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Hard Water and Your Appliances

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on

espresso machine making cup of coffee against wooden backsplash

People often say that hard water is bad for you, and that’s true. It exacerbates skin conditions and leaves soap on your clothes when you wash them. What they often don’t explain is it is indirectly bad for you by being bad for your appliances. After all, your hot water heater is critical for washing and cooking, and if it struggles to heat water properly, you struggle to get through your day. There are a couple of ways that hard water injures your appliances.

Decreases Appliance Efficiency

The Water Quality Research Foundation tested the effects of hard water on appliances and found some serious results. When gas storage water heaters were run on unsoftened water for 2 years, their efficiency dropped from 70.4 percent to 67.4 percent. In similar circumstances, instantaneous water heaters went from being 80 percent efficient to 72 percent efficient. Low-flow showerheads were tested as well, and were found to clog and lose efficiency after a mere 3,203 gallons. These appliances, when run on softened water, remained efficient and clear for much longer.

Increases Carbon Footprint

This drop in efficiency increases how much energy the machine requires for each run, which in turn means that a machine is using more natural gas over its lifetime and has a larger carbon footprint. For instance, a storage-type water heater that used softened water had a 14.8 percent smaller carbon footprint than one that used hard water. Instantaneous water heaters had a 4.4 percent smaller carbon footprint when they used softened water.

Increases Frequency of Required De-Liming

The big culprit in all of this is often limescale build-up. Minerals in hard water cause scale to develop inside appliances that use it, which then has to be scrubbed away to unclog pipes and make them more efficient. How often you have to de-lime them in order to bring them back to their peak work condition will depend on if you use hard water. For instance, storage water heaters that used hard water collected 1.6 pounds of scale in a year on average, whereas a storage water heater that used softened water gathered 0.01 pounds a year. Depending on how hard your water is and what type of appliance you are using, you could need to de-lime as often as once every 1.4 years to once every 8 years when you have hard water.

Increases Cost of Appliance Life Span

Hard water causes your appliances to cost more. Its components wear down faster so you have to buy a replacement sooner, and you have to spend more on making it work. Throw in that you are spending more on soap if it’s a dishwasher or a washing machine, and you will be spending a lot more. How much more will depend on how hard your water is and what type of machine you are talking about. For instance, instantaneous gas water heaters save 5.4 percent on their life cycle energy costs regardless of how hard the water is. Storage gas water heaters lost 3.1 percent life cycle energy costs when their water was rated 5 grains per gallons for water hardness, but they lost 24.2 percent when the water was rated 30 grains per gallons.

Protect Your Appliances with a Water Softener

With so many problems coming from using hard water in your appliances, it can be a good investment in the long run to get a water softener installed in your home. It will remove the calcium and magnesium from your water before it gets into your water heater or washing machine.

PB Water Softening knows that you want your appliances to live long and prosper, and they specialize in water softener systems. If you want to know more about getting a water softener and how you can benefit from getting one, contact us.



Wyckoff NJ

537 Goffle Rd
Wyckoff, 07481


Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Newfoundland NJ

2850 Route 23 North
Newfoundland, 07435


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Wayne NJ

2025 Suite B, Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
This office isn’t open on Saturday as it is not a retail location.