Do your plumbing fixtures seem like they need cleaning all too often? If you’re finding a white or green chalky coating on your faucets and shower heads, you may have a problem with limescale — mineral-rich deposits that look unsightly and wreak havoc on your pipes and fixtures from the inside out.
Causes of Limescale
The limescale you see in and on your household plumbing fixtures is a natural byproduct of clean water with an above-average concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron. This type of water is commonly known as hard water.
Hard water is safe to drink and shower with, but there are a number of reasons you might not want to. The mineral deposits tend to give the water an unpleasant taste, and hard water makes it more difficult to lather and rinse away soap. That means your skin may get dry and itchy from bathing in it, your clothes may be dingy and scratchy after going through the laundry and your dishes may have water spots.
And that’s not to mention the hard-to-clean buildup on your faucets, shower heads and around pipe joints. Left unchecked, this buildup can cause stubborn clogs.
Dissolving Your Problem
The mineral content in this buildup makes it resilient, and you’ll have a hard time scrubbing it away with just a wet rag. The preferred way to clean limescale is to weaken and dissolve it using a mild acidic solution.
Common household vinegar is extremely effective for this task. If you can remove your affected shower heads, faucets and other fixtures, submerge them in a bucket of vinegar for at least an hour. When you pull them out, any remaining limescale should flake right off after a vigorous scrubbing with an old toothbrush. This is the ideal method because it allows you to dissolve limescale inside and out.
When removal of your fixtures is difficult or impossible, you may need to get creative to let the vinegar do its work. Try pouring some vinegar in a plastic bag and wrapping it around your faucets or shower heads, securing it at the top with rubber bands or a zip-tie. For exposed pipes with limescale around its joints, wrap a vinegar-soaked rag around the affected area and secure it with string.
If vinegar isn’t getting the job done, you can always step up to a chemical cleaning solution — just be sure to look for one formulated specifically for calcium, lime and rust. Keep in mind that these solutions aren’t as gentle as household vinegar, so you’ll want to avoid exposure to your skin and use caution when using it to clean fixtures that have metallic or delicate finishes.
An Ounce of Prevention
If limescale is a consistent problem in your home, it’s time to consider a water softening system. These systems mix sodium-based solutions into your incoming water supply to counteract the damaging effects of mineral buildup. That’s not just good news for your pipes and appliances, it also means healthier skin and cleaner clothes and dishes.
If you’re having issues with limescale build-up in your home, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help!
If you’ve noticed that your water pressure has dropped and your showers are less enjoyable or your bath takes an age to fill up, you may have water pressure issues. Here are 7 reasons why your water pressure might be low and what you can do about it.
1) Take a look at the main shut-off valve for your home. You can find the valve where the main water pipe enters your house. If the wheel is not twisted all the way open or if the level handle is not parallel to the pipe, the flow of water can be restricted.
2) Check that your water softener is working properly. A water softener that is malfunctioning can cause a sudden change or decrease in water pressure.
3) Low pressure at a singular faucet might be caused by a clogged aerator. An aerator is that little screen on the end of the faucet that can sometimes get rusted or clogged by debris. You can easily unscrew the screen from the faucet, clean it and reattach it.
4) A build-up of minerals and other sediment in your home’s plumbing can cause a reduction in water flow in older homes. Improving water flow within your home’s plumbing system could require the replacement of corroded or blocked plumbing.
5) A faulty pressure regulator could be to blame for your low water pressure. This regulator acts as a control for the water pressure coming from your service line into your home. A defective regulator can affect the water pressure throughout the home at the same time.
6) A cracked or leaking pipe within your walls or under the foundation of your home could be the culprit behind a drop in water pressure. A professional plumber can find the leak and repair it before it becomes a major issue.
7) Sediment build-up in your hot water heater can create a water pressure slowdown. Routine maintenance of your water heater by a professional to make sure all components are functioning properly can help cure your home’s low water pressure issues.
If you’re experiencing low water pressure in your home and are unsure what to do about it, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Dewar Plumbers were called by a client who was having issues with a leaking heat pump. Our plumber found that it was poorly installed less than 5 years ago. Unfortunately the best solution for the client was to upgrade the system to a Viessmann Vitocal 200-A 13kW (COP of 4.72A7/W35) heat pump combined with Vitocell 300-B 300l A-rated cylinder (standby heat loss of 1.06kW/24hr).
In order to achieve the minimum volume requirement to allow the heat pump to perform its defrost cycle and to prevent it from cycling, a Vitocell 100-E 46l wall hung buffer was used. A low loss header was used with a secondary pump, two motorised valves, and two-room stats to allow for separate control to the ground floor and first-floor heating zones.
We provided the installer with a full system design schematic for both the underfloor heating and heat pump. By doing this it made the installation and commissioning of this project simple and trouble-free. Precision Heating commissioned the installation, and both the client and installer were delighted with the end product.
When it comes to plumbing and appliances, the type of water in your area can make a world of difference to the lifespan of your products. Most of the time, our plumbers in Dublin are dealing with soft water. So, what is the difference between hard water and soft water? Read on as we discuss.
Hard Vs Soft Water
Put simply, hard water contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Water in its purest form doesn’t contain these minerals and is naturally soft. However, passing through lots of rock and ground causes the water to pick up these minerals, making it into hard water. Soft water on the other hand, contains basically no extra elements.
What are the Pros and Cons of Hard and Soft Water?
Hard water is generally better for drinking due to the minerals present, which have some health benefits. These minerals also make water taste better too, as soft water is often salty and not fit for drinking.
Whilst it’s great for drinking, hard water can be quite destructive too. It can damage laundry and make your clothes look old and dingy, cause spots on dishes, and also damage household appliances due to limescale build-up.
Soft water allows for much better cleaning as it allows soap to lather better. You’ll also find that dishes will be cleaner, clothes will be softer and your appliances will last longer if you live in a soft water area.
Is Hard Water Unhealthy or Harmful?
Whist the minerals in hard water leave behind scale, requiring repeated cleaning and leading to deposit build up, hard water is not harmful to your health if consumed. As mentioned previously however, it can be damaging to your appliances if not cleaned correctly and frequently enough.
Can You Soften Hard Water?
If you live in an area with hard water, all is not lost as you can purchase water softeners to help. A water softener contains small polystyrene beads that are negatively charged, but contain traces of sodium. The calcium and magnesium present in the hard water carry positive charges, so they cling to the beads as the water passes through the tank, releasing sodium ions into the water making it softer.
So, as you can see the are some pros and cons to both hard and soft water. If you need any more advice, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be glad to assist.