Calcium and lime scale can cause a myriad of problems with your water system and leave deposits on faucets and in your toilet which can cause problems over time. Unless you live in an area with very soft water, you will probably experience calcium buildup on your faucets at some time. For some people, the amount of calcium in the water is negligible and it will build up very slowly, for others, this can be a major problem. Here are some ways to both prevent and treat this common problem.
Why do faucets calcify?
Hard water contains a variety of minerals, most particularly calcium and magnesium, which are picked up naturally from rocks and soil in the environment. These minerals make their way through the water system and into your home. They tend to build up and accumulate on metal fixtures, especially on parts which are allowed to dry out. So you're likely to notice calcium buildup on your chrome faucets, toilets and shower heads.
What kinds of problems does calcification cause?
The most immediately noticeable problem is that it looks bad. It also leaves a crusty residue mainly on metal parts, such as on the end of the faucet. This may make it difficult to remove or change your aerator when needed. It can also leave stains and damage your chrome faucets. Severe calcification can potentially cause blockages or damage to the pipes and the faucet levers. It can be so bad as to cause serious blockages which can reduce water pressure and even contribute to burst pipes.
What can be done about calcification:
Fortunately, you can prevent or reduce the amount of calcification. However, you must be diligent and get into a routine. Starting from when your faucets are new, wipe them off with a dry towel each time you use them. If you already have calcified faucets and toilets, then try wrapping the end of your faucet with a vinegar-soaked paper towel for about about an hour. Then scrub, rinse and dry. You can also soak your shower heads in vinegar overnight. Add three gallons of vinegar to your toilet tank to reduce calcium there, and use three cups of vinegar to scrub the bowl. There are also several effective commercial cleaners out there.
If you think the problem is beyond your control, then contact a plumber for faucet repair. If you find that your faucets or toilets are just too damaged to be worth saving, then a new faucet may be a good idea. You might also want to consider a water softening system. Then, you can begin to get into a regular calcium-reduction routine right from the beginning.