How Hard Water Affects Your Commercial Plumbing

6 September 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Most homeowners know how tough it can be to deal with hard water, but it can be just as problematic in a commercial setting. When your commercial water supply contains high amounts of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, it can lead to a number of unexpected issues with your plumbing and the various appliances and equipment that rely on it.

Hard water can do more than leave behind a gradual buildup of mineral deposits inside your pipes. The following gives you an idea of what other effects hard water can have on your plumbing.

It Can Shorten the Lifespan of Your Appliances

When it comes to keep your business on track, it's important to get the most out of your appliances and other commercial equipment that rely on your plumbing system. Hard water can have a significant negative impact on your appliances' overall longevity. For instance, a dishwasher with an expected lifespan of nine years could end up reducing its life expectancy by a significant amount due to the effects of hard water.

Hard water usually impacts dishwashers, water heaters and other similar equipment by leaving mineral deposits on heating elements and other critical components. In cases of severe buildup, said equipment must work harder than before to maintain the same level of performance. This often results in severe wear and tear and eventual premature equipment failure.

It Can Result in Higher Energy Consumption

While space heating makes up the bulk of total energy use in commercial buildings, significant portions are also used for cooking, water heating and cooling. Excessive energy consumption is a common issue among appliances impacted by hard water problems. To overcome the mineral buildup and reduced heating and/or cooling efficiency, affected appliances must compensate by consuming more energy.

This loss in energy efficiency can result in significantly higher utility costs throughout the year. For businesses operating on thin margins, these costs can quickly add up.

The Resulting Residue Can Be Unsightly to Customers

No customer wants to see soap scum and mineral deposits on bathroom faucets and drains, but that's usually what you can expect to see when dealing with hard water. Your customers may notice whitish to dark brown spots accumulating on your aerators and other parts of your faucets, especially if you're using stainless steel equipment. This residue not only makes your bathroom and kitchen equipment look old before its time, but it can also be a visual turn-off for your customers.

If you operate a laundromat, your customers may notice their clothes not coming out as clean as they should be. That's because hard water also has an impact on how well soaps and detergents perform in the wash. Washing in hard water often requires more soap or detergent to achieve the same level of cleaning as with softer and properly treated water. The minerals found in hard water can also prevent soaps from dissolving properly, resulting in unwanted residue and films being left behind.

What Can Be Done About Hard Water

Tackling hard water and the resulting mineral buildup can prove difficult depending on its severity, but it's not impossible to deal with. Installing a commercial water softening system can go a long way towards alleviating most issues associated with hard water. Your commercial plumber should also perform a comprehensive inspection to identify portions of your plumbing that are severely impacted by mineral deposits.

Having your water heater, dishwashers and other appliances properly serviced on a regular basis can also reduce the impact of hard water on your commercial equipment. In some cases, you may have no other choice than to replace appliances severely impacted by hard water.