Effects of Hard Water on Household Appliances

on April 29, 2020 water softener contaminants household

Whether your home has soft or hard water is determined by the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water and is common in areas where groundwater has to pass through rocks with lots of calcium or limestone.

While calcium and magnesium have health benefits, they are bad news for a variety of common household appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, faucets, water heaters, and all of the pipes leading to them.

Shortened Lifespan

The calcium and magnesium in hard water creates scale buildup, also known as mineral deposits. This scale buildup can take years off the life of your appliances.

The Water Quality Association (WQA)—a national organization advocating for the betterment of water quality and facilitating water quality improvement—commissioned a study to learn more about the effects of hard water in the home.

The study determined the typical lifespan of the following appliances was cut significantly: 

  •  -Washing machine - From 11 years to 7.7 years
  •  -Dishwasher - From 10 years to 7 years
  •  -Faucet - From 9 years to 5.4 years
  •  -Toilet - From 6.5 years to 2 years
  •  -Electric water heater - From 13 years to 6.5 years
  •  -Gas water heater - From 11 years to 5.5 years


Decreased Efficiency

Additionally, as hard water continually passes through pipes and plumbing, mineral deposits significantly restrict water flow. These mineral deposits cause water pressure to decrease and further reduces the efficiency of the appliances they feed.

As a result, many appliance manuals recommend using treated water for the best performance. Some companies will even void warranties if homes are running hard water.

Conversely, the WQA determined that with soft water, appliances like dishwashers and washing machines can use less soap or detergent (by as much as 70 percent) and run at lower temperatures while still being effective.

Home Remedies for Hard Water

While removing mineral deposits from your plumbing requires professional help, there are home remedies available to help maintain appliances that run on hard water.

Running white distilled vinegar through a cycle of the dishwasher or washing machine quarterly can help prevent deposits. Mitigating the effects of hard water will lower energy costs, decrease plumbing issues, and maintain the life of your appliances.

Of course, home remedies are a hassle. Eliminate hard water in your home altogether. We can help you select, install, and maintain the right water softening system for your home or business needs.

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