Wreck or Protect? How Water Affects Your Appliances

A guest blog article by: Indy Soft Water

We all want to get the most out of our home appliances, but one of the biggest ways to prevent repairs (outside of regular maintenance services) is something so simple, we often forget it—our water! The kind of water you use in your home goes a long way in either wrecking or protecting your water-using appliances. Without the right water systems in place, you’re making your appliances age a whole lot faster.

Tap water in Indiana is notoriously “hard.” This means that it has high levels of dissolved minerals that can damage your appliances. While these minerals are naturally-occurring (calcium and magnesium compounds get picked up from rocks during the water cycle), hard water is a real nuisance around the home.

These are some of the top symptoms of hard water:

  • Water Spots on your “clean” dishes
  • Crusty Buildup on your shower head and around your faucets
  • White Film inside your tea kettle or pots after boiling water
  • Soap Scum in your sinks or around the bathtub

Hard water leaves minerals behind when it evaporates from your dishes and bathroom fixtures. Unfortunately, it also leaves these deposits in places you can’t see—like in all in the intricate parts of your appliances. These deposits build in rock-hard layers called “lime scale.”

The inner workings of your dishwasher, laundry machine, water heater, and humidifier all fall victim to lime scale buildup when your home uses hard water. Your water heater is particularly vulnerable against hard water. Sediments and lime scale build up on the bottom of your heater and on other internal parts. With too much hard water sediment at its base, your water heater can overheat, damage its electrical parts, and basically render the system useless by reducing capacity and efficiency. Because the scale is heated first, rather than the water, your system ends up wasting energy and your water won’t get as hot as it should be. All the more reason to get preventative maintenance services scheduled!

Similar hard water problems can occur with a whole-house humidifier, too. As more and more minerals pile up on your system they’ll interfere with how well your humidifier functions by plugging the solenoid valve, that open/close device that allows water to flow. Keeping a clean humidifier—and water heater—has a lot to do with using water that’s “soft,” instead of hard water.

This is why people love soft water:

  • Spot-free dishes
  • Hair feels smoother
  • No more mineral buildup
  • Soap lathers and rinses better
  • Longer lifespan for water-using appliances
  • And the list goes on...

A lot of homeowners choose to install a water softener system because it removes the minerals in hard water and helps protect their major home appliances from getting sediment buildup. Like the name suggests, when you have a softener in place, your home’s water becomes wonderfully “soft!”

Got any questions about whether a water softener is right for you? Check out the Indy Soft Water website, send us a message, or call 31-228-9822. We’ve been your local water experts since 1964, and we’re always happy to chat!

Indy Soft Water is proud to serve the following Indiana areas: Carmel, Fishers, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

Is HVAC a Do-It-Yourself Project?

There are many things around the home that can be done by a homeowner.  We've occasionally been asked about HVAC being a "do-it-yourself" project.  Some questions we've been asked include:

  1. If I provide the furnace/air conditioner/heat pump, will you install it?  If the equipment is used, then no, we will not install it.  Someone might get a furnace from their brother's house or take an air conditioner from their rental home to install on another home or purchase a piece of equipment from Craig's List.  While the used equipment may work just fine, there are some risks to consider.  Was the equipment properly removed?  Is the equipment sized correctly for your space?  Does the equipment work?  How old is it?  If an air conditioner is not removed correctly, parts can be damaged.  The new owner of the air conditioner wouldn't know this until the air conditioner is re-installed.  If it doesn't work, the homeowner will still be responsible to pay for the installation as used equipment does not have a warranty.  Typically, if the equipment provided is new, we will consider installing it.  However, since we (LCS Heating and Cooling) did not purchase the equipment, we will not warranty it. In addition, it would also be the homeowner's responsibility to talk to the manufacturer.  If a repair is needed three years later, the homeowner would again be responsible for the warranty.
  2. If I provide the part, will you make the repair?  We will consider making the repair, but again there is risk involved for the homeowner.  Are you absolutely sure you got the right part?  Did you diagnose the needed repair correctly?  Are you able to return the part if it's not correct ?  Is there a warranty on the part?  As in the example above, if for some reason the part doesn't work or is not the correct part, the homeowner would still be responsible for paying for the installation.  He would also be responsible for any warranty issues that arise.
  3. Should I make a repair or install a water heater/thermostat/humidifier myself?  This is completely up to the homeowner.  These are items that can be purchased at home improvement stores.  A couple of things to consider:  Home improvement stores carry base models of these items.  Contractors purchase these items at supply houses and have accessibility to higher end models and different brands.  Warranties vary as well.  Equipment provided by contractors often has a longer warranty period than what can be purchased at home improvement stores.  Also consider your comfort level and time needed to install one of these items.  The time it may take to install that whole house humidifier may be worth hiring an HVAC company.

When it comes to major repairs or improvements in the home, we are always going to recommend hiring a company to help with those.   Homeowners have peace of mind when equipment or even a part is provided and installed by a licensed and insured HVAC company.  Peace of mind comes from knowing that if something goes wrong, the HVAC company will take care of it.  The homeowner will not have to contact the manufacturer, try to process a warranty, wait to have a part shipped, etc.    HVAC is often an investment.  Our advice is to protect that investment by considering all the factors and risks before making a decision to do it yourself.