Lime Buildup Chemistry?


There is heavy lime buildup in the water trap of my toilet bowl. Does anyone know the chemistry?
The toilet has a four gallon flush tank and I am reluctant to pull a flush for a simple pee. My solution is to fill a one gallon bucket with water and flush that. There will be a trace of yellow urine remaining but it is dilute enough not to smell or look gross. I am the only occupant so toilet traffic isn't that heavy. The trouble of course is that after about six months the lime buildup is bad enough that I have to use a teaspoon (curved surface) to scrape off the lime, followed by steel wool and a scouring pad. What is there in diluted urine that will cause the lime to to precipitate out of solution and stick to the porcelain?
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Probably not in urine, which is usually slightly acidic, but in the water you flush with, there's an abundance of minerals, base in pH. I appreciate your saving water by using a bucket. Tom
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I have a theoretical problem in that the toilet bowl contains almost pure tap water, the same stuff in the pipes. If the water in the bowl can cause lime to precipitate out shouldn't the same process happen inside the pipes and block them eventually? My house is 30 years old and I haven't come across blocked pipes among any of my friends or in the general household complaints in my city.
Toilet problems are not something we normally talk to friends on. But I spoke to my sis and she says she has lime buildup in her toilet bowl too. She says she uses the green stuff (often appears on TV ads, quite pricey) and it works. I did try that some years ago on the lime buildup on my bathtub and it didn't work. I also tried concentrated HCl and conc. H2SO4. Neither worked and I will not use that nasty stuff again as it will probably damage the plumbing and my health.
Its back to scraping for now.
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Try vinegar. Let it sit overnight. Why do you think the build-up is lime?
What happens if you dip a half-gallon or so of water out of the toilet tank and boil it dry?
If you dip a wire into the bowl so it brushes the bottom, can you detect a voltage between there and a nearby ground?
How about between the supply pipes and ground?
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PaPaPeng wrote: I have a theoretical problem in that the toilet bowl contains almost pure tap water, the same stuff in the pipes. If the water in the bowl can cause lime to precipitate out shouldn't the same process happen inside the pipes and block them eventually?
Do you find that the build-up occurs at the waterline, or on the entire bowl? Tom
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Just where there is standing water as in the bottom of the bowl chute.
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Clearly you should just pee in the sink. Then you could "flush" with a mere pint of water.
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Not practical. You still have to to wash off the spatter and that requires extra water and effort. An ecologically friendly solution will be ................nah. Too Rube Goldberg.
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Washing machine standpipe, then.
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Actually you just revived an idea I had for a small wall mount stand-up urinal in the home similar to the urinals in the Men's public restrooms. A more decorative and discreet design for the home of course. The advantages are too obvious to need further elaboration. If women can have their bidet we men should have our special pee spot too and save the environment in the bargain.
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Quick simple cheap/
Muriatic acid/ Use well ventilated and wear glasses.
put a funnel in the dip tube pour half there and the other half in the bowl, wait 15 minutes and flush repeatedly/
brown goo will come out of rim holes and everywhere. toilets flush much better
4 bucks costs minimum, just no splashing
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You have hard water, the mildest way to disolve it is pour in a gallon of vinegar overnight, stronger are products like Lime Away or CLR strongest is muriatic acid but fumes are bad and you will etch the porcelin. A water softener will fix it, its not you.
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On Fri, 10 Mar 2006 16:15:49 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I have already tried all the chemicals including the expensive stuff. Didn't work. My suspicion is that the lime is mainly sulphates and chlorides of calcium with a good dose of magnesium. Acids should cause carbonates to fizz. There is no fizz.
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The lime may be too hard for the acids to attack visibly.
muriatric acid is cheap and effective at most you lose 4 bucks...
justr let it sit 15 minutes not all day so you dont damage the porcelin.
soft water in this today wouldnt remove a lifetime of build up
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wrote:

Muriatic acid is concentrated HCl. Already tried that. Didn't work. Also burned several small holes in my clothing. I wouldn't bring that stuff anywhere inside the house again. The fumes would react with the copper plumbing for example. Also I can't buy this stuff at the hardware store anymore. Its classified as a harzardous substance. I have other sources for strong acids. I don't have any call to get any after experiments didn't clear the lime build-up. As for another comment on a lifetime build-up of lime, I have to do this lime scraping removal two or three times a year.
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PaPaPeng wrote:

Muriatic acid is still being sold where I live. I use it to clean the DE pool filter, and it can be dumped directly into the pool to lower the PH. Go to any pool and spa store to get some if the hardware store doesn't carry it.
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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muriatic acid is one of the few acids availble to regular people. its a hazard like everything else if misused. most drain cleaners are dilute forms of this.
you must be careful and not splash it on clothes or anything else.
I opened window, unscrewed lid, took deep breathe poured carefully and left immediately shutting door. 15 minutes later I reentered, flushed once and left, although the odor was largely gone by that time.
looks like the original poster is going to be doing lots of physical work to clean hios toilet.
incidently I too tried lime away and other less volatile liquids that were acid based. they did NOTHING! So I did muriatic acid, figured it was that or new toilet.
the other stuff didnt react at all to the lime, whereas the acid literally dissolved it, thanks to its being stronger
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Bidets are not just for women. Women seem to understand the need to be truly clean.
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Ammonia. Raises the pH, thus the precipitate.
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wrote:

Sounds right. I think I have a possible solution and that is to squirt a little dishwasher soap into the standing water. That should keep the precipitate in soultion or in suspension until the next flush.
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