For some time now, I've watched mineral deposits slow the flow of water
in selected pipes. Plain household vinegar does an excellent job of
dissolving it... if your can get the vinegar to the metal. Many years
ago I used it in my water take and all turned out well... though there
was no way of really measuring its effectiveness since the water wasn't
being restricted at that time.
Here's my thought; shoot holes in it for me:
By-pass the water tank, shut off the main valve, drain all pipes,
connect a small pump to the line between two separate faucets, pump
vinegar throughout the line, let set 24 hours, return all to original
and flush the system with water.
I've had this idea for nearly 25 years and did nothing. Now I see
there's a commercial service that brings their truck (presumably with
their pump and whatever solvent they use) and do essentially what I propose.
Q1) See any downside to the project?
Q2) See any reason why the outcome might be less than satisfactory?
what are your pipes made of?
copper? may work.
galavanized? forget it.
plastic? probably isnt corroding.
if the corrosion is attacking the lines cleaning them may well cause
leaks, ither immediately or long term. leaks may not be obvious in
walls etc, and cause mold growth and other issues.
is your water supply city water or from a well? either way you might
be better off to treat the water to prevent corrosion.
OP needs to supply more info.
galavanized is the worst the lines just rust internally and then begin
leaking in a downward spiral of fixed a leak got 2 more, fixed 3 now 5
leaks, one damaged the cieling.
a excellent replacement is PEX and since its slippery plastic it will
last longer than anyone here
You have "watched" it. Have you actually _seen_ the deposits? Please
describe what you have seen.
What kind of pipes do you have? What "water tank" do you mean?
I recently cut a couple of copper lines that have carried hard water for
40 years and found virtually no deposits. And my water is very hard:
over 30 grains/gal.
But downstream from the water softener, the pressure was horrible. That
was because the softener resin had turned to mush and was clogging up
the softener's strainer. But that doesn't explain your problem, since
you say you don't have a softener.
I live in Arizona and have very hard water. Steel pipes clog up fast
and eventually develop pinholes, sometimes in just a few years.
Copper pipes build up a layer of calcium that stays thin and doesn't
have to be removed. The pipes also last forever (I live in a home
with 60-year-old copper pipes). Plastic pipes develop an even
thinner layer of calcium, and PVC and CPVC lasts forever, provided
it's covered from sunlight and no gophers chew through it.
yeah its more likely a issue with clogged aerators, clogged low flow
fixtures or my favorite./
my shower became anemic over time didnt realize it till i stayed in a
traced to my wand shower, the head was fine, the lines inner rubber
became detached from the outer braid. flow would be gret for a moment
then drop to a trickle.
i replaced the wand shower assembly and cut the line open out of
inner black rubber was huge, and acting as a flow restrictor.....
i too doubt its a copper line issue
Here's how I led to the speculation:
1) White mineral deposits formed at end of faucet nozzles (lightly but
enough to find material in the screen filters... usually white...assumed
2) Water pressure noticeably lower. Neighbors notice no change in their
On 5/19/2011 8:09 AM, jamesgangnc wrote:
First, regarding your original post -- I think that is an interesting idea
although I really don't know whether it would work or not etc.
But, since you said that you have all copper plumbing, as others have
said -- it doesn't appear that corrosion would be the reason for a lower
Since you wrote earlier that you are finding the low flow problem "in
selected pipes", it may just be that dirt and particles of debris are
clogging the faucet aerator screens etc. If you did any plumbing work
(repairing valves etc.), pieces of dirt and debris can break loose and clog
the screens. Happens all the time. The same could be true if the town did
some work on water lines outside of your house.
Another possibility could be a valve which has a rubber washer that is
broken or damaged or came off from the valve stem. If that happens, opening
the valve can still leave the washer stuck in the valve in a position where
it restricts the water flow. This could be in a main water valve or another
valve somewhere else. You would have to take the valve stem off and look to
I'm glad I shared these thoughts with all of you. I've decided to
reexamine everything. I know there is an end cap on a pipe on the side
of the house where I notice the reduction. It began to drip and I
discovered that the "professional, licensed, plumber" I had rearrange a
few pipes about 30 years ago used a zinc end cap rather than all copper.
It's corroding. I cut into another one about a year ago when it started
to drip and found a tremendous amount of black mush inside. This may be
my root cause.
Also learned from this exercise is that no one seems to find fault with
the idea of purging the system with pure vinegar. And, "No", I'm not a
chef. Vinegar is the least expensive "acid" that will dissolve mineral
deposits and leave a system whole.
Thanks to all of you for taking time to offer your ideas and comments.
On 5/19/2011 3:50 PM, RogerT wrote:
We just think you are wasting your time and money with the whole
vinegar idea. It's not going to fix your problems. And white crumbly
stuff in the screens is often a hw tank dip tube that has fallen
apart. If you have sediment deposits then open some pipes and run the
water at full pressure. You're not going to have calcium deposits
attached to the inside of your copper pipes. Calcium deposist really
only happen in situations where the water is permitted to evaporate
and leave the disolved minerals behind. Otherwise they don't have a
reason to solidify out of the water.
Ok, after reading this whole thread, I am supposed to shut off the
water and fill my pipes with vinegar using a pump. This makes sense.
But when and where do I put in the pickles? Do I put them in whole,
or slice them?
Then what do I do during an emergency. For example, lets assume I got
the vinegar and pickles in the pipes, and suddenly I have to take a
shit, and cant hold it. That's a serious emergency. So, I am forced
to take a shit and flush. When I flush, will I see pickles in the
toilet? If I do, should I eat them?
Last but not least, when this is done, how do I get the vinegar back
in the bottles so I can save it for cooking?
Well, I better get the pickles ready, so I better go.....
Do you mean on the outside of the nozzle? Maybe in the same place where
a drop of water hangs? If so, that is explained by evaporation of the
water part of hard water. I mean the water would evaporate and leave
the hardness minerals behind as a solid, like a stalactite. Since there
is generally no evaporation from the inside of the pipe, you wouldn't
get deposits there, at least not by the same process.
back in the fred flintstone era when I was growing up our family had a
low flow problem and red stuff blocking aerators. The waer company
traced it back to some work they did in the neighborhood.
OP might begin by calling water company for a free diagnose....
Vinegar is likely a bad idea.
Vinegar will attack and possibly damage solder joints, causing a leak
either immediately or long term:( LIKE WHEN NO ONE IS HOME:(
Plus the natural corrosion process coats lead solder, so old copper
lines dont leach lead into the water.... thats bad for peoples health
espically kids and pregnant women it can cause retardation.....
thus the big deal over lead remediation.and why lead solder is no long
sold for water line work...
I think its better to find out exactly why flow has dropped, than take
a shot at vinegar which likely wouldnt help anyway and may well cause
troubles long term........
try calling your water company first
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