Best Service, a leading Orange County plumbing company, wants to help homeowners prevent pipe damage that if left ignored could prove to be costly to repair.
“We live in a beautiful area, but it’s one that is unfortunately known for extremely hard water,” said Brian Vardiman, owner of Best Service. “And hard water can lead to costly pipe damage. It’s important to not only recognize the signs of hard water damage, but also to do everything you can to prevent permanent damage to your home’s plumbing.”
Best Service offers the following tips to avoid expensive pipe damage:
Look for early signs of hard water – Hard water and issues with scaling can be detected early by keeping an eye on items easily affected by the minerals that may be present in the water. A coffee maker, for example, can provide great early warning signs for hard water. If the maker is failing early in its life due to clogs and requiring multiple descaling treatments, there is a good chance that attention needs to be given to the home’s water lines. Noticing spikes in a utility bill with no notable changes in usage can serve as a good indicator that there are leaks in need of attention.
Consider a water softening system – A water softener is a system that helps lower the hardness of incoming water and therefore reduces the amount of minerals that can adhere to the inside of pipes and appliances. Purchasing or building a home in a known hard-water area is reason enough to invest in a water softener, and it is best to have it installed and in good operational condition before beginning daily life in the new home.
Install a pressure regulator – Having a pressure regulator installed is a great way to monitor possible clogs and detect any issues before they result in serious damage. As minerals from hard water or other intrusions clog pipes, they restrict water flow and increase pressure on the walls of the pipes. Setting the regulator between 50-70 psi is normal, but noticing pressure between 100 and 120 psi is a sign that something is restricting water flow and may cause damage to the pipes.
Check the landscaping relative to the water lines – In addition to taking hard water into consideration, it is worth noting the approximate distance of trees to the water lines. As pipes age, they can develop tiny cracks and holes that can allow water to begin leaking at rates less detectable by meters and bills. Tree roots, which can grow quite extensively underneath yards in search of water, will sometimes pick up on these sources and try to invade the pipes. These roots can penetrate the cracks in the pipes and begin to grow, clogging the water flow and putting more stress on the already compromised structure of the pipe. If a home is over 25 years old, the piping may be steel or clay. Steel is susceptible to corrosion, and clay is more porous. At this point in their lifespan, both of these materials will be more likely to leak and attract tree roots than modern materials such as PVC or concrete.
“Following these tips can help prevent damage to your pipes and grant advance warning should clogs already be forming,” Vardiman said. “If you’re already concerned about leaks or clogs, following up by scheduling a leak detection test might be wise. Advanced technologies like ultrasonic detection can find trouble spots more accurately and help localize any repair efforts.”