Slurry pulled from a blocked toilet tank

It is no secret that we have hard water in Phoenix.  In fact, we have some of the hardest water in the country, and it is evident on our shower doors, our glass dishes, our plumbing fixtures and that hardtoclean crud on our shower heads.  Hard water is hard on our plumbing it isn’t called hard water for no reason.  Hard water is also hard on our appliances,  and it can shorten the lifespan of our water heaters, our dishwashers, and our washing machines.  

Robins Plumbing, Inc. has years of experience in dealing with and resolving hard water issues in the Phoenix area. If your water is showing signs of hard water buildup, contact our team and we’ll diagnose the problem for you and suggest any potential fixes for it.

How Hard Water Affects Your Home

Hard water can have unwanted effects on your plumbing system. Since most of your plumbing is behinds walls, it can be difficult to detect hard water issues. One symptom of hard water is that shower heads and faucets have a buildup on them that is white and/or green in color.  This buildup can be incredibly unsightly, and it is annoyingly difficult to remove.  This build up can damage the finish on your fixtures and reduce the flow of your faucets and shower valves, as well as cause them to spray in the wrong direction.

Does your skin always feel dry after stepping out of the shower? Dry skin can actually be a symptom of hard water.  Hard water can make it difficult to remove soap film from you skin leaving a residue that leaves your skin feeling dry. Hard water can also affect your laundry, forcing you to use more detergent to clean your clothes.

Spotty shower doors are a pesky side effect of hard water.  Hard water spots, left unchecked, can etch shower doors and cause permanent damage, requiring them to be replaced. It can even cause uncleanable stains on your dishes due to buildup on your dishwasher’s parts.

Hard water also builds up inside water heaters, dramatically shortening the lifespan of your water heater and the plumbing fixtures connected to them.

What Are Your Options When It Comes To Softening Water?

One of the most traditional models that you are probably already aware of is salt water softener.  Salt water softeners have been around for decades, and they have always been a very popular choice for homeowners.  Salt softeners alleviate the symptoms of buildup in your water by using salt to soften and break apart the minerals that cause the buildupSalt water softeners implement a media canister holding a special media that removes most minerals from your water. There are actually two canisters one is for salt, and the other is for the media that functions as the mineral filter.  

When the screen on the media canister breaks, what you’re left with is a home full of media in the water lines.  This media goes to every plumbing fixture that gets turned on while the media tank is broken.  The following photos represent the media having filled the toilets, all of the faucets, and even the hose spigots outside of the house.

Water softener residue in a toilet bowl - Robins Plumbing, Inc. Water softener residue in a toilet - Robins Plumbing, Inc.
Water softener residue in a toilet - Robins Plumbing, Inc. Water softener residue in a man's hand - Robins Plumbing, Inc.

All of the plumbing fixtures, including shower valves, get contaminated with the media from within the storage tank.  

What Happens If Your Salt Water Softener Breaks Down?

When a plumbing system is filled with this salt softener media, the only thing that can be done is to flush the entire system.  Every single faucet, toilet and water line has to be flushed clean of this debris.  This process can take several trips, as the media loosens from 90 degree fittings and other compact areas that the media has built up in.  Sometimes the media has filled plumbing components so completely that the components themselves have to be replaced!  This is often the case for the inside parts of the toilets and even your shower cartridges and faucet cartridges.  

Are There Warning Signs That A Salt Water Softener Is Going To Break?

I have bad news for you: there are no warning signs or indications that you can watch for to prevent your plumbingI system from being contaminated with a water softener’s media.  It happens on new units, it happens on older units, and there aren’t any warning signs that it is going to happen.

What To Do If You See Debris In Your Water Line

If you see anything odd in your water, such as the media from a water softener, the first thing to do is turn off the plumbing fixture that you’re using.  We recommend that you also turn off the water to your home so no one uses any other fixtures.  By not using your water lines, you will limit the contamination as much as possible.  Just like putting someone into a quarantine when they are sick, quarantining your plumbing can dramatically reduce the cost and damage from the media or other debris infiltrating your system.

If you suspect your salt water softener’s media canister has broken, immediately contact our team to come out and assess your water quality. We’ll find out what the contaminant is so we can get your home and life back up and running as quickly as possible.

If Hard Water Is Affecting Your Home, Call Robins Plumbing, Inc.

Is hard water damaging your pipes? Give Robins Plumbing, Inc. a call! We can help you with the plumbing problems you can’t handle yourself.  As a plumber with 15 years of experience in the Phoenix area, we can resolve any plumbing-related issue with professionalism and courtesy.  In addition to tankless water heater advice, sales and installation, we can also help you with commercial and residential drain cleaning, sewer camera inspection, and faucet repair.

Contact Robins Plumbing Inc. today!