Mason Plumbing Hard Water Blog

Hard Water is Bad News for a Water Heater

While well water is notorious for its hardness, you can have hard water even on a city system.

Do you have hard water at your home? Hard water is essentially water with higher amounts of minerals. It can have a slightly different taste and leave a residue on fixtures and other surfaces. It’s safe to drink, but it can cause other issues in your home. Soap does not lather and dissolve effectively, affecting your shower, skin, hair, and even clothing. Hard water may also decrease the life span of your water heater, costing you more in energy bills and replacement.

Hard Water and Water Heaters

If you have a tank water heater and hard water, there’s a good chance trouble is brewing inside the tank. It’s common for minerals to accumulate inside the tank, causing sediment and limescale. With hard water, this problem is compounded. Excess minerals in the water create more sediment and limescale, which can impact the efficiency and life span of the water heater.

The heat in the water heater can create mineral sediment that accumulates in your tank. This can impact the heating elements, making it work harder to bring the water to temperature. The sediment settles on the bottom of the tank, which is often where the heating element is located, also making it work harder to heat the water. This uses more energy, increasing your electricity or gas bill each month.

Another problem inside water heaters using hard water is the limescale that builds on the interior of the tank. The limescale can act like insulation, creating excess heat which can damage the working components in the water heater. This can lead to more frequent repairs and replacement of parts, and eventually the replacement of the entire water heater.

To reduce damage to the water heater, regular maintenance is needed to reduce the amount of sediment and limescale buildup. This includes frequently draining the tank to remove sediment and descaling of the tank. However, if there is still hard water being used in the tank, it will continue to have excess limescale and cause deterioration of the water heater tank and system. The only way to stop the problem and protect the water heater and other appliances from the damage of hard water is to reduce the minerals in the water using a quality water softener.

How Do Water Softeners Work?

A water softener offers relief from hard water; helping removing excess minerals that can cause water spots, buildup on fixtures, and problems in appliances like water heaters. The key element in water softeners is sodium-or salt. When hard water is put through a water softening system, the minerals are replaced with sodium, creating water that’s softer and easier to use; especially for water heaters.

The way water softeners work is with a mineral tank that attracts the calcium and magnesium which are at high levels in hard water. The mineral tank contains minerals that are a negative charge; calcium and magnesium have positive charges and are attracted to the negative beads of minerals in the tank. A separate tank includes the salt or sodium water. Sodium also has a positive charge. When the salt water is flushed through the mineral tank, the calcium and magnesium are removed, and the sodium ions take their place on the negatively-charged mineral beads. The excess calcium and magnesium is drained away, leaving softer water.

When an effective water softener is in place, it makes it easier on your water heater. Water can heat faster, making it more efficient. This saves money every month on your energy bills. It also reduces sediment and limescale, minimizing the amount of maintenance needed on your water heater. Your water heater can last longer, especially if you keep up with needed maintenance; saving you hundreds of dollars with an extended life span between replacements.

On top of improved performance for your water heater, a water softener can reduce the amount of soap that gets left on your shower, clothes, and skin. It helps minimize scale appearing on your water fixtures, keeping faucets and showerheads clear from clogs. Your glasses and dishware will appear cleaner, with less spots and film, improving the overall appearance of items in your home.

Local Source for Water Softening and Water Heater Maintenance

At Mason Mechanical, we offer installation and service for water softening systems to help minimize the issues that occur with hard water. We also service and install water heaters to help you maintain your current system. If you have hard water and are ready to try a softening system, contact our team to schedule a service call with one of our plumbing experts so we can inspect your water and system. We will recommend the right water softener for your needs as well as provide installation and ongoing service.