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What Is Limescale & How To Prevent It?

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Food scraps, debris and other small objects commonly cause clogging in pipes. However, other factors contribute to this plumbing issue. Water is full of minerals that can leave imprints in the plumbing system. When they are left unmaintained for some time, they build up and cause a blockage called limescale. These residues do not only affect the plumbing network – it also impacts drinking water and water used for laundry and dishwashing.

Maintenance helps in preventing the formation of limescale. But knowing why it happens also plays a big part in preventing limescale from damaging your property’s plumbing system. This article focuses on the process of building limescale, the effects of continuously using water with limescale and how to remove limescale from pipes. 

Can Limescale Clog Pipes?

The short answer is a big yes. However, that is not the whole picture as it is a gradual process which accumulates and later contributes to damaging a building’s pipe system. But when does it cause blockage? And how can it cause blocked drains when it is just a white, chalky substance left in the pipes and other equipment? The residual buildup needs to be in significant amounts before this plumbing problem starts affecting the pipes. Prevention is the best approach in addressing limestone formation. It not only causes clogging, several other issues surface due to the formation of limescale. These are the following:

  • Foul tasting tap water
  • Impacts clothes and dishes
  • Leaves laundry stiff
  • Leaving watermarks on clothes and dishes

After knowing all these, it is best to know why this plumbing trouble happens. Where does limestone come from, and why is it present in pipes and other plumbing equipment or systems. 

What Causes Limescale in Pipes?

Limescale naturally occurs in places where there is water. It is the hard white and chalky residue produced out of calcium and magnesium left when water evaporated. In Australia, there are places where hard water flows significantly more compared to other places. It is common to see hard water in metropolitan areas and densely populated places. To know whether the area is rich in hard water, it is best to contact your local water authority.The buildup of calcium and magnesium minerals largely contributes to the blockage. Limescale is usually composed mostly of calcium carbonate. It is the same white residue found in kettles, water heaters and taps, among other things. When the residue thickens, it interferes with the normal flow of water in pipes and other plumbing components. 

Is It Safe to Drink Water With Limescale?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that there are no significant impacts of drinking water coming from pipes with limescale. It added that consuming water with limescale may even help in meeting daily mineral requirements. However, the taste is the primary reason people should think twice when consuming water from pipes with limescale. Hard water could taste bitter and salty compared to drinking filtered water or bottled water. 

How To Remove Limescale From Plumbing?

The good news is several easy-to-do fixes for preventing or removing limescale everywhere. Some of these methods involve using readily available materials, while some make use of commercially available products. All have been tried and tested for years and have helped homeowners and businesses deal with limescale formation in any fixture or plumbing component.The first thing in addressing limescale formation is softening hard water. Passing hard water through resin beads helps prevent the development of residue. These beads contain positive ions that “catches” the negative components of minerals. By letting water go through these resin beads, hard water is purified, removing substances that contribute to limescale formation. Aside from preventing limescale, water softeners also provide the following benefits:

  • A more healthy hair and skin
  • Cleaner clothes with no residue
  • Less water pressure issues
  • Cleaning dishes take less time
  • Appliances using water can have a longer lifespan

When there’s already limescale in tanks, faucets or the hot water system, several ways are available to get rid of this chalky substance. To remove limescale, property owners may try out a DIY scale remover or go for a commercially available remover. A mixture of half lemon juice or vinegar and half water is all that’s needed to get rid of limescale. This solution must be left in the affected area for at least an hour up to overnight. After soaking it, a good rinse using water is needed to remove any residue.For those who want to try the homemade remover, all one needs is a lemon or vinegar. However, it is best to check whether lemon juice or vinegar can cause damage to the affected fixture before using this DIY fix. When unsure, it is best to check by putting a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar on the surface and observing the reaction.There are also commercially available products to remove limescale. These specially formulated removers come with all the information property owners need to know before starting the process. They also come in all kinds, with some formulated for specific purposes or fixtures. 

Contact the Best 24 Hour Plumber in Sydney Today!

While limescale cannot be prevented, having a competent 24hr emergency plumber helps in keeping drains healthy and free of clogging. Our emergency plumbing service team has over two decades of experience dealing with all factors behind blockages. Our team is composed of fully qualified 24 hour plumbers. All have undergone the Certificate III in Plumbing course and an apprenticeship as required by NSW Fair Trading. These requirements help emergency plumbers deal with common plumbing emergencies in residential and commercial buildings. Gaining these necessary skills allows them to deliver the best plumbing solutions that come with a long lifespan and complies with local, state and national regulations like The Plumbing Code of Australia. Contact Optimised Plumbing Services now to experience the best maintenance and repair involving limestone in Sydney today!

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