It sounds like an oxymoron: hard water. And although you may not notice if your water is hard or soft, your plumbing and appliances definitely take notice. So what is hard water? It’s the number of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can be found in your water supply.

In Portland, groundwater levels are considered “moderately” hard with a rating of 80 parts per million. This equals out to about 5 grains of sand per gallon. The Bull Run reservoir is much softer, coming in around ½ to ¼ grain of sand ppm. As you might imagine, that’s a great example of softened water.

So what does that mean for you? Your appliances are in good hands if the soft water in your home is from Bull Run. If you use Portland’s groundwater, you’re still in decent shape. But if you’re finding that your dishwasher, water heater, laundry machine, and other appliances that use water seem to be in constant repair, Meticulous Plumbing can help.

How hard water affects home plumbing

As water comes in from the city or county, those minerals can start to build up in the main water line. From the water main in the street, to your water line, and then all throughout your home, the same thing is happening. So the first issue you could be facing is obstructed water pressure or lessened flow.

Although the flow is rarely affected in a two-inch pipe, when the water finally reaches the interior plumbing, that when those minerals can start wreaking havoc. By restricting the flow of water on much smaller pipes, appliances have to work much harder to get the amount of water they need to perform properly.

In addition to the plumbing being affected, the parts of dishwashers and washing machines that come into contact with the water will also have issues. Take a look at your dishwasher for example: Depending on its style, there will be two rotating arms that spray jets of water. Are those jets being disrupted by mineral buildup around the edges? That could be hard water deposits.

It’s not just the appliances that will show the ill-effects of hard water. When combined with soap used during showers, laundry, or dishwashing, you could be dealing with soap scum on your dishes and glass shower door and well as clothes that could wear down before their time.

Solutions for Hard Water Problems

There are many products on the market that claim to combat hard water buildup and mineral deposits when washing clothes or running the dishwasher. They won’t help the pipes leading to the plumbing fixtures, though. It makes more sense to attack the problem at the source: where the water comes into the house.

The easiest way to combat the effects of hard water is to install a water softener right where your plumbing system comes into the house. In some cases, you may only want the hot water to be softened, although there are some systems that will cover the water quality of the entire home.

The softener, sometimes known as an ion exchange unit, will take the harmful minerals out of the water and replace them with a chloride solution that will be sent to the wastewater plumbing. It’s important to follow all manufacturer operating instructions or else you could damage your home water supply.

Work With The Plumbing Pros

Are your showerheads crusted with a white residue? Is it nearly impossible to keep soap scum from appearing on your glass shower door? Are your dishes not getting as clean as they should? Contact Meticulous Plumbing for a water inspection today: You could be dealing with hard water.

Want to find out if a water softening system is right for you? Or is it finally time for a whole home repiping? In either case, Meticulous Plumbing can help. If you’re having a problem with how your water flows, the lack of water pressure, or a clogged kitchen sink that refuses to drain, we have the tools and the expertise to get your plumbing back in shape.

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