Santa Barbara, but it’s often easy for people to ignore when they don’t see the major negative effects. We strongly recommend our local customers to find out if they’ve got hard water and to have a water softener installed if they do. There are plenty of reasons to do this, but we want to focus on one of biggest in this post—hard water can ruin your water heater.

The Water Heater? Why?

The minerals in hard water are trouble for all water-using appliances because they leave behind limescale deposits and sediment. Hardness in the water can lead to many appliances failing years ahead of time. And water heaters in Santa Barbara, CA are especially susceptible to this damage.

The main reason water heaters face problems with hard water is because of how fast limescale can build up inside a water heater tank. Scale from the minerals will build up along the interior of the tank no matter what, but the heat in the tank speeds up the process of dissolving the minerals into limescale. The scale along the inside of the tank creates an insulating layer, making it harder for heat to escape from the tank. That’s not good news—because it means the tank will eventually overheat. That spikes pressure in the tank, causes leaks, damages the pressure expansion tank, and takes years off the life of the water heater.

Hard water also leaves a sediment layer across the bottom of the tank. This lowers the efficiency of the water heater and can cause bills to skyrocket. Although flushing the tank removes this sediment, it still isn’t something you want happening all the time.

But I Have a Tankless Water Heater …

And it’s in trouble from hard water as well. A tankless water heater has small inlets and outlets to move water through its heat exchanger whenever a tap comes on. It doesn’t take much limescale build up to block these intakes. This means a drop in hot water pressure around the house and eventually loss of hot water entirely. Unless you want to have the tankless water heater descaled regularly, you’ll want to eliminate the hard water issue.

Install a Water Softener

You can schedule water testing with our professionals, and they’ll be able to tell you if you have excess hardness in your water. If you do, we’ll advise you to schedule a water softener installation. This will not only help your water heater, it will solve all other hard water problems throughout your house.

Husted Plumbing has been family-owned and operated since 1935. Call us for water heater service or water treatment system installation.

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