What Hard Water Means to Your Plumbing System


Water quality is measured by several factors, such as the concentration of dissolved oxygen, bacteria level, the amount of salt, or the amount of material suspended in the water. Water hardness is important to the life of your plumbing system and is a commonly reported aspect of water quality.

Hardness in drinking water is caused mainly by two minerals — calcium and magnesium. If calcium or magnesium is present in your water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard. On the other hand, soft water is water containing little calcium or magnesium. Although the mineral content of household potable water is usually not harmful it can be problematic and undesirable.

What Water Hardness Does to Your Plumbing

Any level of 8+ water hardness attributes to increased scale damage (calcium and magnesium build up) and more wear on your plumbing system and fixtures. The buildup caused by hard water on tubs, showers, sinks, and faucets is just one concern. Another result is build up inside pipes, fixtures and appliances over time. This buildup can attribute to all sorts of plumbing problems like reduced water flow, clogs and increased stress on pipes and fixtures. The mineral deposits can cause appliances to operate less efficiently and wear down faster. Just imagine the water heater has to heat all of the scale build up as well as the water. Thermal Services’ goal is to regulate your water hardness to a level of 3 or less in order to protect your plumbing system and to avoid future maintenance issues.

Overall, hard water results in less efficient plumbing and more repairs over time.

How to test for Hard Water

White scale buildup on plumbing fixtures is often a good indicator of the presence of hard water. You can contact your water provider for more information or contact a Thermal Services plumbing professional for testing of your home’s water quality. Each year, we test several customer’s homes and their water quality during a Whole Home Plumbing Analysis, a benefit of our Quality Care Plumbing Plan.

Hard water treatment

We suggest installing a water softener system in cases where the water tests above a hardness level of 3. We also suggest having your water quality tested by a Thermal Services plumbing professional. They will be able to help you find a solution that best meets your needs based on those test results. Contact Thermal Services for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Omaha: 402-397-8100

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