FACT: Calgary Has Hard Water

FACT: Your Home Has A Hot Water Heater

FACT: Proactive Water Heater Replacement Saves $

When it comes to water quality and water heaters, here are the things you need to know to keep it running smoothly.
Let’s start by talking about some of the different set ups you may have in your home. You could have any of the following:

  • Atmospheric (natural draft) Water Heater
  • Power Vent (single pipe with blower) Water Heater
  • Power Direct (2 pipe with blower) Vent Water Heater

And yes, there are even more options in the variety of ways we heat water for domestic use.  Maybe you have one of these higher efficiency versions:

  • Tankless Water Heater
  • Combination Tankless Water Heater
  • Boiler (efficiency ranges with type of boiler) with Indirect Storage Tank

It can be overwhelming to even know which one you have, if you are looking for more information on your heater, just send us a picture of the tank and the rating plate and we can assist you.  connect@aqualityplumber.com

Now depending on what you have in your home, the effect of hard water will vary.  So protect yourself and your appliance by reading the rest of this blog, or skip through to the areas that apply to your current situation, and use the other sections as alternatives you may look at in the future.

Atmospheric, Power Vent, & Power Direct Vent Water Heaters

These are the oldest water heaters we will see, and very little technology which as a positive can lead to less breakdown.  They are also likely going to be phased out like furnaces did long ago due to lack of efficiency.  If your plan is to have the lowest cost to replace, and have a life expectancy of about 10 years I would suggest doing this sooner than later before code converts to no longer permit these tanks. As a side note, this has been discussed for a very long time, and we still do not have 100% confirmation when the new laws will take effect.  The buzz right now is as early as June 2023 we will see changes starting to be made.

If you choose to replace your water heater and have never had a softener, and have had your tank last longer than the expected life of 10 years, you likely have a tank full of calcium that has created a cast which is now protecting your water heater from rupturing.  This is the miracle of hard water, and why we do not recommend flushing your water heater when you have hard water.  We have not seen enough benefit from the flushing or enough problems from not flushing.  In fact the main positive remains, your tank may last longer.  Before you get too excited, your tank will be running with very poor efficiency, but if you have hot water when you want it, most people remain satisfied.

On the other hand, if you install a water softener with this type of water heater, you will keep the inside in much better shape.  However, the odds of getting it to last beyond the expected timeline reduces.  In fact, with the soft water you must ensure you change the anode rod in your tank between year 4 and 5.  If you don’t, the aggressive soft water could prematurely rupture your tank.

The anode rod is a sacrificial component within the tank that is designed to have the water attack it instead of the tank itself.  Once it is eaten away, the water will attack the tank, so be sure to replace this part between year 4 and 5 to increase your chances for a full life of your tank.

You can see how vital knowing your water and your tank is to ensure a reasonable life from your appliance.

Tankless and Combination Tankless Hot Water Heater

When it comes to any tankless water heater and hard water, you need to ensure you are at a hardness of less than 5-7 grains of hardness.  To give you an idea of where we are at in Calgary, and it is similar in surrounding treated areas like Okotoks, and Airdrie.  It will vary throughout the year, and based on where you are in the City. Here are the numbers and for more information check out the City of Calgary online:  https://www.calgary.ca/water/drinking-water/water-quality-parameters.html#levels

Bearspaw Treatment Plant Effluent Water Hardness (mg CaCO3) for 2021

Monthmg/L CaCO 3grains/gallon


Glenmore Treatment Plant Effluent Water Hardness (mg CaCO3) for 2021

Month​mg/L CaCO 3grains/gallon

As you can see, no matter where you are, it is simply too high for a tankless to remain clear of deposits and build up that will affect the function and life of the unit. There are some units getting better to accept harder water, however over time the unit will inevitably disappoint if we do not provide more balanced or soft water to the unit.

Tankless water heaters rely on heating small amounts of quick moving water extremely fast with high BTU capabilities.  If you restrict the flow, you risk overheating, cracking a heat exchanger, and likely out thousands of dollars to repair or replace. The heat exchanger is the most expensive part in the unit, and if it cracks the unit will leak and stop operating correctly and in many cases damage electrical components from the dripping water.

There are 2 options we suggest, recommend, frankly you require one of them if you were to install a tankless with our team.  We want you to have a long life with your heater, not one that has you calling back in a couple years that it is already broken. Remember, we have a free in house audit to go over your specific needs and ensure we are priced to your home.  If you receive a firm quote by phone or email without a visit or at least virtual assessment, expect pricing to go up from unexpected variables or you may have overpaid.

OPTION 1 – *$298.00

The Nuvo H2O Water Heater System (15001 DPHC H20 Heater Cleaner) not only prevents hard water build-up but it reduces and removes existing scale, helping to restore your water heater to near-new efficiencies. The NuvoH2O Water Heater System not only saves on the operating costs of your water heater but can reduce maintenance costs and extend the life of this critical appliance.

It was engineered around a compact, integrated cartridge and housing with a quick-connect design that makes maintenance quick and easy. The self-locking mechanism assures a leak-proof connection in seconds without all of the mess typically associated with the cartridge replacements found in competitive systems.


  • Protects and extends the life of water heaters, plumbing fixtures and appliances by preventing the accumulation of scale
  • Removes scale restoring operating efficiencies to water heaters and appliances
  • Eco-friendly – no salt, no waste water, no electricity
  • Compact design – fits almost anywhere
  • Extends the life of your dishwasher
  • Developed from 25+ years of commercial experience
  • Easy, quick-connect change cartridge

Replacement Filters – *Current Pricing *$84.00 each with recommendation to change every 9-12 months.

OPTION 2 – *$2250.00

High-Efficiency Performance for the Lowest Salt & Water Usage Ever!


  • Exclusive WG 185UF NSF Certified electronic control valve with reliable piston, seal, and spacer technology
  • Cabinet or Twin Tank models
  • User-friendly backlit LCD display
  • The “No Touch” information display rotates key info like the last regeneration date and volume remaining
  • 48-hour memory back-up
  • Meter Immediate, Meter Delayed, Meter Override, and Calendar Clock mode
  • Adjustable cycle times
  • The brine safety valve provides extra overflow protection
  • Unique bypass with an integrated space-saving turbine meter and sample ports on the inlet
  • The one-piece design avoids meter jamming
  • Time-saving quick connect fittings on bypass, drain and brine line and power cord even has a quick connect for easy valve spin on
  • Drain line o-ring eliminates the need for Teflon
  • Condensation tank jacket (twin tank models)
  • Hose clamp and 10’ of drain tubing included
  • IAPMO R & T Certified against CSA B483.1
  • Potable Expansion Tank and Backflow Device included in pricing as required by code

*All pricing based on April 2023, pricing may change.

You can choose if you want the descaler or a full home true water softener.  There are alternate models from Nuvo as well that can do your whole home with descaled water.  Give us a call if you need more information. We provide no charge consultations at your home or virtually to discuss your specific needs.  If you have a water heating system that is getting close to 10 years, best to give us a call and get proactive on your hot water.