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- Shane Katsoolis, Seattle, WA 98119-2546
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Q. "What is scale build-up?"
A. Scale build-up, also called hard water, generally attributed to calcium and magnesium minerals, chiefly calcium carbonate (CaCO3), is the chalky off-white stuff mostly seen on and around your bathtub, faucets, and spigots. It is commonly found in rocks, limestone, shells, dietary supplements, and of course your hard water. It effects over 85% of the water in the United States. As well as seeing it manifest on your faucets, it forms on the interior of your plumbing (where you can't see) and this is where it does the most damage. Calcium Carbonate lines your water heater, or tankless water heater, reducing the heating efficiency of your tankless water heater, and it can restrict the water flow, in time. The longer this goes on untreated the worse it becomes. You may be lucky enough to have a water softener installed, or not have any hard water at all.
Q. "How often should I flush my tankless water heater?"
A. The answer for this really depends on your water condition. If you are in an area of extremely hard water, then you may want to do this every 6 months, while some areas would be fine with once per year. The general rule of thumb is once per year, but there is no exact time-frame as to when you should flush your system for hard water build-up. Some tankless water heaters will display error codes informing you of scale build-up in the system and the need to flush the system. You may need to contact your tankless manufacturer for a better recommendation for your heater.
Q. "How long does the scale removal process take?"
A. This depends on how long you've gone without doing it, but it is generally recommended that you allow the household vinegar to circulate the system for at least 45 minutes. You will then need to flush the system for 5 to 10 minutes with fresh water before the heater is ready to operate.
Q. "How does the white vinegar work to eliminate scale?"
A. White vinegar's chemical name is acetic acid, and is expressed as CH3COOH + H2O. The acetic acid will react with the calcium cation to dissociate with carbon dioxide and water, causing the scale build-up to slowly break up. A fun test is to take a few drops of acetic acid and drop it on a rock with carbonates and see it "fizz".
Q. "My water heater's instructions say to only flush for 30 minutes. Which instructions should I follow?"
A. The instructions with the pump are for general applications. If your water heater instructions are different, ALWAYS follow the instructions that are included with your water heater.
Q. "Do I need to put the pump into the basin?"
A. No, these great systems are pre-assembled and ready to put into service.
Q. "Can I flush my water heater better if I reverse the hose connections?"
A. We DO NOT recommend that the water flow be reversed from the normal operation. Many tankless heaters include internal switches that are controlled by the flow of water. Reversing the flow could damage these sensors or switches as well as the tankless heater itself.
Q. "Why should household vinegar or water be the only liquids ran through the pump?"
A. The pump is designed to be used with virgin white vinegar or fresh water. Other acidic or caustic chemicals may cause the premature failure of the pump. Water is also run through the pump during the flushing process.
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