Has your plumber told you that mineralization is the cause of a recent issue? If so, then it is important to understand what mineralization is and what it can do so you can make the right choices when caring for your home's plumbing.
What Is Hard Water?
Water, particularly tap water from municipal supplies, is typically described as either hard or soft. Hard water is that which contains a high percentage of dissolved minerals. These minerals are typically calcium and magnesium, although lime and other minerals may also be present. Although these minerals aren't considered unsafe for human consumption, when you have enough in the water for it to be considered hard, there are some plumbing issues that can arise.
How Does Mineral Buildup Occur?
When water that contains dissolved minerals is heated, the minerals precipitate out of the water and solidify on the nearest surface. This is why you are most likely to experience mineral buildup in areas where hot water is used. Showers and bathtub fixtures and kitchen plumbing, as well as hot water-using appliances like the dishwasher or water heater, are more likely to develop mineral scale buildup. Fixtures that only use cold water, like outdoor taps or the ice maker like in your fridge, either won't develop buildup or develop buildup slowly compared to the hot water fixtures.
Does Mineral Buildup Damage Plumbing?
Mineral buildup can be very damaging to your plumbing. In water heaters, for example, the buildup can reduce tank capacity and increase the chances for a leak. It is not just unsightly around taps. It can also constrict water lines, clog faucets and showerheads, and cause the internal workings of fixtures and pipes to prematurely corrode and break. Fixtures and appliances are more likely to get clogged, and those that have filters will require more frequent filter changes due to the hard water. Eventually, the inside of plumbing pipes can develop a thick coating of mineral scale, which may require a full home pipe replacement.
How Can Mineralization Be Prevented?
Fortunately, there is a solution for mineralization. A plumber can install a whole-house water softener on your main water supply line. This will remove the hard minerals from the water as soon as it enters the home, thus saving your plumbing, fixtures, and appliances from scale buildup and the subsequent issues it can lead to.
Contact a plumber in your area to learn more.