When you think about how water affects the plumbing system in your Chicago building, you probably think about hard water. However, soft water can also negatively affect your plumbing system. Here at NuFlow Midwest, we want you to be able to make the best decisions when it comes to maintaining your plumbing system, and that means knowing the pros and cons of soft water.
Understanding Soft Water
When many business owners, landlords, property managers and superintendents think about water composition, they usually think about the harms of hard water, which reduces the expected lifespans of water fixtures, coffee makers, washing machines and other water-using appliances because of all the dissolved minerals. In fact, hard water is so damaging that there are numerous businesses that provide various types of water softeners, which use a combination of charcoal, salt and various filters to remove the minerals and clean the water.
Benefits of Soft Water
When individuals think about types of water, they immediately think that soft water is better, and for certain things, it is better. Soft water has fewer dissolved minerals, like lime and calcium, and more salt. The good news is that soft water doesn’t create scale or leave a hard white residue everywhere. You’ll also notice that your clothes get cleaner with less soap and everything rinses cleaner, which means it won’t take your janitorial staff or your residents as long to performing cleaning tasks. There’s also no need to spend a lot of time scrubbing showers, toilets, showerheads and water faucets in order to remove all the scaly white buildup.
Drawbacks of Soft Water
While soft water is ideal overall, it still comes with a few drawbacks. Individuals with high blood pressure, heart issues or conditions that are aggravated by salt intake should not drink soft water. This is because it has a higher salt content than hard water, which is especially true if there’s a soft water filtration device in the system that uses salt to soften the water and remove mineral deposits.
Since soft water contains very few dissolved minerals, it tends to leach minerals off other surfaces, including your metal plumbing pipes. This can result in pitting and pinhole leaks in metal plumbing pipes. While this can take some time to develop, the end result is pinhole leaks, loss of water pressure, high water bills and even serious water damage if one of your pipes were to experience a catastrophic failure.
Prevent Soft Water from Leaching Chemicals from Your Metal Plumbing Pipes
Since soft water is more beneficial overall than hard water, we don’t recommend removing any water softening devices or filtration systems from your building. Instead, we recommend preventing the soft water from coming into contact with the surfaces of your metal pipes. One of the ways to do this is with the use of an epoxy coating, which is a special resin that is designed for use in potable water pipes and approved by the city of Chicago for use in commercial and residential buildings. Once the epoxy coating is in place, your soft water will no longer come into contact with the metal surfaces of your plumbing pipes, which extends their useful lifespan and helps prevent pinhole leaks and water damage to your building.
Protecting Your Pipes from the Harms of Soft Water with an Epoxy Coating
When it comes to protecting your pipes from the leaching effects of soft water, you may want to consider installing an epoxy coating. Epoxy coatings are comprised of a two-part mixture that includes an epoxy resin and a hardener. This coating is then blown through your plumbing pipes using pressurized air. The viscosity of the epoxy resin ensures that it rolls over itself and thoroughly coats the insides of the potable water pipes in your Chicago building.
Once the epoxy coating has dried and cured, the soft water will flow down the epoxy, which is essentially a new pipe surface, and no longer come into contact with your copper, brass or galvanized steel plumbing pipes. This means that all the leaching of minerals from your pipes will stop in the pipes that have been coated, and you can continue to enjoy the benefits of having soft water in your building.
Here at NuFlow, we can line as few or as many of your potable water pipes as you prefer, including every potable water pipe in your building. To learn more about how you can prevent pitting and leaching from soft water and to schedule a building pipe assessment, give us a call at 815-790-9000.