The Hard Truth about Scale Buildup in Your Plumbing System

Plumbing System

Water is an essential resource for human life, and it is used for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. However, the quality of water can vary depending on its source and treatment processes. One of the most common issues that people encounter with water is scale buildup in their plumbing systems. 

Scale is a hard, white or yellowish deposit that forms on the surface of pipes and fixtures. It is caused by the accumulation of mineral deposits such as calcium and magnesium, and it can have significant effects on water systems. 

Causes of Scale Buildup

Scale buildup is caused by the presence of minerals in the water, primarily calcium and magnesium. When water has high levels of these minerals, it is referred to as hard water. Hard water is common in areas with limestone or other rock formations that contain calcium and magnesium. When hard water is heated, the minerals in the water become more concentrated and can form scale on the surface of pipes and fixtures.

Other factors that can contribute to scale buildup include high water pressure, pH levels, and temperature. High water pressure can cause turbulence in the water, which can cause minerals to attach to the surface of pipes and fixtures. Low pH levels can also make water more acidic, which can cause corrosion and release minerals into the water. Finally, high temperatures can accelerate the formation of scale by causing minerals to precipitate out of the water.

Effects of Scale Buildup

Scale buildup can have significant effects on water systems, including reduced water flow, decreased water pressure, and increased energy costs. As scale accumulates inside pipes and fixtures, it can restrict the flow of water and reduce water pressure. 

This can lead to slow water flow, longer wait times for hot water, and reduced water pressure in showers and faucets. In extreme cases, scale buildup can completely block pipes and cause them to burst, leading to costly repairs.

Scale buildup can also increase energy costs by reducing the efficiency of water heaters and other appliances. When scale accumulates on the heating elements of water heaters, it can insulate them and reduce their ability to transfer heat to the water. 

This can lead to longer heating times and increased energy consumption. In addition, scale buildup on appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines can reduce their lifespan and increase repair costs.

Preventing and Removing Scale Buildup

Preventing scale buildup is the best way to avoid its negative effects on water systems. One way to prevent scale buildup is to install a water softener. Water softeners work by removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water, making it less likely to form scale. Other preventative measures include reducing water pressure, maintaining proper pH levels, and avoiding high temperatures.

If scale buildup has already occurred, there are several methods for removing it. One of the most common methods is to use a descaler, which is a chemical solution that dissolves scale deposits. Descalers can be used on pipes, fixtures, and appliances to remove scale buildup. Another method is to use a mechanical descaler, a tool that uses high-pressure water jets to remove scale from the surface of pipes and fixtures.

Finally, regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent and remove scale buildup. Regularly cleaning faucets and showerheads can help prevent mineral buildup, while flushing water heaters and other appliances can remove accumulated scale. In addition, regular maintenance of water softeners and other water treatment systems can help ensure they are working properly and preventing scale buildup.


Scale buildup in water systems is a common problem that can have significant effects on water flow, pressure, and energy costs. It is caused by the accumulation of mineral deposits in hard water and can be prevented by installing water softeners or taking other preventative measures. If scale buildup has already occurred, there are several methods for removing it, including chemical and mechanical descalers. 

Do you need help removing scale in Ohio? Turn to J&J Industrial Sales Inc, a family-owned, service-oriented business. We are a leader in providing safe, cost-efficient, and timely scale removal services to industrial companies nationwide. Get a quote now!

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