• Scale is caused by hard water, or water that contains tiny mineral particles such as calcium or limestone. These can bond with the metal in pipes and faucets, creating deposits known as scale. Although scale builds slowly, it can cause a number of different problems depending on where it forms. Loud noises, popping and slowed water flow may all be symptoms of scale build-up. If you know you have hard water, expect scale problems to develop eventually.


    Cleaning scale away requires more than simple scrubbing. The minerals supersaturated in the water chemically bond to the metal in the faucet, so even scrubbing away with a toothbrush or pipe cleaner will probably not do much good. Instead, use powerful acid cleaners to dissolve the scale bonds. Find these acid solutions in the cleaning sections of retail stores, but always exercise caution and follow the instructions accompanying the cleaners, because they are usually toxic and can burn skin easily. For a homemade solution that may be less expensive, try mixing equal parts water and vinegar (you may even try increasing the vinegar ratio if you think the scale deposits are bad). Fill a plastic bag with this solution and then tie it over the faucet so that the entire faucet head is submerged and the solution is forced up into the faucet itself. You can use rubber bands, metal clamps, or whatever other method you want to keep the plastic bag on. Leave the bag tied on overnight, and in the morning remove it and flush out the faucet. It may take more than one treatment to provide a noticeable difference.


    If scale problems are building up in your faucet, they are probably building up in your pipes first, and there is usually nothing that can be done with scale in pipes except to replace them with new ones. If you have a constant hard-water problem, you may want to consider installing a water softener near your pump so that mineral deposits are minimized. Using a water softener on your faucet or in your washing machine will not actually help protect your pipes, so install it at the water source coming into your home.


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