If you're a business owner, you've probably heard the term "hard water" tossed around quite a bit in relation to plumbing. Oddly enough, many don't really understand what hard water is or what it can do to your plumbing.
In a nutshell, hard water is water that contains a higher than normal concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium carbonate. While it generally poses no threat to human health, it can wreak havoc on plumbing and fixtures over the long haul.
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How Does Hard Water Affect Faucets and Sinks?
Without diving too deeply into the chemistry, hard water reacts with cleaning agents to form hard deposits that damage plumbing. Besides clogging faucets and drains, hard water can irreparably stain certain kinds of sinks and showers. Calcium and lime build up on pipes and fixtures to the point where water pressure and draining capability are severely impacted. In some cases, a thorough cleaning can alleviate the problem. In extreme cases, replacing plumbing components is the only solution.
When Should You Replace Your Faucets?
Reduced water flow rates or weak streams are sure signs that faucets should at least be cleaned. Depending on the metal composition of your faucet, you can tell a lot about how serious the problem is based on the severity of the discoloration. Though it's a tedious process, disassembling and cleaning a faucet can be a viable option. If a faucet is leaking from the sides or perpetually stopped up, it's probably time to get a new one.
What About Your Sink?
Though a sink is typically more resilient in the face of hard water threats, there will eventually come a day that it must be replaced. Fortunately, it won't be because of a structural or mechanical failure.
At a certain point, drains will rust beyond recovery and the interior finish will have sustained too much damage to be repaired with a simple scrub-down. The right time to replace your sink is ultimately a matter of personal preference.
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What Are Some Easy Tips to Avoid Future Faucet Leaks?
If you're serious about lessening the negative effects of hard water, a little regular maintenance would be advised. For starters, frequently changing your home's water filter will prevent minerals from reaching the faucet in the first place. In addition, setting water pressure at 65 psi or so will reduce stress on your faucet and all of your other fixtures. Lastly, it would be wise to disassemble and clean your faucet from time to time.
No matter how many precautions you may take, there will eventually come a time that a faucet or sink replacement is required. When the inevitable occurs, be sure to have an experienced, licensed plumbing professional handle the nitty-gritty for you.