Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services Blog & Media

RYCO Plumbing likes to connect with you the customer. We want you to be plumbing knowledgeable so you know what we're talking about. An educated consumer is our best customer.

You've Read The Blog, Now See The Video

A few weeks ago I posted a blog titled "Is Water Softening A Scam?". While many people on social media enjoyed reading the post, we thought a video might further drive home our point. 

Not having a water softener does not clog your pipes. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Is Water Softening A Scam?

The Real Truth About Hard Water

Many water softening sales people sell you based on fear. They want you to believe that over time, a home without proper water conditioning will have restrictive buildup in the pipes that will lead to eventual failure. They want you to believe this because it's easy to sell someone who's afraid. See the calcified pipe below? That is what they want you to believe is happening in your pipes if you  don't have a water softener installed. We're about to bust that myth with hard evidence.

What they want you to believe.

What they want you to believe.

What is hard water? What is soft water? And why the heck does it matter?

These are the most common questions homeowners ask themselves when the topic of water softening gets brought up, and you’d think the answers would be simple enough to find, but they’re not.

Advertisers will tell you one thing about hard water. Plumbers will tell you another. And your neighbor will disagree with them both.

Plenty of misconceptions about hard water have developed, making the truth difficult to come by.

Here are a few common misconceptions of hard water you don’t have to be fooled by anymore.

Hard Water Clogs Pipes

This is the one advertisers really stress. They claim that the minerals in your water like calcium and magnesium can build up over time and clog your pipes. Without softening your water, you’re damaging your entire piping system.

This just isn’t true . . . at least not anymore. Between the 1940s and 1970s most homes used steel (galvanized) pipes. Minerals can stick to steel pipes, causing blockage.

If your home was built after 1975, or if your home has been re-piped, you’re good to go. The copper pipes used today don’t accumulate minerals like steel pipes.

Just the other day, we removed a 40-year-old copper pipe to fix a pinhole leak and found the line completely free of corrosion.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

Minerals Are Contaminants

Many homeowners are being tricked into thinking that the minerals in water are endangering the health of their families.

In reality, minerals aren’t contaminants at all. They’re nutrients. They’re natural, and they’re okay to consume.

Sometimes we forget there was life before in-home water purifiers that get rid of all these minerals. Anyone who has ever drank from a well can back me up in saying how much better it tastes than the even purest tap water—minerals and all.

A study by the World Health Organization shows that consuming hard water nutrients like calcium and magnesium can be good for your health.

Water Softener Filters Water

Similar to the last point, water softeners don’t filter your water.

Dirty, chlorinated tap water goes into your water softener, and it comes out as dirty, chlorinated, salty water. It may taste a little better to you, but it’s still dirty, and there still needs to be a filtration process to make the water safe.

Don’t be convinced that your water softener is a multi-use piece of equipment. It removes the magnesium and calcium ions. That’s it.

High quality water filters are still to thank for removing those nasty chemicals and contaminants in your drinking water.

Hard Water Ruins Clothing

When you wash your clothing, calcium and mineral deposits do stay in the fabric and may cause them to wear a little faster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Hard water is not the only culprit. You’ve got an entire team working against your to fade your clothing.

Chlorine does plenty of damage too, and as we just discussed, water softeners don’t filter chlorine. They don’t filter dirt either, which can also get trapped in the fabric.

Combating these issues can be as easy as choosing detergent-based products for your laundry rather than soap-based products. Detergent-based products work much better in hard water.

If you’re still worried, you can also add water softener to your laundry to get rid of those minerals. Just remember that the minerals aren’t the only problem.

Final Thoughts

Be careful when researching information on water softening and always consider the source. Plenty of businesses have agendas and will twist facts to make you believe that their products are more necessary than they really are.

Knowing the truth about hard water can help you sift through all the misconceptions and make sound decisions about softening your water.

What other misconceptions have you heard about hard water?

Share them with us in the comments!

Preventing Plumbing Issues Before They Become Expensive Problems

Drain Cleaning: How you cause your slow drain problems.

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No one likes to waste money, but so often, when it comes to household plumbing issues, people do. They pay good money to have professionals unclog pipes and clean up other issues, only to continue to do the things that caused the problems in the first place.

Recurring issues aren’t just annoying; they’re also expensive. After the professionals leave, it’s up to you to maintain the work you hired them to do. Otherwise, you might be seeing them around more often than you’d like.

Here are some of the most common household plumbing issues and how to prevent them.

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Slow-Draining Toilets

If your toilet isn’t draining as quickly as it should, it’s probably because of a partially blocked drain. The best and easiest way to prevent this blockage is to be conscious of what you’re putting into your toilet.

The only materials that should be flushed are human waste and toilet paper. It’s a common misconception that smaller items like floss, hair and medication can be flushed without consequence, but these little things add up.

Here are some other materials you should definitely avoid flushing:



Tissues
Wipes

Napkins

Paper Towel
s
Diapers

Backed-Up Shower Drains

It doesn’t take much for a shower drain to get backed up, and it’s always a hassle to take care of. Fortunately, preventing this type of issue is actually pretty easy.

Investing a few dollars to buy a small hair catcher that fits into the opening of your drain is only a small price to pay to keep your drain clean. Yes, it’s a little gross to empty, but that little effort can save you big bucks in the long run.

If your drain is already a little backed up, you can loosen the gunk by flushing your pipes with a gallon of boiling water. After you pour the water into the drain, run regular water for about five minutes afterward. Doing so continues to help push out the buildup.

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Clogged Kitchen Sinks

Similar to your toilet, you have to be conscious of what you’re putting down your kitchen sink. Take note of the items mentioned above. If they shouldn’t go down your toilet, they definitely shouldn’t go down your sink. 

Scraps of food and other solid materials tend to accumulate in the elbow pipe. While some food might make its way past the elbow, it’s best not to put anything solid down there.

Using sink traps or sink screens is the best way to keep excess food from going down your drain. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Cleaning an elbow pipe is no quick task. 

Here are some things you should keep from going down the drain:

Fats
Oils
Grease
Coffee grounds

Unforeseen Circumstances

Of course, not every situation is preventable. Keep this in mind. If a storm ruins your pool or if tree roots keep plugging up your sewer line, it’s neither the professional’s fault nor your fault that an issue has arisen. No one is liable—only Mother Nature. 

Serious plumbing problems don’t typically appear over night. They happen gradually, which means you have every opportunity to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Being conscious of what you’re putting into your drain and investing in a few cheap, drain-protecting devices is all you need to prevent common plumbing issues from burning a hole in your wallet.