Hard Water’s Impact on You and Your Plumbing

June 9, 2023

When the water running through your home has a high mineral content, this is considered to be hard water. Hard water is formed when it passes through limestone, chalk or gypsum. These rocks have high concentrations of calcium, magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates. It can vary in severity, sometimes causing minimal issues, while other times resulting in some pretty serious damage to your plumbing and health. Let’s take a look at the impact that hard water can have.

Man in yellow shirt on a purple background with eyes squeezed closed and hands on his stomach due to stomach ache

Hard Water and Your Plumbing

Scale Build-Up

Scale (or limescale) build-up in your plumbing can have a significant effect on your water’s flow rate. If too much scale builds up over time, your pipes will narrow. Unfortunately, this usually results in having to replace the affected pipes, which can get expensive. There’s not a really effective method of cleaning out those hard-to-reach pipes.


High levels of iron, calcium and magnesium can lead to the development of rust and corrosion. Water is constantly flowing through your pipes, resulting in interior damage to things like your appliances, bathtubs, showers, sinks, etc. Copper piping can also deteriorate do to high levels of minerals, causing leaks and water damage. It’s very common for a homeowner to not even realize that this situation is taking place. Though, you might be able to spot mineral deposits on faucet heads or when you’re draining your hot water tank.

Reduced Lifespan of Appliances

Homes that have extremely hard water can see a shortened lifespan for their appliances by as much as fifty percent. Things like washing machines and dishwashers aren’t cheap, and it can be costly to replace them every five to six years. If you’re wondering if you have extremely hard water in your home, check your dishes when you’re taking them out of your dishwasher. If they have a slight film on them that has a white or milky color, then you’re probably dealing with high concentrations of mineral deposits.

Reduced Water Pressure

Sediment and minerals such as calcium and magnesium can leave a residue in your pipes that will harden over time. An obstruction can occur, dramatically reducing your water pressure. The change will usually be gradual.

Soap scum is a white residue that can appear on any surface in your home that is exposed to hard water. This is one of the effects of hard water that can make cleaning a difficult process.


Hard water has the potential to leave stains on your clothing, sheets, towels, etc. Not only can these calcium and magnesium ions make your items unattractive, but it can also make them feel rough to the touch.

Close-up of faucet with limescale, white chalky deposit and stains. Formed on the plumbing system by a combination of soap residues and hard water.

Hard Water and Your Health

Dry Skin

If you’re prone to dry skin or eczema, hard water can make your condition worse. Not only does it dry out the skin, but hard water can also make it harder to rinse away any soap or products that you’re using. That residue can be very irritating.

Hair Damage

Hard water can weaken the strands of your hair as well as the follicles. Your hair will be more prone to breakage, and it may appear very frizzy or dry.

Increased Risk of Kidney Stones

While there are a number of ways that kidney stones can form, your water quality may be to blame. There are a number of studies which have shown a relationship between hard water and the development of kidney stones and other health problems.

Digestive Issues

Consuming hard water on a regular basis can greatly impact your GI health. Exposing yourself to high levels of calcium and magnesium can lead to issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal discomfort.

Staining of Teeth

Hard water has the potential to stain your teeth, making them appear yellow. Typically, it would take very hard water to stain your teeth, and this would take quite a bit of time. While the calcium in hard water may actually help strengthen your teeth, hard water is also very abrasive. This quality could result in a breakdown of the enamel on your teeth.

Newer dishwasher being repaired again due to the effects of hard water-dishwasher is open, tools out on the floor

If your area is known to have hard water, you don’t have to simply deal with this problem. There are products called water softeners, which can hold onto hard water minerals, so they don’t pass through the pipes in your home. If you would like to learn more about this system, reach out to Kelleher at your convenience. We can also help determine if you have signs of hard water that should be further investigated. For over four decades, KELLEHER has been building a reputation in the Richmond area for installing and maintaining high-quality home comfort systems. Let our family help your family with your home comfort needs.