plumber inspecting a pipe

Limescale, also commonly referred to as calcium deposits, can be a significant aggravation for home and business owners who reside in areas with hard water. Arizona is known for having some of the hardest water in the United States, so you may be familiar with the issues that hard water can cause. 

These deposits of calcium can build up inside plumbing fixtures and can cause the water not to flow as freely. This can cause major plumbing issues over time. The cost of dealing with a problem after it has already become significant is much more difficult than addressing them before they become catastrophic. 

Defining Hard Water

While we have mentioned that hard water can cause calcium deposits throughout the plumbing system, it is often unclear what hard water actually is. Hard water is water with high mineral content. This is often caused by a high level of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium flowing through the pipes. 

Calcium and magnesium are carried along by water that travels through the ground and can cause a number of problems. If hard water is evaporated or heated, mineral deposits can form inside pipes and appliances. These deposits are not easy to remove and can build up over time, causing more and more damage.

Calcium Deposits in Pipes

Hard water is the most common cause of calcium deposits accumulating in pipes. Hard water travels through the pipes leaving behind solid mineral deposits inside the walls of the pipes. Eventually, this buildup reduces the interior of the pipe and restricts how much water may flow through it. 

A secondary factor contributing to calcium deposits inside pipes is temperature. Heated hard water concentrates the minerals, and they are more likely to become solid deposits inside the pipes. Hot water heaters are often damaged with calcium buildup because of this. 

Another consideration is how old the plumbing system in your home or business is. Older pipes may be less resistant to the problems caused by hard water. They have experienced more wear and tear and may be more predisposed to accumulate buildup from the calcium deposits.

Results of Calcium Deposits in Pipes

Calcium deposits, left untreated, can result in many problems for the home or business owner. Some of the problems you may expect are as follows: 

  • Diminished water flow happens when calcium deposits build up inside pipes and narrow the diameter of the pipe. This restricts the flow of water and reduces water pressure.
  • Clogs can be caused if calcium deposits go untreated. This can result in sink, toilet, and shower back-ups. 
  • Plumbing system damage can be caused by calcium deposits in plumbing fixtures like faucets and showerheads. When these deposits build up, they can cause corrosion, leaks, and other significant damage.
  • Energy costs climb when hot water heaters have calcium deposits building up inside them. This can mean the water heater has to work harder and can sometimes overheat, leading to increased energy bills.

Prevention of Calcium Deposits in Pipes

To prevent calcium deposits in pipes, you must understand that hard water is where the problem begins. There are a few steps that are effective in reducing the negative impacts of hard water on your plumbing system. Contact Plumbing by Jake for guidance about which of the prevention techniques suggest below is right for your property.

  • Employing a water-softening system can help remove the minerals that cause the buildup before they even enter your plumbing system. This is a solid preventative measure that will help you avoid the negative impacts of hard water.
  • Regularly maintaining your plumbing fixtures may help prevent calcium buildup. This can be as simple as cleaning your faucets and showerheads periodically and having your hot water heater flushed yearly.
  • Making sure your water heater temperature is set to between 120°F to 160°F can mean that the concentration of minerals in the water does not form deposits since higher temperatures cause them to form much more often.

If your pipes have extreme calcium buildup, they may need to be replaced with newer pipes. Speak to a professional with Plumbing by Jake for recommendations about how to handle a plumbing system with significant damage.

Treating Calcium Deposits in Pipes

Calcium deposits can often cause problems. There are a few methods that might be effective in treating them. Your plumbing professional can advise you about the preferred method based on how severe the buildup is and where the deposits are found.

Listed here are a few solutions that may be effective: 

  • A vinegar and water solution might effectively remove some calcium deposits from fixtures. Mix one part water and one part vinegar and add them to a spray bottle, then thoroughly soak the affected area and let the solution work its magic for several minutes before wiping the deposits away with a cloth. 
  • A citric acid solution might be effective in removing calcium deposits as well. A tablespoon of citric acid mixed with a cup of water and applied to the calcium deposit-laden area for a few minutes before wiping away can also work wonders for removing buildup.
  • There are chemical cleaners available in your local hardware store that might be effective on especially hard-to-remove calcium deposits. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful to avoid your skin and eyes. 
  • The most effective method is leaving it to the pros. The build-up may be too hard for you to reach without assistance, and a plumber will be equipped with the know-how and tools to remove these deposits without damaging your plumbing system.

Contact Plumbing by Jake 

While there are methods you can use to remove calcium deposits, the root of the problem is the hard water. To prevent a reoccurrence of the problem, you must address the source. Reach out to our professional technicians at Plumbing by Jake for advice on cleaning, maintaining, and avoiding calcium buildup.