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  1. #1
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default How to remove calcium from water heater

    Been in house 3 years, last night I replaced both elements (only 1 bad) in water heater and found couple inches of calcium buildup in the bottom. I fabricated a scoop from 3/4 pvc by essentially cutting it in half lengthwise and scooped as much out as I could through that itty bitty hole. I had wondered why on earth it took FOREVER to drain [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img] Now I know why, my drain is plugged.

    Is there anything I can put in there to disolve the calcium and clean out my tank or should I just limp a bit longer and when I install a softner, just replace my water heater also?

    I also had a dim light go off in my head (my ideas aren't always THAT bright in spite of my last name [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]) anyway, maybe take the old element (or search for equivilantly threaded aperatus) and take the center portion out. (don't ask me how). Attach a protrusion (again, don't ask me how) that can be attached to my shop vac. Screw attachment into bottom hole, turn shop vac on and flush with water while at same time sucking the junk into the vacume.

    Maybe I should simply go to Walmart and buy the Water Heater Calcium Vacume Attachment for $7.99???

    [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater


    Calcium (if that's definitely what it is) deposits are alkaline - so you should be able to dissolve them easily with a mild acid. The old remedy where I grew up was to use vinegar. You might want to give it a try - you can get huge jugs of the stuff at the local Cosco / BJs / whatever.



  3. #3
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    I thought about doing that last night (not knowing the technical alkaline type stuff).

    Would one take (how many) "x" gallons of vinegar and dump it into empty heater tank and let it soak for "X" minutes/hours?

    Drain out and flush tank for while?

    Would you need to heat it at all, or just let it soak/disolve? Any agitation? (I can see me now trying to wrestle tank [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img])

    Thanks
    Richard


  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2001
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    Westminster, Maryland
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    Kubota B7300

    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    You were close. . . . real close. I used a hunk of 3/4" heater hose from the shop vac to a 2 foot long piece of 3/4" soft copper tubing with a long bend. It allowed me to vacuum out the chunks in the bottom. Just kept flushing with water and vacuuming it out. Got 99% of it anyway.



    Steve

  5. #5
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    Now THERE's a bright bulb in the bunch. Me? I used STIFF pvc and could go straight in & out!!! (told you I didin't necessarily earn my last name!)

    Another question:

    From the perspective of the lower element, how far is it to the bottom? Visually on the outside of the tank, it seems to be say, 6 inches but I know the tank can't be that deep. So, do I have 5 inches of crud or maybe 2? It feels like the tank is actually pretty close to the element. (what??? ME get a flashlight!)

    Richard


  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater


    There you go - always more than one way to skin a cat! If you can get 99% with flexible hose then it's a heck of a lot easier than the chemical way ...


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    Nowthen, Minnesota
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    Kubota L3600 with cab/Loader

    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    My water heater was old, and my softener was broken, so I replaced them both at the same time. I did find on a web site that a few service companys suggested draining the tank, then adding a gallon of CLR - wait till the tank stops off gassing (apparently the chemical reaction produces gas), then drain the solution if there's still some calcium deposits left in your heater repeat the process. Of course rinse it real well when your done.


  8. #8

    Join Date
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    East of Seattle, Washington
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    64 MF Utility 35 retired to parts pile.

    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    The CLR does smell. I did our toilet bowls from years of build up. Label does say in ratio it can be used to clean electric coffee pots like vinager. Can't imagine an explosion if you used a match to see in the dark.
    For hot water. Up on the ranch we would simply walk out the front door with the tea kettle (large camp size) and bang it on the porch. Only heat was the wood cook stove. Over the years, that little pile of scale grew. Lots of "min_urls". [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Alabama
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    JD 5210, JD 521 Loader, JD MX6 Rotary Cutter, TufLine 6' Disk, TufLine 6' Grader Blade, TufLine 6' Box Blade

    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    Drain you tank a couple of times a year and it should flush the calcium out besfore it builds up too much.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2001
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    Michigan
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    Kubota L3650/AC B210

    Default Re: How to remove calcium from water heater

    Richard,

    This is your water supply. Be careful what you put in the tank, make sure it's something you can live with drinking. CLR might do it, but I don't know that I would want some in a cup of coffee. Vinegar or orange/grapefruit juice might taste bad in a cup of soup, but at least you won't have to worry about growing an extra head! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

    SHF


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