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Will Soft Water Damage a Water Heater and Can It Be Repaired

Will Soft Water Damage a Water Heater and Can It Be Repaired?

If you own a water heater, it’s important to know the most common problems that could shorten its life and how to prevent them from happening. High water pressure, corrosive fumes, and neglect are the usual suspects to take note of.

But did you know that water softeners can also lead to premature water heater failure? In this blog, you will learn how soft water can damage your heater.


Hard water contains minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. These minerals are not dangerous when consumed. In fact, they can be found in most of the foods we eat daily. However, when found in water in high concentrations, they can create limescale build-up.

This is where water heater problem begins.

Limescale forms from hard water because of the temperature inside the water heater tank. Then, it settles along the tank floor and creates a layer of sediment that reduces the energy efficiency of a gas water heater. This problem can get worse because the layer of sediment has insulating properties, so the water heater tends to run much longer and produce more power.

Limescale can also form a filmy residue when it comes into contact with soap. This residue can damage dishes and clothes, and leave those using the shower with a general feeling of being “unclean”. Obviously, that’s another thing to worry about.

Water softeners are used by people who live in places with hard water, and are used to get rid of magnesium and calcium. They work by replacing those two minerals with sodium by ion exchange. This removes the risk of limescale forming a layer of sediment and that potentially damaging filmy residue. Unfortunately, a water softener brings its own problems.

Soft Water and its Effect on Water Heaters

Will Soft Water Damage a Water Heater and Can It Be Repaired1Water heaters are a great investment because you use them to do a lot of daily household tasks. These heating systems usually last for 8 to 12 years with minimal water heater repair.

Because a water heater is made of metal and it constantly heats water, this appliance will eventually rust. To keep this from happening anytime soon, anodes are used inside the unit. Unfortunately, these items also corrode in time and should be checked at least every six years to see if a replacement is needed.

Once the anode is corroded down to its wire, your unit is at risk of having rust and leakage. These anodes corrode at a much faster pace with softened water. That’s because of the salt that replaces the hard minerals, which also accelerates the process of corrosion.

Preventing the Problem

It’s undeniable that water softeners are necessary for areas with an abundance of hard water. However, you also need to take into consideration the harmful effect it can have on your water heater.

Heating systems play an important role in the modern home. If maintained properly, a unit can last a long time. The best thing you can do to lengthen its lifespan is by routinely checking the anodes to prevent corrosion and the leaking that comes after it.

Do you need water heater repair in Tracy, CA? Instead of taking the DIY route, always call an HVAC professional. They will be able to assess your heater problem more accurately and provide the best course of action for your heating system.