How to Handle Annoying Calcium Buildup on Your Faucets

How to Handle Annoying Calcium Buildup on Your Faucets

Have your faucets gone from having a shiny metallic look to now looking cloudy? If so, you likely want to get them back to the way they appeared when they were first installed.

The dirty look is likely the result of calcium buildup from your tap water. Calcium buildup happens in areas with hard water. With time, minerals collect on your appliances. Here is a brief explanation of why calcium buildup occurs and some suggestions on how to clean it.

What Is Calcium Buildup on Your Faucets?

Calcium buildup is also called limescale. This happens because water that contains dissolved calcium salt is flowing through your showerheads and faucets. This is why you have that white crusty-looking buildup that is all but impossible to clean away.

If your water supply has high levels of calcium, minerals, and salt, you have hard water. In some areas, hard water also has a high level of iron. This makes the buildup take on a rusty or yellow appearance. You may even see stains in your sink or bathtub.

In addition to being unsightly, hard water can cost you thousands of dollars each year in the form of repairs and replacements. Calcium adheres itself to your home’s plumbing system. It creates clogs that damage your appliances.

One of the major appliances that can be damaged by calcium buildup is your water heater. If there is significant calcium buildup, instead of your water heater lasting for up to 12 years, it may only last between six or seven years. Calcium buildup is a problem. The following are some easy solutions you can use to remove calcium buildup today.

Use Vinegar to Remove Calcium From Faucets

Your faucet or showerhead has gone from a geyser to a trickle. You don’t want to remove your showerhead or find a way to detach your faucet. Thankfully, there is an easy way to get rid of surface minerals that requires nothing more than some vinegar, a plastic bag, and a rubber band.

Step 1: Pour white distilled vinegar into a plastic bag. Take a rubber band and slip the rubber band on your showerhead or around your faucet. You might want to wrap it around twice so that it sits tight against the water pipe or faucet. Attach the bag to the showerhead by gently slipping the bag’s edge underneath the rubber band.

Step 2: Leave the bag in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag. Turn on the water to flush out any residue. Use a soft cloth to polish your faucet or showerhead.

You may wonder why vinegar works so well against calcium deposits. It is because calcium deposits, like limescale, are made from calcium carbonate. The acid in vinegar attacks the calcium carbonate, breaking it down.

If you don’t want to risk making a mess with a bag of vinegar, another option is to take a towel and soak it in a vinegar solution. Wrap the towel around your faucet or showerhead. Leave it overnight. Remove it in the morning and rinse your faucet or showerhead with plain water.

Use Muriatic Acid to Remove Calcium from Faucets

Few cleaners work as well as muriatic acid for treating calcium buildups. That being said, it is not a product to be treated lightly.

Muriatic acid is a diluted form of hydrochloric acid, making it one of the most corrosive cleaners on the market. If you are not careful, you will quickly damage your eyes, skin, and any unprotected painted surfaces.

However, if you follow the safety precautions, you will see that muriatic acid is a powerful cleaning agent for getting rid of calcium buildup. Make sure that you are wearing protective gloves and goggles. You want to work in a ventilated space. If that is not possible, use a respirator.

When mixing muriatic acid with water, make sure that you always pour the acid into the water. If you pour water into the acid, you create a reaction that could cause acid to splatter all over you. In a similar vein, never pour acid into an empty container.

Once you are finished cleaning the calcium buildup, dispose of the cleaning solution by pouring it into a large container of clean water. The goal is to dilute it to a ratio of 50:1. You can safely pour the diluted acid down the drain.

Remove Calcium With Lemon Juice

In the same way that the acids in vinegar attack the calcium carbonate in calcium buildup, so do the acids in lemon. This is another natural yet effective solution.

To start, cut a fresh lemon in half. Use your thumbs or some other device to open up the center of the lemon. Push the lemon onto the edge of the faucet. Wrap a small plastic bag around the lemon and use a rubber band to secure the faucet. Leave the lemon in place overnight, allowing the citric acid to do the heavy lifting.

After removing the lemon in the morning, get a gentle scrubbing pad to clear up any hard water buildup. Use a damp cloth to clean up any leftover lemon juice. Your faucet should be sparkly clean. Best yet, you didn’t have to rely on harsh chemicals.

Remove Calcium With CLR

CLR is an immensely popular calcium and lime remover. CLR is an abbreviation for calcium, lime, and rust. The product’s tagline proudly announces that it dissolves lime, blasts calcium, and zaps rust stains.

CLR can quickly remove calcium buildup on your showerheads, faucets, and other appliances. It is a safe alternative to other traditional calcium removal chemicals. CLR is phosphate-free and septic safe. Although it is a chemical, it is also part of the EPA’s Safer Choice Program.

To use a CLR in a well-ventilated area, combine equal parts of warm water and CLR. You can apply CLR directly to your faucet or showerhead. Find an area to test the CLR before you apply it to an entire surface.

Never leave CLR on an area for more than two minutes. The product should never be mixed with bleach or household cleaners. Be careful to avoid contact with the carpet, natural stones, galvanized metals, or painted surfaces. Also, you should clean spills immediately.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Better Than a Pound of Cure

If you are in an area with hard water, you are going to get calcium buildup. By installing a water softener, the water that comes out of your faucets will be soft. This means that magnesium and calcium will be removed from the water before entering your plumbing network.

Are you dealing with hard water and frustrating calcium buildup? Our technicians at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating and Air want to offer our assistance. We are a certified HVAC and plumbing service contractor operating in the Sacramento, California, area. Since 1981, our team has been helping homeowners and business owners improve their plumbing and HVAC systems.

Some of the services we offer include indoor air quality service, humidification, plumbing, and heating services. We invite you to see for yourself why we are the best at what we do. Contact us today. Our technicians look forward to working with you.

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10 Tips for Clean Indoor Air this Winter

10 Tips for Clean Indoor Air this Winter

As you and your family pack into the house for the winter months, you may notice a decline in air quality. Chances are, you’ll see an uptick in stuffy noses, sore throats, and itchy eyes. Family members with asthma may also notice that they’re more prone to asthma attacks during winter. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep the air in your home fresh, clean, and breathable.

Here at Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ve been in the home heating and air business for more than 9 years. In that time, we’ve worked with countless homeowners throughout Sacramento to help them improve the comfort and safety of their homes. Our technicians are highly trained and know what factors can cause a decline in your home’s air quality, as well as clever solutions for how to restore it.

Here are 10 tips that our technicians recommend doing during the winter months:

1. Replace Air Filters

The air filter is an essential component of your home’s heating system. The disposable mesh filter is designed to capture harmful particles and remove them from your home’s air supply. Dust, dirt, pet dander, and mold spores are just a few of the many contaminants the air filter can hold. After a couple of months of use, the filter will get clogged, meaning it’s no longer effective at its job. That’s why it’s important to replace it with a fresh filter every three months. Eco-friendly homeowners can invest in reusable air filters which can be washed with warm water instead of thrown away when they’re dirty.

2. Vacuum Floors and Carpets

It probably comes as no surprise that dirt, dust, and mites will accumulate in your rugs and carpets. What may come as a surprise is that those particles can migrate back into the air and eventually make their way into your lungs. To remove these particles, you’ll need to vacuum regularly. The best kind of vacuum cleaner for indoor air quality is one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

3. Dust Often

Dust doesn’t just accumulate on your carpets. It also finds its way into furniture, upholstery, curtains, and bedding. Cleaning these surfaces at least once a month will seriously cut down on the amount of dust it harbors. Bedding should be washed regularly, and rugs and curtains can be taken outside and shaken out. Furniture is a little tougher to clean since it doesn’t fit in a washing machine. Instead, you can use a vacuum attachment for large particles and a damp rag for smaller particles. If you or a family member has serious allergens, you can consider furniture covers, which can regularly be removed and washed to restore their cleanliness.

4. Open the Windows

On the occasional winter days that aren’t too chilly, take advantage of the warmer air by opening your windows. Getting fresh air is an excellent—and natural—way to remove stagnant air and circulate clean air throughout your home. Open windows also facilitate the removal of pollutants, germs, cooking fumes, and cleaning chemicals. Pairing an open window with a ceiling fan can help circulate the air with greater speed and efficiency.

5. Use an Air Purifier

For a heavier-duty air quality solution, you can consider installing an air filtration system. This is separate from the standard HVAC air filter and can remove much smaller particles. Some air filtration solutions utilize features like infrared lights to destroy bacteria and viruses. If you’re interested in air filtration, one of our knowledgeable technicians would be happy to discuss your options and help you choose the best one for your home.

6. Invest in Indoor Plants

Plants are a natural alternative to full-house air filters. Certain plant species are especially well-known for air filtration, including ferns, lilies, and palms. Placing a few plants in each room of your house will help filter out pollutants.

7. Monitor Humidity Level

Winter weather goes together with dry indoor air, which is why many homeowners break out the humidifier during the cold season. While adding some moisture back into the air can make your skin feel less dry and cracked, it’s important not to go overboard. Excessive moisture creates the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria to flourish. To avoid this scenario, keep your home humidity levels between 30-50%.

8. Avoid Chemical Air Fresheners

A plug-in air freshener or essential oil diffuser may smell pleasant, but they can also release chemicals into the air that are irritating or harmful. Instead of using chemically based air fresheners, we recommend using natural alternatives which are safer to breathe. Flowering houseplants and natural candles add a pleasant, natural odor to your home. Using natural cleaning chemicals like lemon and vinegar also helps eliminate odors in a safe and healthy manner.

9. Use Vent While Cooking

Cooking, especially with oil, can release a ton of particulates into the air. Certain vegetables, like onions, can also release airborne irritants. Running the microwave fan or fume hood can help disperse these particles and remove them from the air. This limits your exposure to these irritants and improves the air quality in your kitchen and your home. It also cuts down on the amount of oil that sticks to the cabinet surfaces and walls near your cooktop.

10. Establish a Smoke-Free Zone

It’s no surprise that cigarette smoke is one of the most toxic, harmful substances you can encounter day-to-day. Tobacco smoke has been linked to lung disease, cancer, respiratory distress, and asthma. However, that doesn’t mean that some of your family members, guests, or visitors won’t refrain from smoking. However, to improve your indoor air quality, you can limit smoke exposure in your home by creating a smoke-free zone indoors. Instead of allowing people to smoke inside your home, you can have guests take part in smoking activities outside at a safe distance from the home.

Stay Healthy With Clean Indoor Air

Winter weather can be detrimental to the air in your home since it means less fresh air and more people packed into a small space. That’s why it’s more common to experience colds, allergies, and asthma during winter. However, by implementing the tips we suggested in this article, you can purify your home’s indoor air and protect your family members from airborne hazards.

For all your professional heating and air services, you can count on Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air. Our technicians provide everything from maintenance to repairs and replacements for your furnace and air conditioner. We also offer a range of premium air quality solutions, including air filtration purifiers, UV lights, and whole-house fans. If you’re looking for the perfect solution for improving your home’s air, we would be happy to assist you in choosing the right options.

Call us today for more information or to schedule your air quality consultation with Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air!