The United States Geological Survey defines hard water as containing more than 60 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter. Water that contains 180 milligrams per liter is extremely hard. Generally, hard water contains many other minerals and elements than just calcium carbonate.
Magnesium is common. So are copper, iron, and aluminum. In Tucson, AZ, the water averages 211 milligrams per liter, making it extremely hard. Still, you should bear in mind that this kind of hard water is safe to drink. The undesirable effects range from unsightly, such as streaky dishes and glasses, to slightly destructive to your appliances.
Your Water Heater
Not all water heaters need flushing. The newest models are designed to be self-cleaning when the water supply’s hardness is less than 60 milligrams per liter. However, with Tucson’s water, it’s a good idea to have Cal’s Plumbing flush it and clean it for you as part of your regular maintenance schedule.
Working with natural gas or electricity is best left to professionals. Also, our technicians will take extra care not to damage the inside of the tank, which could cause premature rusting and eventual early tank failure. A good rule to follow is to have us clean and flush the gunk from your water heater every year.
As time passes, hard water residue will gradually build up in your pipes. Eventually, they will be completely clogged. Unfortunately, the only recourse you have when this happens is to have the pipes replaced. You can’t just pour something like CLR down the drain and expect it to dissolve the buildup.
First, that could damage the pipe, which could lead to catastrophic leaks. Second, chemicals of that type are poisonous and can even be lethal. When the buildup is minor, it might be possible to pour vinegar down the pipes to dissolve the small amount of buildup. The problem with that is that the pipes deep in your walls won’t see very much of that vinegar, making that solution ineffective for your plumbing system as a whole.
The best way to keep this from happening is to install a water-softening system. Systems of this kind will filter out the calcium carbonate and other elements and minerals. Softer water means less wear and tear on your appliances and pipes.
You’ll also probably notice that you’ll be using correspondingly less soap when you shower, wash dishes by hand, or run the dishwasher. Your glasses, flatware, and plates will all look better, too, with fewer water spots and streaks, as well as less overall clouding.
Additional Signs You Might Need a Water Softener, Filter, or Purifier
Water softeners and filters help you avoid using hard water in your home, but there are many other reasons to invest in purification systems. For one, your water may be discolored. Usually, this means one of two things. First, it could be that the residue from your pipes is flaking off and darkening the water. Second, it could be that there’s a source of discoloration outside your home, such as in the municipal water supply.
If your water is discolored, your clothing could have stains when it comes out of the wash. These stains could be anything from a light yellow to almost black. A greenish tinge indicates the presence of copper. Yellow would show calcium carbonate. Dark colors show iron. Red would be rare, indicating nickel. All of these point to water that is harder than normal.
Also, your water could look normal but might smell or taste awful. In most cases, these awful smells and tastes aren’t harmful, but they are unpleasant and should be corrected.
Some of the tastes are necessary for your water to be potable. Chlorine, for example, sterilizes your water and removes dangerous bacteria and other microorganisms, such as Naegleria fowleri. It doesn’t taste very good, however. So, having a treatment system removes a lot of the chlorine, making your water taste that much better.
Your skin will also feel better. Chlorine, along with other sterilizing chemicals, has a very drying effect on your skin, and having water that’s had the chlorine filtered out will just feel better after a shower or bath.
Maintaining Your Water Treatment System
Hard water is hard on all systems, and that includes softeners, purifiers, and filters. In addition to having your pipes, water tank, and sewer connection inspected annually, you should also have your additional systems checked out.
Such routine maintenance will extend the lifespan of all of the parts of your home’s water system. Pipes and other parts of your water system that are clean and running smoothly also contribute to lowering your bill. You’ll use less water, too, because there will be no backflow.
Most importantly, you’ll contribute to the environment by avoiding the use of harsh chemicals and by making your water usage more efficient. In a desert area like that of Tucson, that’s supremely important.
Other Considerations When Installing a Water Softener
We’ll work with you to figure out the best place to install your water softener. Usually, that’s exactly where water enters your home. In some cases, however, there might be another spot that’s better. We’ll let you know if that’s the case.
We also need to determine how big a softener you need. Obviously, the bigger your family, the more water you’ll use. Using more water means that you need a bigger softener. Also, we’ll measure the hardness of the water at your address. Remember, the number of 211 milligrams per liter is the average. At your home, it could be quite a bit more or less than that number. There’s no need to have a giant softener if your water contains only 70 milligrams of minerals and elements per liter.
Once we’ve done the math, we’ll make a recommendation on the kind and brand of water softener that’ll best fit your needs. One other consideration is whether or not we decide together that it’d be a good idea to install a water softener that’s just slightly bigger than what’s required. That way, if you ever happen to use more water on any certain day, the system will be able to keep up.
The Final Word
We have nearly eight decades of experience in the plumbing industry. Things have come a long way since 1948, and we’ve kept abreast of all the latest technological advances. We also make sure that we know the changes in building codes so that we always give you the right solution under the law. Our conscientiousness, dedication to customer service, and insistence on top-quality workmanship from every employee have led us to both an A+ rating and full accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. We stand behind our work. If it’s not right, then we’ll fix it. And, as it says on our website, that’s a 100% guarantee.
So, if you need a plumber to install a water-treatment system of any kind for you in Tucson, give us a call at Cal’s Plumbing right away.