If you have hard water in your Dover, Delaware, home, you may have noticed issues such as dry skin, rust-colored toilet stains, soap-scum buildup, dingy clothes, and clogged pipes. Hard water makes it more difficult to rinse away soap. It creates an unsightly buildup and stains anywhere it regularly comes into contact. Though it’s not as visible, hard water will have a major impact on your water heater as well. Learn what hard water does to the water heater in your home and how you can combat it effectively.
It Can Build up on Your Heating Element
Hard water is high in minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium. Over time, these minerals build up on the bottom of the tank, creating an ever-thickening layer of mineral deposits. This layer can be several inches thick, which may put it into contact with your lower heating element. Minerals may also build up directly on the heating element itself.
This puts added strain on the heating element and will cause it to fail more frequently than it should. If you have hard water that’s not treated through a water softener, you’ll likely find that your lower heating element fails more often than the upper element and that both require frequent replacements. You may be calling us for frequent replacements if your water heater is battling untreated hard water.
It Damages Your Energy Efficiency
A water heater that has a mineral buildup inside can’t achieve the same energy efficiency as one that’s clear inside. If you have untreated hard water, you’ll pay more to keep your water functioning than you would otherwise. Heating elements encrusted with lime have to work through that layer to extend heat to the surrounding water. If you have hard water, one of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your water heater is to get a water softener to treat the problem.
It Impacts Your Maintenance Schedule
Homes with hard water will need to schedule more frequent water heater maintenance. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may need an annual visit from our plumbers to completely flush out the tank. We’ll begin by draining the tank of all water. After that, the flushing process removes lime and other minerals as much as possible.
If you have a water softener for your hard water, your water heater won’t require as much maintenance. You can generally space your visits out to one every three years. However, keep in mind that your water softener will require maintenance and care to continue functioning properly. Neglecting your water softener will negate its benefits and leave you with the same issues you would have without this appliance.
It Diminishes Capacity
Those extra inches of buildup at the bottom of your water heater impact its overall capacity. If your water heater is filled with a thick layer of mineral deposits, it simply doesn’t have that space to devote to storing hot water. The longer these deposits are allowed to accumulate, the smaller your total capacity will be. Keep the buildup to a minimum so you can keep a full supply of hot water on hand.
It Shortens Your System’s Lifespan
Water heaters that have to deal with the strain of hard water simply don’t last as long as those that are free from the hazards of mineral buildup. If you have hard water, you can make your water heater last longer by purchasing a water softener to accompany it. If you’re concerned about the expense of installing a water softener, consider that this appliance will help negate the need for more frequent water heater replacements.
Maintenance will help extend the lifespan of your water heater somewhat, but regularly flushing the system isn’t as effective as stopping the effects of hard water at the source. If you have extremely hard water in your area, it’s important to consider all your options.
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