Does your Chicago building have hard water? While hard water isn’t a health risk, it can be annoying. This is because hard water has a lot of dissolved minerals in it, like calcium, lime and magnesium, which can all find their way onto your faucets, showerheads and inside your water-using appliances. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to limit the damage caused by hard water.

Understanding Hard Water

When we talk about hard water, we are talking about water that collects minerals as it travels through the waterways and plumbing systems. You would think that this type of water would be acidic or have a pH value of less than 7, but that’s not the case. Instead, hard water has a relatively high pH level, usually above 8.5, which makes it alkaline rather than acidic.

Hard water is also defined by the amount of solids dissolved in it, which is calculated by grains per gallon. Water that has 1 grain per gallon is considered soft water. Water with up to 3.5 grains per gallon is considered slightly hard, and water with more than 10.5 grains per gallon is considered very hard. If your Chicago building has hard water, you may notice a film on floors and white deposits on fixtures. If you bathe and wash your hands and hair in hard water, you’ll notice the soap doesn’t lather as well, and your hair and skin are dry. Individuals with eczema may even notice an increase in symptoms.

Why Hard Water Causes Damage

Hard water often looks cloudy, especially in the hot water lines. The cloudiness is caused by the dissolved solids. As the water travels through your plumbing pipes, the dissolved solids can be deposited along the pipe walls, which reduces the diameter of the pipe. Once the water flows out of the tap and into your sink or onto your dishes, those same dissolved solids can show up on your water fixtures and dishes. This is because as the water evaporates, the solids are left behind, resulting in scaly deposits that are usually white. These deposits can be extremely difficult to remove. If the deposits end up in a coffee maker, it may take vinegar or a special lime removing cleaner to get them out. If your plumbing pipes have leaks, you may notice those scaly deposits on the outside of your plumbing pipes. When it comes to scale buildup and your dishwasher and washing machines and any pipe that has a valve, those same deposits can lock components into the open or closed positions.

Turning Hard Water into Soft Water

In order to avoid damage to your water fixtures, water-using appliances and plumbing pipes, the hard water has to be turned into soft water by removing the dissolved solids and adding salt. This is accomplished with the use of water softeners, which are filtration devices that use salt, charcoal and/or filters to remove dissolved solids. Once the water is softened, it no longer poses as great a risk to your appliances, fixtures, finishes and even your skin and hair. You’ll also notice that it’s easier to clean yourself and your property because you’re not having to endlessly remove limescale and white scaly deposits, and soaps and detergents will rinse cleaner. You may even notice a reduction in your water usage.

Unfortunately, soft water does have a few downsides. While it tastes better than hard water, it can taste salty, which is because the water contains more salt. For this reason, individuals who are on low salt diets or who have high blood pressure should not drink soft water. Soft water also has the ability to leach materials out of metal plumbing pipes, which can result in pinhole leaks.

Protecting Your Pipes with Epoxy Pipe Lining

Whether you have hard or soft water, it’s a good idea to protect your metal plumbing pipes with an epoxy liner. Epoxy liners prevent the water from the municipal water system from coming into contact with the metal of your plumbing pipes. This prevents chemical leaching and can reduce the risk of scale buildup inside your pipes. In fact, when you receive an epoxy coating for your potable water lines, all the existing scale and corrosion are removed from inside the pipe prior to the installation of the coating. With all the scale and corrosion removed, the internal diameter of your plumbing pipe is maximized, which means your building will experience better water flow and better pressure.

To learn more about the benefits of epoxy pipe lining for residential and commercial buildings, give us a call at 915-790-9000.