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How Does Mineral Build-Up Restrict Water Pressure?

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Mineral build-up will restrict your water flow.
Mineral build-up will restrict your water flow.

Are you facing issues with reduced water pressure? Your home's pipes and outlets might be affected by mineral buildup.

Mineral scale can accumulate in any type of plumbing system, including pipes, fittings, and outlets, which can lead to a decrease in water pressure within your home's freshwater plumbing.

In this article, we will delve into the causes of mineral buildup, how mineral deposits can impede water pressure, and the most effective methods to address or prevent mineral buildup in your home's plumbing.

How Does Mineral Buildup Restrict Water Pressure?

Mineral build-up within a home's freshwater plumbing system can significantly restrict water pressure, leading to a range of plumbing issues.

Over time, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron can gather on the inner walls of pipes and fixtures, forming deposits that narrow the pathway for water flow.

As these deposits thicken, the diameter of the pipe shrinks, causing increased resistance for water as it traverses the plumbing network. This buildup can also prompt clogs by entrapping debris on the roughened surface.

Mineral build-up is particularly noticeable in showerheads and faucets, which might experience diminished water pressure due to their small openings getting obstructed by mineral deposits. Household appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters are also susceptible to mineral accumulation.

For more information on what is low water pressure, we have an ultimate guide that details the many systemic causes of low water pressure and how to tackle them.


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What Causes Mineral Buildup in Home Plumbing?

Mineral buildup in your home's plumbing can stem from various causes, including:

  • Hard Water: Water hardness pertains to the mineral concentration in the water. Hard water contains higher levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Over time, as hard water flows through pipes, these minerals can amass on the inner surfaces, resulting in both reduced water pressure and clogged pipes. For more detailed insights, we have an extensive article on how hard water affects home plumbing systems.
  • Old Galvanized Pipes: As the zinc coating on the interior of galvanized pipes erodes over time, the underlying steel (or iron) becomes exposed to oxygen and chemicals in the water, leading to rust and corrosion. Internal rust and scale gradually accumulate, significantly restricting water flow. This constriction in flow is most noticeable at hot water outlets and those farthest from the water source.
  • Copper Pipes: Copper pipes can react with specific minerals present in the water supply, particularly if the water's pH is too high. This reaction causes particles to gather and diminish water pressure. Due to the numerous connections and bends in copper piping, mineral buildup occurs more frequently compared to materials like PEX.


How Can I Fix Mineral Buildup?

If you are worried about mineral build-up in your home's plumbing, you can help minimize it by installing a water softening system or a whole home filtration system. These systems can help soften hard water through differing processes.

what you see here is also inside your pipes
What you see here is also inside your pipes.

Once mineral buildup has formed inside pipes, there's no efficient way to clean them, and replacement becomes necessary. Opting for a whole-home repipe is a more cost-effective solution compared to multiple partial replacements of pipes affected by mineral buildup.

To ensure the longevity of your pipes, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing is generally more effective against mineral build-up in comparison to other piping materials like copper piping. PEX tubing offers numerous advantages over alternative pipe types. Particularly in the context of mineral buildup and reduced pressure, a key advantage of PEX tubing is its ability to be installed in continuous lengths from a central manifold directly to outlets. This minimizes connections and tight bends, leading to better flow and less mineral accumulation.

The smooth interior surface of PEX tubing discourages minerals from adhering to the pipe walls, thereby reducing the formation of scale. (Note: All pipe materials are affected by hard water, including PEX. However, PEX generally demonstrates greater effectiveness against scale buildup.)

By replacing your damaged pipes with PEX tubing, you not only improve their resistance to mineral buildup but also ensure long-lasting plumbing for years to come.


Get a Quote to Repipe Your Home

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced plumbing in thousands of homes across the USA with modern Uponor PEX tubing. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers at how pleased they are with their fast flowing, high pressure water post-repipe. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have another article that covers whole house repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and a local repipe consultant will explain all your repiping options and provide you with a written, fixed price quote. Replace your pipes and enjoy less mineral buildup and increased water pressure.


About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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