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Hard water: What is it, and why do you need a water softener?

Most people take the water that comes out of their tap for granted. Beyond the other stuff that can be in your home’s drinking and potable water, there’s something else you need to think about: hard water. Here in Fresno, our exceptionally hard water makes a water softener a necessity.

A water softener treats a hard water problem by removing the buildup of minerals that can damage your  home’s plumbing. It effectively removes the minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates through an ion exchange process. The device can increase the lifespan of the plumbing fixtures, and reduce plumbing repair costs.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the reasons why it’s important to soften hard water by installing a water softener.

Hard water buildup and water softenerWhat is hard water?

Thanks to gravity, water is always on the move. In rivers, it can carve canyons and create valleys. Underground in aquifers and wells, water slips between rocks. All that time, the water is brushing against rock, scraping off minerals such as calcium and magnesium. It’s the presence of minerals that makes water “hard” as opposed to “soft.”

Does Fresno have hard water?

Yes, we do. Here in Fresno, our water, on average, is 122 parts-per-million. According to the scale developed by the Water Quality Association, that means our water here in town is classified as “hard.”

If your home’s water is drawn exclusively from underground sources, your water might even be harder than that. That’s because aquifer sources are typically “harder” than surface water sources.

So, what’s the problem?

First, let’s clear something up: there’s no health risk for you and your family as a result of hard water. (Although, there’s other reasons you should consider a whole-home water filtration system). However, hard water can do a number on your home’s plumbing and appliances. Let’s explain why.

As mineral-rich hard water passes through the pipes and plumbing of your home, those minerals leech out of the water and stick to the inside of the pipe. Over time, this results in the buildup of calcium commonly known as “scale”. 

What else does hard water impact?

The flow of water in your home can be reduced because of this blockage in the pipe. The result is that you’ll need to re-pipe your home—an expensive proposition—a lot sooner than you would have otherwise. It’s a major problem here in Fresno.

However, that’s not all. Those minerals are also being pumped into your dishwasher and washing machine every time you use them, causing damage and reducing the lifespan of your appliances.

Your water heater is particularly vulnerable. After all, it has water inside of it at all times. Mineral buildup can negatively impact the anode rod, and deposits of just 1/16 of an inch can negate your water heater’s energy-efficiency, increasing your home energy costs.

Hard water impacts your home comfort

The wrong type of water can have major impacts on your home’s comfort. Here’s just some of the ways that hard water negatively impacts your home:

  • Your laundry will be stiff and dingy because detergents will not work as well with hard water. In addition, the minerals in the water, over time, wear down the colors in your favorite outfits.
  • Your skin will be drier, itchier, and harder to deal with, and you’ll feel like your hair is under attack. Hard water can aggravate symptoms of eczema.
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioners will work less effectively and you’ll need to use more of them with each shower to get the same results you would have had otherwise with softened water.

How can a water softener help?

As the name implies, water softeners remove the minerals that make water hard, rendering it soft. Water softeners are popular here in Fresno because of our exceptionally hard water. 

A water softener is a good long-term investment to protect your appliances, water heater, and home plumbing. Plus, it’ll make your skin and hair feel great!

Call Allbritten to learn about our whole-house water treatment systems

At Allbritten, we’re proud to install HALO whole-house water filtration and treatment systems here in Fresno. The HALO 5 system is considered one of the best on the market. It not only operates as a water softener, but also cleans and purifies your water with some of the best technology available.

If you’re interested in learning more about our HALO systems and how your home can drink clean, softened water, call Allbritten at (559) 292-4919 or contact our team online to schedule your free in-home estimate on a new system.

Here are three tips to reduce pipe stress and prevent leaks

 

Pipe stress can lead to plumbing leaks. If you don’t take steps to address the problem, you will have to face costly plumbing repairs. The more you wait to act, the greater will be the damage to the pipes.However, the right proactive steps can help you avoid plumbing disaster later on.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about what pipe stress is, and how Allbritten can help you avoid problems and leaks.

What is pipe stress?

This isn’t your pipes being stressed about an upcoming exam or financial woes. Instead, pipe stress refers to pipes that are bearing too large of a load at too high of pressure. There are two primary drivers of pipe problems:

  • Water Pressure: The water pressure in your home’s plumbing is too high, which stresses the pipes, gaskets, and seals of your home’s plumbing.
  • Hard Water: As minerals from water leech out while passing through your plumbing, they collect inside pipes, forming hard calcification spots. Over time, this reduces the flow through the pipe, increasing the pressure and corroding joints.

The problems with pressure in pipes can be observed in your garden hose. Let’s say that you have the hose on at full capacity. If you were to then restrict most of the flow by pinching the end of the hose, the remaining water would shoot out of the end of the hose more forcefully.

That same phenomenon is happening your home’s plumbing every time you turn on the shower or sink faucet, or every time you start a load of laundry. Over time, that stress wears on pipes and fittings.

How you can address pipe stress in your home

Your home’s pipes don’t have to be doomed to a future of leaks and problems. The professional plumbers at Allbritten can help ensure that your pipes are looking good and have a reduced stress level. Here are the two steps we take to address pipe stress problems:

Step #1: Have Allbritten check the pressure on your pipes

Water pressure over 80 pounds-per-square-inch (psi) can lead to increased stress on your pipes, causing strain inside the pipe and damaging your fixtures.

High water pressure is particularly damaging to copper pipes. In order to avoid corrosion, copper pipes have oxide coating on the interior pipe walls. This coating gets damaged when the water pressure is too high.

Water pressure should ideally be between 40 and 80 psi. If the water pressure is higher than the maximum threshold, it can cause plumbing damage.

Call Allbritten to have us measure your home’s water pressure. If the water pressure in your home is too high, we’ll likely recommend a solution such as a pressure regulator, a device that reduces the pressure of the water entering your home.

Step #2: Have Allbritten install a water softener

People who use well water or municipal water should consider using a water softener. Especially when drawn from wells and aquifers, water is typically hard, not soft, in the Fresno area. This water can damage the pipes and restrict the flow of water. It can also cause corrosion in the joints. Also, the fittings that keep the pipe together can corrode due to hard water.

You should examine faucets and shower heads to find out whether there is any white colored stains and buildup. These are usually magnesium, or other minerals that are found in high quantity in hard water.

Another way to know about hard water is to have your water tested by the team at Allbritten. Above 140 parts per million (PPM) indicates hard water. You can easily resolve the hard water problem by calling us and having us install a water softener.

Call Allbritten for more ways to reduce pipe stress

Allbritten is Fresno’s trusted name in plumbing. Our team is known for fast, friendly service and our honest approach to doing business. To learn more about our water testing services, give us a call at (559) 292-4919 or contact us online.