If you notice a white chalky buildup on your faucets—it’s not dried toothpaste. It is most likely calcium build up from hard water. Water is classified as hard when it contains high amounts of minerals. In most cases hard water isn’t hazardous to human health, however, it can be rough on appliances, plumbing, fabrics, and skin. If that white chalky substance has a yellow tint, you may also have a lot of iron in the water as well. Iron can stain white appliances like sinks, toilets, tubs, laundry machines, and dishwashers. It also makes all your nice white socks take on a yellow hue.
There are two ways to approach hardwater issues: Removal and prevention.
How to Remove Calcium Buildup on Faucets.
There are plenty of products on the market that were created to specifically remove calcium buildup caused by dissolved calcium salts (calcium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate) and limescale. These products work, but they are often high in chemicals. When you use store bought cleaners you should wear rubber gloves. If you have asthma, you should also consider wearing a mask to avoid breathing in the fumes.
There is a more natural and healthy way to tackle the buildup or scare around your faucets and drains, and you most likely have everything you need right at home:
- White vinegar
- Something to wipe with (paper towels or rags)
- Sandwich sized plastic bags
- Rubber bands
- Something to scrub with (sponge, textured cloth, magic eraser)
To address limescale or hard water buildup, simply add some vinegar to the sandwich sized plastic bag and using the rubber bands secure it over the faucet or shower head. You want to make sure the faucet head and shower head are covered in vinegar. This will help break up the buildup on aerators that may be clogging the faucets. For drains or areas of the faucet that can’t be reached via the sandwich bag, soak a rag or paper towel in the vinegar and let it sit on those areas. If needed, you can secure those rags with rubber bands as well. Let the vinegar sit for an hour (or even overnight), and then remove the plastic bag and rags, and scrub off the buildup (this should be easy). Using a clean wet rag, wipe down the treated areas and then dry. That’s it! Hard water buildup removed with no harsh chemicals or fumes.
How to Prevent Calcium Buildup in Pipes and Faucets.
Calcium buildup is not only unattractive, it is also hard on plumbing and appliances. It can clog and destroy pipes. Hard water is particularly hard on hot water heaters, and appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines. Cleaning your faucets and showerheads is easy, but cleaning your hot water heater and appliances is a bit more complicated and takes more time. And depending on how bad the problem is, you may need to clean some of these appliances monthly in order to help them last.
The best way to prevent calcium buildup in your home is to install a water softener. Water softeners specifically address calcium and magnesium in your water by filtering the water through salts and ion-exchanged resins. Water softeners do require regular maintenance, but they protect the rest of your home from hard water.
If there are other contaminants in the water, like iron, you will need a water filtration system. There are many different types of water filtration systems, but essentially, they filter out a variety of additional contaminates like iron, fluoride, chlorination, bacteria and more. Water filtration systems are more expensive to install but require less maintenance.
A water test is the first step you should take to determine the right solution for your water problems. Simply give us a call, or make sure to ask us to take a water sample the next time we are there to service your home. Reichelt plumbing has years of experience in water softener installations and repairs. We will provide the best solution for your problem and budget!