Closeup of a running faucet

How to Prevent Calcium Buildup on Your Faucet

Calcium buildup can appear on your faucets and showerheads as white deposits that obstruct the water flow. It’s fairly easy to clean these up using the right chemicals. By doing so, you’re bound to see an immediate change in water flow. 

However, the problem of calcium buildup goes deeper into your plumbing system and cause serious hassle further down the line. Moreover, various health issues are connected to this kind of water. In this article, we will demystify calcium buildups and talk about the best way to prevent them. 

Let’s get started!

Close up of the tip of a faucet with calcium buildup on it

What Are the Signs That There is Calcium Buildup on My Faucet? 

The very first thing you’ll notice is that your faucet (or any similar fixture) would have weakened water pressure. It may also look as if one side of the faucet is releasing more water than the other resulting in a somewhat asymmetrical flow of water. This is because calcium buildup can plug up certain parts of the faucet’s tip or showerhead while leaving other parts unobstructed for the time being. 

Upon a closer look, you might get a glimpse of the white deposits which is mostly made of calcium bicarbonate. If you unscrew the tip of your faucet or showerhead, you will see more of the buildup from inside. 

Why Does Calcium Build Up On Faucets? – And What About Pipes?

Calcium buildup, also known as limescale, is the white chalky deposits that stay stuck to the faucet or showerhead. This forms on plumbing fixtures due to the presence of calcium carbonate or calcium bicarbonate in hard water. This is common in water fixtures (and pipes) through which hard water has flowed for some time. 

Calcium buildup on faucets or showerheads is not too daunting. All it takes are acidic chemicals like white vinegar or muriatic acid to remove the calcium buildup. However, if you plan to do this, please be very careful not to handle strong acids (e.g. muriatic acid) directly as this can burn the skin. 

The real cause for concern for most homeowners is not these external buildups – rather, it is knowing that the pipes would surely have it as well. In such a predicament, acid cannot help because these can cause damage to the pipes. So over time, calcium builds up layer by layer, eventually reducing the diameter of the pipes. 

What are the Signs That I Have Calcium Buildup on My Pipes as Well?

If there is calcium buildup on your faucets or showerheads, then surely there is a level of buildup on the pipes too. Certain types of pipes like copper, PVC, and PEX are more resistant to buildup from hard water but over time, these pipes will get clogged. It really is an unseen enemy but you can look for external signs, such as:

  • Decreased water pressure
  • Water taking unusually long to heat up
  • The pipe leaking out of nowhere

If you are experiencing any of the above, we suggest getting in touch with an expert plumber as soon as can be – because what may start out as decreased water pressure or mild leak can quickly escalate into a burst pipe. Moreover, an expert will be able to guide you through your next steps towards a solution that will prevent future problems regarding calcium buildup. We’re talking about water softeners. 

What are Water Softeners?

Water softeners are devices that are designed to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium from hard water. There are three main types of water softeners:

1. Salt-free water softeners 

This kind of water softener makes use of filters. This is preferred by many because no chemicals like salt or potassium are required to have it running. However, this kind of water softener is not recommended for hard water with a high mineral concentration.  

2. Ion-exchange water softeners 

This kind of water softener operates by exchanging the ions (minerals) in the hard water with sodium or potassium. The downside, however, is that the resulting water will have high levels of sodium or potassium which is not recommended for drinking. 

3. Reverse-osmosis softeners 

This kind of water softener makes use of a semi-permeable membrane to remove the minerals in hard water. It can remove up to 98% of the impurities without the use of chemicals.  

Image of a reverse osmosis water softener system

Is Getting a Water Softener Worth It?

Water softeners are an investment. And therefore, you need to be able to see the full spectrum of benefits for you to weigh if it’s a worthy investment or not. 

The Plumbing Benefits 

Water softeners are the only way to prevent calcium buildup on your faucets and other similar water fixtures. But this benefit is truly only the tip of the iceberg. After all, using acid once in a while to clean faucets and showerheads is not all that bad. 

The real benefit of having a water softener system is that your pipes will be safe from sheets and sheets of calcium depositing around its inner surface. You will be able to ensure steady water pressure over the years and have increased efficiency for water heating. You will also dodge expensive pipe maintenance as well as the water damage costs from burst pipes. 

Moreover, appliances like dishwashers and washing machines will also have a longer lifespan when hard water is taken out of the picture. 

The Health Benefits 

More than the benefits to your plumbing, having the right water softener will benefit your health. Firstly, hard water is never advisable to drink. It has various negative impacts on health – such as diabetes, neural diseases, reproductive dysfunction, renal dysfunction, and so on. Moreover, hard water can be harsh on the skin and hair. 

Who Can Help Me With Installing the Right Water Softener?

There are various factors to consider when choosing a water softener for your home or establishment. These factors include the precise hardness of the water, your average water consumption, and the appliances that are connected to your water supply. By enlisting the help of an expert plumber, you will have the system up and running in no time. 

1st Rooter Plumbing is a leading provider of various plumbing services. The solutions we give are durable, reliable, and long-lasting. We can help with residential plumbing, commercial plumbing, and even 24/7 emergency plumbing. Whatever plumbing needs you have, we got you covered. Contact us today!