Three Ways to Prevent Lime Scale Build Up in your Hot Water Tank
Hard water causes a lot of problems in the plumbing systems and appliances in the home, and one of them is limescale build up. Limescale is a white chalky precipitate of calcium or magnesium bicarbonate, which adheres to the surface of plumbing fixtures when they repeatedly come into contact with hard water. When limescale is left unchecked in the water heater, it reduces the lifespan of the heating element, forcing you to replace the entire system than you would have if you prevented it. Here are three practical ways to control limescale build up in your hot water tanks.
Use a water softener
This should be the first thing that you should consider doing to all hard water before it comes into contact with any of your plumbing. Water softeners work by removing calcium and magnesium ions from the hard water. Most of the time, sodium or hydroxide ions are used in the chemical reaction which softens hard water. When the hard water is passed through the softening system, the rate of limescale build-up in the hot water tank reduces significantly, and what is even better, your entire plumbing system is protected.
Vinegar is a weak acid which dissolves the sodium and magnesium bicarbonate ions which lead to the formation of limescale. If you have a solar water heater, pour some of the vinegar in the collector tank and allow it to circulate for a few moments. For the other systems, you can add the vinegar to the drain tank. Close the valve and add a gallon of the vinegar, then let it sit for six to eight hours. It is also a good idea to remove the electrodes and soak them in the vinegar to remove limescale coating.
Flush the water tank
Flushing the tank is another simple yet effective way to minimise the build-up of limescale. Just close the cold-water inlet and open the drain valve to remove all the particles which might have accumulated inside the tank. You can flush your hot water tank once or twice a year.
Those are three ways that you can prevent the formation of limescale in your hot water tank. Remember that if you feel that the limescale has reached levels where it is interfering with the function of the tank, it is advisable to call in a hot water plumber to help restore the tank to its normal function in the case of a fault.