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Hard water can be a slow killer of your pipes and appliances at home. Most cities have treatment plants that help soften hard water, but many regions still constantly battle it when it appears in shower heads, faucets, dishwasher or washing machine hoses, toilets, and pretty much any other object where water goes through. High levels of calcium and magnesium will combine to produce lime scale buildup that sticks to the walls of pipes, hoses and appliances, which results in low water pressure, clogged pipes and faucets, damaged appliance repair, and possibly cracks and leaks in your plumbing.

Since there isn’t much you can do as far as the water that is being supplied to your home, you can tackle your hard water problem by taking care of a few tasks you will have to do on a regular basis to prevent lime scale from accumulating in your pipes. Follow this guide and you won’t have to worry about worse water damage problems in the future.

How to Know if You Have Hard Water

If you are not sure if you do in fact have hard water in your house, you should first test your water and look for the following signs:

  • You find that there is some sort of soap scum and sticky residue that is left behind in sinks and tubs.
  • When you use soap or shampoo and water, you find it hard to lather. Try filling up a plastic bottle with water and add a few drops of dish detergent, shake it, and check to see if it fills up with foam and bubbles. If it doesn’t or there is very little foam, you have very hard water.
  • You have noticed a few mineral spots on faucets and fixtures after they are splashed with water.
  • The easiest and most obvious way to notice hard water damage is if you already have lime scale buildup around faucets, showerheads, sink handles, toilets and others. It should look like a solid or powdery substance that is mostly white but can also turn greenish at times, that sticks to glass, stainless steel, porcelain and tile.
  • To be entirely sure, buy a hard water testing kit and use it in your home. This will tell you for sure if you are dealing with a problem that you must address immediately or not.

What Can I Do To Prevent Lime Scale Buildup?

If in fact you are dealing with hard water in your home, these preventive measures will help you control lime scale from accumulating in your pipes, fixtures and appliances.

  • Faucets and showerheads:

In order to clean clogged faucets, the most effective way is to fill a plastic bag with a solution of two parts water and one part white vinegar, and tie it over the spigot to leave overnight. This will help loosen up the buildup so you can rinse it with warm water in the morning and use a toothbrush to scrub out whatever is left. This method will also work for showerheads; simply detach it and place it in the plastic bag for about 30 minutes, rinse it, connect it again and let it run for a couple minutes to remove what is left. You can also use cleaning solutions made of 1/2 cup bleach or ammonia and 2 cups of water, but remember to never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar, since it will create toxic fumes.

  • Toilets, sinks, tubs and shower doors:

In order to effectively remove lime scale buildup in these areas, your best option will be to use a cleaning agent specifically designed for lime removal that you can find in your local home improvement store. Use according to manufacturer’s instructions and scrub away. You can also use a white vinegar and water solution to pour down drains and pipes to help prevent buildup.

  • Hot water heater:

One of the appliances in your home that is most prone to lime scale damage is your water heater, since calcium and magnesium will accumulate even more the hotter the water they are in. In order to prevent this from happening it is essential that you drain your tank twice a year so any particles can be removed, and then refill it with fresh water. It is also important that you keep a proper temperature on your thermostat, since higher temperatures, which might be unnecessary, might be producing even more minerals.

  • Water softening system:

All other preventive measures will help you control the accumulation of calcium and magnesium in your home, but they will still not be tackling the actual problem. Installing a water softening system will directly reduce the amount of minerals in your water by using a brine tank and a resin tank through which water flows and is filtered by an ion exchange process. The machine attaches to your plumbing easily and you will only need to add salt to the tank about twice a month to keep it running. The downside to this is certainly the higher costs buying and running the machine will involve, but if you are able to afford it, it will certainly be a more permanent solution than any other.

Don’t let hard water reduce the lifespan of your plumbing and appliances. Take some time to work on your home regularly and you will avoid having to deal with worse problems later. Find guidance in these few tips and you won’t have to worry hard water will cause a potentially disastrous results.