limescale deposits in a water heater

What Is Limescale, And How Do I Remove IT?

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

The majority of households in the U.S. have issues related to limescale. Whether that means spending more money and effort to clean scaled-up fixtures or having to replace costly equipment because scale damage is too severe to repair. We must first comprehend this issue before we can address it. We’ll take a clear look at limescale and its formation in this post.

What Is The Best Way To Describe Limescale?

Here’s the best way to describe limescale. The coating of limescale is a hard, chalky substance that sits on countertops and builds up in plumbing fixtures. The deposits tightly adhere to the surface it is resting on. Additionally, calcium builds up on our fixtures, and those layers thicken over time; that’s the chalky substance around our faucets. The presence of additional minerals can affect the color of limescale. However, the scale will appear reddish-brown if your water contains a high level of iron.

Unfortunately, Homes In California Have Hard water

Before we can go any farther, we must first examine water hardness a little further. The majority of homes in California have hard water, which is either obtained from freshwater sources or aquifers in some cases and then gets treated at our water treatment plant. Then the water is delivered to our homes. These sources of minerals end up in our drinking and bathing water. The amount of minerals in the water determines its hardness; the more minerals present, the harder your water will be.  

Calcium and magnesium are the minerals most commonly found in our hard water. The fundamental component of limescale is calcium or, more specifically, calcium carbonate in the form of calcite.

Limescale Built Up On Glass doors

Here Is A short synopsis of how it develops

What causes limescale to develop is the calcium carbonate in our water binds to surfaces in our kitchens and bathrooms. Without delving too far into the science, here is a short synopsis of how it develops. The high temperatures cause soluble calcium bicarbonate to change into insoluble calcium carbonate by disrupting a chemical balance in your water. The scale gets produced when calcium carbonate precipitates out of the water and binds to surfaces. So even products such as a kettle and other heating equipment are particularly vulnerable if you haven’t already noticed. The calcium carbonate is left behind whenever the water evaporates.  

What issues does it bring about?

In addition to the apparent visual problems produced by limescale destroying the look of fixtures, its creation has some major negative effects. One of the major impacts of limescale is on heating components. As these mineral deposits build up, the efficiency of the appliance drops.  An additional ten percent of energy is needed for every millimeter of minerals that build up around the heating element. The accumulation will eventually become so severe that the heating element will become inoperable and need replacing. Your heating element is also called an anode rod, which is part of your water heater and should get replaced every three to five years.

Use a mildly acidic solution

A simple vinegar solution can work wonders on limescale. If you can remove fixtures and submerge them in a bucket of plain white vinegar for about an hour, the vinegar will dissolve most of the limescale. The rest should flake off easily if you scrub at it with a toothbrush or textured rag.

If removing all of your fixtures sounds like an arduous task, you could soak rags in vinegar and secure them to fixtures with a string or rubber band for about an hour or so. Another common tactic is to use a small plastic bag filled with vinegar tied to each faucet and shower head.

limescale on the aerator

Address “hidden” damage of Limescale

Of course, these tactics merely address the aesthetic concerns of limescale. Hard water still leaves mineral deposits inside your pipes and appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine. This buildup can cause plumbing problems and shorten the life of your appliances.

how may limescale be avoided altogether?

To prevent limescale, you need to address the root of the issue, which is the hard water minerals. To eliminate the issue, install a salt softener or reverse osmosis system in your home. The reverse osmosis system will eliminate the mineral that causes the hard water to build up on faucets, shower heads, and countertops. The system will also have a positive effect on your plumbing system overall. Additionally, the treated water will have a beneficial effect on hair, skin, and overall health. We hope this is a clear, helpful, and useful explanation of limescale, hard water, and its impact. 

We’re only a phone call Away!

If your home has seen the effects of hard water in your plumbing system, appliances and countertops, call for an expert at Big B’s Plumbing to address the problem. In some cases, the problem has been known to cause low water pressure because the hard water has built up in your pipes, causing them to restrict. We’re only a phone call away. License #986152

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Categories

Post Tags

What People Are Saying...

I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
Read More on Google My Business


Vill M

Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
Read More on Google My Business


Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
Read More on Google My Business


Crystal M

Call Today!
Your Plumber For Life!

Contractors License #986152

Scroll to Top