Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Clean Your Water Pipes

Keeping your water pipes clean and free of debris is just one of the many wonderful parts of home ownership. Learning how to do this job yourself can also save you a lot of money over time, both on plumber's services and by avoiding costly repairs that become necessary when the pipes become clogged, rusted or roots begin growing into the pipes. Cleaning your water pipes isn't as difficult as it sounds and there are a few methods you can use today to keep your pipes clear.

Chemical Cleaners

There are a number of commercial water pipe cleaners on the market you can use to eat away at the rust, lime and calcium deposits that have built up over years. The amount of chemicals and natural minerals running through your pipes depends on where you get water from, and these minerals and chemicals slowly build up along the pipe walls without proper maintenance.

Chemical cleaners should be poured into your main supply pipe, although it's absolutely necessary to flush out the water before you use it for drinking or cleaning. There are also some downsides to using commercial cleaners as strong chemicals can actually cause the pipes to deteriorate over time, possibly requiring replacement or leak repairs from a plumber in the future.

Muriatic acid, or hydrochloric acid, is a popular chemical for removing mineral and scale deposits. It's sold in hardware stores and it's safe to use on copper pipes. To use muriatic acid, pour it into the pipe and let it set for one minute. Then flush the pipes by running water. Inland Empire Plumbing recommends always wearing protective gear while using chemicals like muriatic acid.

Water Softeners

Do you live in an area with hard water? If so, you've probably noticed a lot of white scale deposits on the inside of your pipes and a flaky build up around faucets and shower heads. These deposits, which are made of calcium, lime and a few other minerals, eventually cause major clogs in your water pipes and damage to the entire system. Consider installing a water softener to filter out the minerals. While it won't remove the minerals completely, it will cause enough of a reduction to keep your pipes from from build-up for many years. A qualified plumber in Fontana or elsewhere can install a water softener for you and recommend any other steps you can take to reduce hard water.

Removing Lime Build Up

Hot water pipes are very prone to developing a build up of lime, which is caused by the hot water that dissolves the lime, allowing it to flow freely. Once the water cools off, the lime left over in the pipes will settle, which eventually causes clogs or even a decrease in water pressure.

To fix this problem, empty half of the hot water heater in your home and add lime remover. Refill the tank, let it set for at least a few minutes then run hot water through every faucet until it's free of bubbles. You may need to do this every couple of months, depending how often you use hot water and how bad the problem is.


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  2. And so for the next several hours (yes, hours) I spent trying to repair the water heater. The hex tool seemed to make little difference, mostly because it almost definitely requires three hands to operate. So a grabbed the hammer and a chisel to lightly tap around the edges of the old element in an attempt to loosen it from the tank. I then used the hammer to pound a metal rod I had put through the hex tool until it loosened up enough to simply unscrew it by hand, a feat easier said than done.