The water you have flowing into your home's plumbing system needs to be safe to drink and cook with. In addition to filtering the water and disinfecting it as it enters municipal water systems, you have to ensure it does not become contaminated with pathogens in your home's plumbing. Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaire's disease, appears to thrive more when your pipes have a lot of scale, which occurs if your home has hard water. Installing a water softener can help reduce this threat.
Why Hard Water Leads to Scale
Hard water has an excessive amount of minerals such as calcium that can leave that whitish residue on your glasses and shower door. That whitish residue is called scale, and it can build up quite a bit inside pipes. The residue is left behind when the water dries up but the mineral deposits have nowhere else to go. These chunks of scale are not smooth, nor are they nice and orderly in the geometric sense; they can be craggy with lots of places where water can flow in but not out.
Why Scale Promotes Legionella
Scale can create these hiding places for water to cool down and become stagnant. If a Legionella bacterium manages to get into one of these little hiding places, it can multiply if the water temperature is in its comfort zone. This is why you're supposed to keep your water heater temperature above 120 degrees F, to kill off these bacteria. However, if the water temperature isn't high enough, some bacteria can survive and grow, leading to water contamination if they can get back into the main water flow that leads to your faucets.
Why Water Softening Installation Can Help Reduce Legionella
So, to reduce the risk of Legionella growing in your plumbing, where it can eventually lead to you developing Legionnaire's disease, you need to both keep the water hot enough to kill the bacteria and get rid of as much scale as you can. For the scale that can form inside your home's pipes, that means you need to get a water softener if you have hard water. These softeners will remove a lot of the excess minerals as the water enters your home's plumbing system, leading to less scale buildup.
While the relationship between hard water and Legionnaire's doesn't mean you'll definitely develop the disease if you use hard water, it does appear to increase the risk. Have a water softener installed as soon as you can to ensure that your plumbing and tap water are as safe as possible. Talk to a water softener installation service to learn more.