Home » Blog » Plumbing » What is Limescale?

What is Limescale?

what is limescale

If you’ve ever noticed chalky white deposits on your faucet, toilet bowl, shower head, or inside your coffee maker, you’re likely familiar with limescale. Limescale is a byproduct of hard water, which is just water that contains an excess of natural minerals like calcium and magnesium. But how does limescale form? How is limescale harmful to your home? What can you do to prevent it?

Below, we’ll go into detail about what limescale is, how it forms, and what you as a homeowner can do to protect your plumbing system and household appliances from it. If you’re struggling to remove limescale from your pipes, appliances, and other household items, the Carrollton plumbers at Lex Air are here to help. We can help remove limescale buildup, repair plumbing that’s been damaged by limescale deposits or even replace pipes that are suffering from extreme mineral buildup. Whatever your plumbing needs, we’ve got your back. 

Call us at (972) 217-8955 to schedule repairs, replacements, and drain cleaning services with us or to learn more about what we can do to help.

What Causes Limescale Buildup?

Limescale, also sometimes referred to as calcium carbonate buildup, is a chalky white deposit that forms on surfaces that are in contact with hard water. Hard water is water that contains high concentrations of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. When hard water is heated and the water evaporates, these minerals precipitate out and cling to various surfaces, from metal heating elements to plastic pipes and beyond. 

Common Places Where Limescale Forms

In areas with hard water, limescale can build up on just about any hard surface that comes into contact with unfiltered tap water. It tends to build up on water-using appliances, especially those that heat water, but it can also build up on various household surfaces. Limescale can appear on:

how to remove limescale from inside pipes

How Limescale Forms in Plumbing Systems

Limescale can easily form in plumbing systems where there’s a lot of hard water. When hard water flows through pipes and comes into contact with surfaces, especially hotter surfaces, the minerals within it precipitate out and adhere to the inner walls of the pipes.  

Identifying Calcium Carbonate Deposits

Calcium carbonate buildup can be identified by its chalky white appearance on surfaces such as faucets, showerheads, and the inner walls of pipes. These deposits often feel rough or gritty to the touch and may be difficult to remove with regular cleaning methods. 

In severe cases, limescale buildup can lead to visibly restricted water flow or reduced appliance efficiency. Testing the water hardness or consulting with a plumber can confirm the presence of calcium carbonate deposits in plumbing systems.

The Impact of Limescale on Plumbing and Appliances

Limescale buildup can lead to more than just unsightly stains; it can have damaging effects on your plumbing system and your home appliances. In plumbing, limescale deposits can gradually accumulate inside pipes, reducing the diameter of the waterway and obstructing water flow. 

This restriction can lead to decreased water pressure, longer wait times for hot water, and even complete blockages in severe cases. Additionally, when limescale builds in pipes, it can corrode metal surfaces, weakening pipes and potentially causing leaks or bursts.

In appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines, limescale can coat heating elements and internal components, reducing their efficiency and lifespan. Appliances may require more energy to operate as they struggle to overcome the insulating barrier created by limescale, leading to higher utility bills.

whats limescale

How To Remove Limescale Deposits 

Removing limescale from plumbing fixtures and appliances can require a combination of home remedies and professional interventions. Below are some of the best ways to remove limescale from your home, based on the size of the system you’re looking to remove limestone from. 

Removing Limescale From Small Appliances

When removing limescale from small appliances, dishes, and household surfaces, you can soak the area in vinegar for several hours to dissolve the buildup. After that, scrub the area with a brush or sponge to remove any remaining buildup. 

You can also scrub the area with a baking soda paste. Combine baking soda and water until it’s at a toothpaste-like consistency. Then use a soft cloth to apply it to the affected area and scrub. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and can help lift stubborn limescale without damaging surfaces.

Another DIY plumbing solution can be to use a lemon. Like vinegar, lemon juice is acidic and can help break the limescale down. Cut a lemon in half and scrub the open side on the buildup. Rinse the area with water to remove any remaining lemon juice.

If these interventions don’t work, you can look for commercial descaling solutions to help break down more stubborn limescale. These products often contain stronger acids or chelating agents that effectively dissolve limescale deposits with minimal scrubbing required.

Removing Limescale From Large Appliances

If you want to remove limescale from appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine, you can run an empty cycle with vinegar instead of detergent to clean your machine of limescale. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher or washing machine and run a hot water cycle.

Another acidic compound you can use is citric acid. Dissolve the citric acid powder in hot water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then pour the solution into the detergent dispenser or directly into the appliance. Run a hot water cycle to allow the citric acid to penetrate and dissolve limescale deposits.

If these don’t solve the problem, consider using commercial descaling products specifically formulated for dishwashers and washing machines. These products are designed to target limescale buildup and mineral deposits effectively.

Removing Limescale From a Plumbing System

One method to remove limescale from plumbing pipes is by performing a vinegar flush. Turn off the main water supply to your home, then open all faucets and fixtures to drain the water from the pipes. Next, pour a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water into the pipes through the highest faucet in your home. 

Let the vinegar solution sit in the pipes for several hours or overnight to dissolve limescale deposits. Finally, flush the pipes by turning on the main water supply and allowing the vinegar solution to flow through the system.

While most DIY solutions can help with small amounts of mineral buildup, they may not be able to tackle a major limescale invasion. In these cases, consider using commercial descaling products specifically designed for removing limescale from plumbing pipes. These products often contain strong acids or chelating agents that effectively dissolve limescale buildup. 

When all else fails, consult an experienced plumber. Plumbers have access to specialized equipment like high-pressure water jets and chemical descaling agents that can effectively remove stubborn limescale from pipes and appliances. They can also conduct thorough inspections to identify the root causes of limescale buildup and recommend solutions like whole-house water softeners.

How Lex Air Can Help You Get Rid of Limescale

At Lex Air, we offer comprehensive solutions to address limescale buildup and plumbing issues in the Carrollton area. Our experienced team is equipped to effectively remove limescale from plumbing systems using advanced techniques and equipment, which can help restore water flow, improve appliance performance, and prevent limescale buildup from happening in the first place.

We can install a water treatment system in your home to decrease the number of contaminants in your water and increase your water quality. We can even install a water softener in your home to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium from your water, preventing mineral deposits before they occur. 

Our professional Carrollton drain cleaning services can help identify the root cause of the issue. If that problem is limescale, we can use professional-grade descalers to help clear your pipes of buildup and restore uninterrupted water throughout your home.

In addition to limescale removal, we specialize in repairing damaged piping and faucets caused by limescale buildup, corrosion, or other factors. We can even repipe areas of your home with extensive buildup. With our expertise, we can quickly identify and address plumbing issues to prevent further damage and restore functionality.

How To Prevent Limescale

While there is no permanent solution to limescale buildup, there are plenty of ways that you can prevent limescale deposits from forming in your appliances. Installing a water-softening system can effectively treat hard water by removing the minerals responsible for limescale formation. Soft water has a much lower chance of leading to limescale buildup. 

Regular maintenance of plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, can help dissolve existing limescale deposits and prevent further buildup. Additionally, using water-saving aerators and low-flow showerheads can reduce water usage and minimize the accumulation of minerals in plumbing systems. 

Monitoring water pressure and promptly addressing any signs of reduced flow can also prevent limescale-related issues from worsening. Lastly, scheduling periodic inspections by a professional plumber or professional drain cleanings can identify potential limescale buildup early on and allow for timely intervention to prevent costly repairs down the line.

how to remove limescale from plumbing system

Call Lex Air For All Your Professional Plumbing Needs in Carrollton, TX

Don’t let limescale build up and damage your home’s plumbing and appliances–take action by calling Lex Air today. Our team is dedicated to providing the residents of Carrollton, TX, and the surrounding area with top-notch plumbing solutions. Whether you’re dealing with limescale buildup, leaky pipes, or an underperforming plumbing system, we have the expertise and resources to get the job done right the first time.

At Lex Air, we understand that plumbing issues can disrupt your daily routine and cause unnecessary stress. That’s why we strive to provide prompt and efficient service to minimize downtime and inconvenience for our customers. 

We tackle each job with precision and attention to detail, ensuring long-lasting results that you can depend on, so why wait? Reach out to us at (972) 217-8955 or contact us online to schedule our services today.

How Many BTUs Do I Need

How Many BTUs Do I Need?

Determining how many BTUs your heating or cooling system needs is essential for maintaining comfort and efficiency in your Carrollton home or business. At Lex

GFCI Outlet Not Working

GFCI Outlet Not Working

Discovering that your GFCI outlet is not working can be frustrating and inconvenient, especially in crucial areas of your home like the kitchen or bathroom.