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Hard water is a nemesis for commercial plumbing systems. But can hard water damage a water heater? Let’s find out.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is the amount of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium dissolved in water. The higher the amount of these minerals, the higher it will rank on the hard water scale. Mineral deposits hide in the plumbing, growing slowly eventually causing clogged pipes, hoses, drains, plumbing systems, failed appliances, and even damage to your water heater. When it builds up over time, it can be almost impossible to remove.

How Do You Know if You Have It?

You can’t tell if you have hard water by looking at it. But there are some ways to know such as your

  • Hands feel itchy or dry
  • Have spots on glasses and silverware after the dishwashing cycle ends
  • Linens or clothing have mineral stains
  • Water pressure has decreased
  • Fixtures, sinks, and tiles have white residue
  • Tap water tastes odd

If you notice any of these signs, you might have hard water.

How Does Hard Water Damage Commercial Water Heaters?

Hard water is bad news for your water heater. Limescale can build up fast inside of a water heater. Scale from the minerals builds up along the tank naturally. But add heat to the tank, and it speeds up the process of dissolving the mineral into limescale.

The limescale buildup along the inside of the tank creates an insulating layer. This layer makes it difficult for heat to escape from the tank, which will eventually cause it to overheat. Overheating spikes pressure in the tank, causes leaks, damages the pressure expansion tank, and takes years off of the life of your heater. Hard water also leaves a layer of sediment across the bottom of the tank lowering its efficiency causing your utility bills to skyrocket.

Is the Tankless Water Heater Safe From Hard Water?

Tankless water heaters also suffer damage from hard water. Limescale can quickly build up in the small inlet and outlets that tankless systems use to move water through the heat exchanger when the tap is turned on. The buildup causes a drop in hot water pressure and eventually loss of hot water entirely. Unless you want to descale your tankless water heater regularly, you’ll want to eliminate hard water issues.

What Can I do About It?

If you suspect you have hard water, call a professional to test your levels. If the results indicate that you do, consider installing a water softener.

Do you need a new commercial water heater? Wallingford Sales is your trusted source in commercial plumbing supplies and water heater systems and parts. Shop our easy-to-use online catalog with all the top brands at wholesale prices.

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