I was at a home inspection in Pottstown last week for James, a homeowner that was getting ready to sell his home that he bought 18 years ago as a new construction.

Jim has maintained his home quite well over the years but had a reoccuring issue he wanted my opinion on.  He said that he has had to replace his water heater every 4 to 5 years when he knows they should last longer.

A gas water heater lasts around 10 years and an electric water heater is around 15 years.

I suspected this homeowner was having hard water issues in the home.

I could see limescale on a number of his fixtures and recommended to have  his water tested.

It’s inexpensive to test.  I told him to check with the local Home Depot as I heard they give out free water test kits.

Hard water is a water which has a high mineral content.  Two of the minerals that are particularly problematic are calcium and magnesium.  These minerals bind together to form scales (mineral deposits) which are difficult to remove. Scale sticks to the interior of pipes, household appliances, and other surfaces.

A lot of homeowners don’t realize how rough hard water is on appliances, particularly dishwashers, water heaters and washing machines.  Once the loose minerals start clinging to the internal parts of these appliances, they being to falter and eventually fail.  Hot water makes the minerals leach out of the hard water more quickly.  The mineral deposits can coat the heating element in the water heater and make it less effective, driving up the power bill until it’s finally rendered useless and has to be replaced.

But no worries!!!  If you have hard water, you can install a water softener which will remove calcium and magnesium so the water no longer damageing fixtures and appliances.