Should You Care About Water Quality in Your Home?

Clear water being poured into a drinking glass - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

Water quality problems affect homeowners in multiple ways. Plumbing, plumbing fixtures, and household chores are all the victims of low quality water. The damages done by low quality water spans across your home and causes preventable problems that increase in frequency.

Chronic water problems in Indianapolis, Indiana hurt homeowners, but Mr. Plumber helps shed light on what causes these issues. We cover what makes water bad in the first place and how it affects your home. From plumbing to laundry, water is crucial. Learn why it’s so important to keep the quality high.

What Makes Water Quality Bad?

The water quality depends on a few key factors. Homeowners don’t always know when their water is low quality because most water appears normal to the naked eye. Most of the time, low quality water looks the same as high quality water. In extreme circumstances, low quality water appears cloudy or colored. Additionally, particles float around in low quality water. 

Most problems occur because of the hardness of the water. Hard water refers to water with high concentrations of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. The hardness of water depends on the location and on how an area treats the city’s water. Some places perform more water treatments than others, which lowers the concentration of calcium and magnesium. Although, places without these treatments keep those minerals in the water as do well systems in homes without water treatment systems. 

Other impurities or contaminates lower the quality of your water. These impurities usually affect well water more than city water, but it’s important for all homeowners to test their water from time to time. There are water analysis tests given by professional plumbers and at-home tests for homeowners. 

Water Quality & Your Plumbing 

Your plumbing system suffers from poor water quality the most. All aspects of your home are hurt by bad water, but the plumbing receives the brunt of it because the water is always somewhere in the system. This means your plumbing has no reprieve from the poor quality of the water. You turn appliances off, but your pipes, water heater, and other plumbing units are almost always on.

These are the consequences of low quality water on your plumbing system. 

  • Cuts efficiency. When water is low quality, the efficiency of your plumbing depletes. Mineral buildup within plumbing lines block water flow. This occurs because the system works harder to push the low quality water through the plumbing. When it does this, it uses more water and power. Not only does this raise your water and utility bills, but it also negatively impacts the environment. Too much water usage depletes the city’s water supply, which means less water is available in times of crisis. 
  • Clogs. Clogs are more frequent when water quality falls below the standard. When high concentrations of minerals are present in the water, the minerals stick to pipes, water heaters, sump pumps, and more. Over time, the deposits become so large they clog the system. 
  • Bacterial growth. Another risk stems from bacterial growth. Low quality water is more prone to bacterial growth than high quality water. Bacteria grows in stagnant water with little to no filtration or sanitation measures in place. The bacteria make the water smell and potentially leaves stains on your fixtures. 
  • Mold and mildew. Like bacteria, mold and mildew both grow in stagnant water, but also need darkness and warmth. Places like your water heater are perfect incubators for mold and mildew for this reason. When the water quality is low, mold and mildew are more likely to grow. 
  • Deterioration. Lastly, pipes deteriorate after long-term exposure to low quality water. Sometimes, the pH of the water becomes too basic or acidic. Over time, the acidic or basic water corrodes the pipes. Pipe leaks and bursts are more likely when this happens. Of course, this leads to expensive repairs and replacements.

Water Quality & Plumbing Fixtures

Poor quality water also impacts your plumbing fixtures. This includes sinks, toilets, showers, faucets, bathtubs, and other water appliances. Washers and dishwashers also fall into this category. If the water quality damages the plumbing system, the same fate befalls the fixtures. These are the most common problems associated with low quality water.  

  • Stains. Water stains are common occurrences when the water quality lowers. A number of causes lead to stains, but almost all relate to the water itself. Poor quality water, especially water with high concentrations of iron or manganese, leaves brown, red, or even black stains over time. 
  • Clogs. Like with the plumbing, clogs occur from low quality water in the fixtures because of mineral deposits. Drains, faucets, and toilets are all more prone to clogs when the water quality is low. Not only does this impact the longevity of those fixtures, it’s also hard to keep up with clogs when they arise every week or so. 
  • Water flow. Water flow lessens because of mineral deposits as well. The water pressure becomes an issue when minerals collect on the faucet itself. Even if you don’t have a clog farther down the line, deposits on the faucet block the water flow. 
  • Damage to water control. Damage also occurs to the handles on sinks, showers, and tubs. This happens either because of mineral deposits around the handles, or because the water deteriorates the metal. Handles are hard to turn on and off in these cases, which affects your ability to use sinks and other fixtures. 
  • Short lifespan. The water has the ability to shorten the lifespan of any plumbing fixture in your home. After a while, the constant barrage of low quality water causes fixtures to break. This happens slowly. However, with chronic problems, any water fixture loses its ability to function faster than normal. 
  • Inefficiency. Again, when the water is poor quality, it impacts efficiency. Fixtures use more water when its poor quality because the fixtures strain to push out the water because of clogs. With more water usage, water and utilities bills increase and the negative impact on the environment grows. 

Water Quality & Chores

The quality of your water even affects your daily household chores. To wash your dishes, do your laundry, and mop the floors, you need high quality water to ensure the jobs are done correctly the first time. With low quality water, chores are harder to complete, take more time, and waste your supplies. 

 

  • More soap. Because hard water has higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium, soaps and detergents don’t lather well. You need to use more detergent in your laundry, more dish liquid for your dishes, and more body wash in the shower. With so much excess soap usage, you have to buy these products more frequently. You waste the products and your money when the water is poor quality. 
  • Hot water. To combat the lack of lather with hard water, homeowners need to crank up the heat. Overuse of hot water deteriorates your appliances and plumbing faster than cold water. Cold water does lather soap, but when it has too many minerals in it, it doesn’t. As a result, homeowners have to use hot water in excess to lather the soap enough to clean their dishes and clothing. It also takes more energy to warm water, which adds to your utility and water bills.
  • Spotty dishes. Mineral deposits collect on glasses, plates, and other dishes with low quality water. If you wash the dishes by hand, or use a dishwasher, you experience white spots or rings on your dishes when there are too many minerals in the water. These are particularly hard to remove if your soap doesn’t lather as well.
  • Dull and weak clothing. Clothes wear out and dull faster in poor quality water. After one or two washes, clothing starts to fade and seams fray. Most fabrics deteriorate fast in poor quality water, so you likely notice more rips, holes, and other breaks in your clothing if your water quality is low.
  • Still dirty. In the same vein, dishes and clothes are still dirty after they leave dishwashers and washers. This goes along with the soap and detergent issue. If the soap doesn’t lather, it doesn’t wash your clothes. Instead, soap residue adds to the dirtiness of your clothing or dishes. Plus, when you put your clothes through the washer multiple times, they break and lose color faster.
  • Scratchy fabrics. Almost all fabrics lose their softness in hard water. In particular, towels develop a rough texture. Fleece also loses its softness and starts to feel beady. 
  • Skin and hair irritation. Finally, your skin faces irritation. Scratchy fabrics irritate skin, but the water itself also dries you out. Hard water removes your skin’s natural oils. This makes it dry and itchy. Some even suffer from rashes if they have sensitive skin. Hair also becomes drier and duller with poor quality water. 

 

Mr. Plumber: Your Solution to Water Stains and Water Smells

The importance of water quality becomes clear when homeowners take the above into consideration. Luckily, there are ways to improve your water quality. Filters, water treatments, and water softeners all help improve the quality of your water. Remember to test your water semi-frequently—especially if you use well water—to ensure your water’s high quality.

Mr. Plumber in Indianapolis, Indiana wants to help homeowners improve the water in their homes. For more information on our water quality services, give us a call today. We perform water checks to determine the quality of your water.

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