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What Is Hard Water?

Hard water refers to water with a high mineral content in it. The most common minerals found in hard water are calcium and magnesium. Hard water is not unsafe, and many municipalities soften the city's water before it reaches your home. However, hard water can still be an issue even in cities where the water is softened at the city's water treatment plants. It can also be an issue for communities and homes that get water from a well system.

Sings you may have hard water:

  • Detergents don’t work as well or don’t foam as much as they should
  • You see buildup on your glassware, silverware, and dishes
  • You feel a film on your hands after washing them
  • There is white buildup on your shower head and other plumbing fixtures
  • Your laundry doesn't get as clean as you would like or is faded
  • There’s residue, staining, or discoloration in your toilet or sinks where water runs frequently

Does Hard Water Ruin Water Heaters?

Hard water can cause problems for all your water-based appliances, and your water heater is no exception. Over time, hard water will damage your water heater and lead to chronic repair problems and early replacement. This can happen quickly and take years off your water heater's expected lifespan.

The effects of hard water on water heaters:

  • Scale buildup throughout the water heater
  • Sediment buildup in the water heater tank
  • Blockages in water lines
  • Diminished water quality
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Higher operating costs

One sign that your water heater may be struggling because of hard water is a decrease in your water temperature. As scale builds up, a barrier is created between the water in your tank and the heating elements. This can make it difficult for your water heater to heat the water in your tank effectively. Furthermore, depending on how the buildup forms, it can actually cause your heating element to overheat, causing it to become damaged or require replacement sooner.

Does Hard Water Affect Tankless Water Heaters Too?

Yes, tankless water heaters will be affected by hard water just as a conventional water heater will be. Essentially, any area where water runs through the water heater is susceptible to scale buildup. And, just like a traditional water heater, your tankless water heater may lose some energy efficiency and heating efficacy, suffer chronic repair issues, and have a reduced lifespan.

Whether you have a tanked or tankless model, it is imperative that you do what you can to protect it from hard water damage. Keep reading to learn how to do this.

How To Protect Your Water Heater from Hard Water

When it comes to protecting your water heater from hard water and limescale buildup, there are two major things you can do. The first is to install a water softener at your home. A water softener will remove magnesium and calcium from your water, slowing the rate of buildup in your water heater and plumbing system. You will also see a reduction in water spots and buildup on your dishes and plumbing fixtures, and your soaps and detergents will work more effectively.

The second and perhaps the easiest way to protect your water heater is to schedule annual water heater maintenance with a professional plumber, like ours at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our plumbers can inspect your system, give you a sense of whether your water heater is being affected by hard water, and provide you with the services, tips, and tricks you need to keep your water heater in good condition and working efficiently.

To schedule water heater maintenance, send us a message online. Our plumbers are licensed, insured, and highly experienced. We can manage everything from water heater installation and repair to annual inspections and service.