Hard water is notorious for leaving a calcified residue around faucets, shower heads and drain covers. This residue usually has a light-colored “rusty” or “flaky” appearance, and is quite noticeable on the outside of these and other plumbing devices around the home. But calcium deposits can also build up within pipes and on the inside of drains, which can not only diminish water flow rates, but can damage pipes and cause hot water to run cold.
What Can the Homeowner Do?
If any of these circumstances should arise, there are ways for the homeowner to address calcium buildup problems before beginning a search for plumbing contractors. To remove calcified residue from “detachable” fixtures such as shower heads, faucet tips and drain covers, place them in a container of white vinegar, or a commercial lime and calcium remover such as CLR, and let them soak for a few hours.
These solutions can also be used for drain cleaning and to flush your water pipes if calcium deposit buildup is suspected within your plumbing. Of course always carefully follow the instructions whenever commercial chemical-based cleaning products are used; these products are often required to be diluted with a certain percentage of water. Also, be sure to keep any cleaning solutions away from reservoirs reserved for drinking water.
To prevent future calcium and mineral deposit buildup problems, long-term solutions are available. These include having a water-softening or water filtration system installed in your home. Although these systems are not cheap, they can save you maintenance headaches and potentially costly repairs down the road. These can be purchased at your local hardware store or through a plumbing supply outlet. If you are not comfortable with even minor do-it-yourself plumbing repairs, maintenance or the installation of plumbing devices, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional.
Written and published by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.