We love making our home in the heart of Yolo county, but Woodland residents do have some unique water issues to look out for—namely hard water caused by heavy minerals, such as chromium-6, being found in high levels in our water supply. We know these minerals sometimes create health concerns for your family, but you may not realize they can also be dangerous to your home’s plumbing system. We recommend that anyone with concerns about their water get it tested—and Bell Brothers is happy to help. They can test the mineral content in your water supply—but do you need a test? Odds are, yes, if you live in the Central Valley.
The Hidden Problem of Pipe Scaling
While health is often the first concern, there are other reasons to get your water tested. Minerals do funny things to your plumbing. They contain magnetic properties that cause them to glom onto the iron and copper pipes in your home. Then, they build on each other, like stacking lego bricks. Over a period of time, the layer of minerals gets thicker and thicker, creating a plaque-like buildup called “pipe scaling” that damages pipes. Scaling occurs inside the pipe itself, so you won’t be able to see it. While you might notice a reduction in water coming out at the tap, odds are it will happen so gradually that you won’t be able to tell. We’ve pulled out scaled pipes in Woodland that were almost totally closed off by decades of mineral deposits.
Ultimately, this scaling causes clogs and breaks. This is especially problematic in older houses, like many of the ones we have here in town. Pipes can scale uniformly throughout a house, meaning that large sections of plumbing might need to be replaced in order to fix the problem. In addition, if the scaling is bad enough to restrict flow, it could create an unsafe situation where your hot water heater becomes overpressurized and dangerous.
How to Recognize Pipe Scaling
Like we said, it can be hard to tell if your pipes are scaling. One sign? Soap scum deposits on your shower doors that won’t clean off. This chalky deposit has nothing to do with soap. In fact, it’s the result of minerals in your water that are also slowly building up within your pipes.
You might notice small problems with your other water-using devices as well. Coffee makers and Brita-style filters might begin to fail regularly. Showerheads may clog easily—and we’ve seen aerators in Woodland sinks do the same. The cause behind all of these issues? Mineral buildup—usually irreversible, especially in water-using devices with small parts like a coffee maker.
And never discount odd smells or colors in the water. Pipe scaling will occasionally flake off into the water stream. This can color the water red or brown in sinks, while in unaerated water, like from the bathtub faucet, you might see chunks that look like paint chips appear in the water stream. This is usually a sign of advanced scaling, and it’s something that needs your attention ASAP.
Finding the Right Solution to Pipe Scaling
What’s the solution? There are several, but all will revolve around removing those minerals from your water supply before they enter your house. This is the only way to prevent scaling and mineral buildup from damaging your home, as well as your health. Water softeners are the most effective methods for removing heavy metals from water, most using salt to pull the heavy minerals out of the stream. Other methods involve magnetic fields or reverse osmosis.
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms discussed above, schedule a water test and we’ll find out whether your water is causing trouble for you or your pipes. If you live in Woodland, you’ll definitely want to have us check out your plumbing, as the area has already been determined to have hard water. Bell Brothers can help you take the first step toward fixing your water supply before it affects your home—or your health!