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How Hard Water Hurts Your Water Heater’s Efficiency and Lifespan

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Hard water has a high concentration of mineral content, most commonly calcium and magnesium. It’s caused when groundwater travels through deposits of limestone or sediment.

Hard water in itself isn’t a health risk. It’s present in 85 percent of American homes and is usually safe to drink, but it’s not at all good for plumbing fixtures — especially water heaters.

Hard water vs. water heaters

Hard water leaves mineral deposits behind wherever it goes. Limescale, a chalky deposit that primarily consists of calcium carbonate, accumulates in fixtures and appliances connected with hot water, like tea kettles and water heaters. Heat accelerates the conversion of minerals into limescale.

When it collects inside a water heater tank, limescale creates a sort of insulating layer along the inside walls. This makes it harder for heat to escape, leading to an overheating tank. That can cause leaks and water pressure spikes and shave years off the heater’s expected lifespan.

Mineral deposits and sediment can also lower a heater’s capacity and efficiency by making heating cycles longer, raising utility bills.

Hard water vs. tankless water heaters

Even tankless water heating systems are at risk when they encounter hard water. Limescale can build up within the outlets and inlets where water passes through the heat exchanger. This effect leads to low water pressure and eventually will prevent the unit from heating water at all.

How to stop hard water deposits

To control the accumulation of hard water deposits in your water heater and surrounding fixtures, have the water heater flushed every so often. If you can stand slightly cooler water temperatures, lower the heater’s thermostat.

The most effective solution is a water softener system. This restricts and prevents the excessive build-up of limescale to all your plumbing fixtures, including your water heater, and can extend the life of all hot-water appliances.

B&B Professional Plumbing

B&B helps the Tampa Bay Metro Area with high-quality, affordable, complete plumbing service, including water heater repair and hard water control. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

We service Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco Counties!

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