The detrimental effects of hard water on your home are numerous and varied. Most homeowners know how to recognize common signs of hard water: white residue on freshly washed dishes, itchy scalp and dry hair, difficulty cleaning soap scum from bathroom surfaces. However, what you may not realize is how damaging extended exposure to hard water can be to home appliances.
Long-term damage from hard water exposure can be tricky to identify because the effects creep up so slowly. But over time, the results can be devastating, causing the complete breakdown of costly home appliances.
The appliances that sustain the most damage from hard water are those that have the most constant water flow: dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines.
Damage from hard water is caused by mineral deposits left behind by the steady stream of water through the piping. As water continuously flows through these appliances, the deposits build up inside the internal parts of the machines. Over time, the deposits will either clog the machinery or will eat through the piping. When the damage becomes severe, holes will form and water will begin to leak out of the appliance.
How can you tell if mineral deposits are building up inside your appliances before they reach the breaking point? Here are some signs that your appliances are experiencing hard water damage:
- Your water heater is losing efficiency. Mineral build-up can reduce water heating efficiency by almost 50%.
- The ice maker and/or water dispenser in your refrigerator is clogging.
- Laundry feels stiff or scratchy when it comes out of the washing machine.
- You have to use increasing amounts of detergent to get your clothes clean.
- You notice that clothes appear to fade and wear out more quickly.
- You observe residue building up inside the tub or on the lint screen of the washer.
- Dishes emerge from the dishwasher spotty or dingy, not sparkling clean.
- The metal interior of your dishwasher shows signs of rust.
- You go through several coffee makers because they quickly break down.
- Your water bill keeps climbing even though your usage remains the same.
Mineral build-up reduces efficiency, causing these water-using workhorses to work even harder.
While there are some temporary fixes that will offset the effects of hard water, the only long-term solution is to install a water softener.
Installing a whole house water softening system will not only make your water taste better and keep your clothes and dishes cleaner, but it will extend the lifespan of your home appliances—ultimately saving you thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs.