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Thread: Calcium in water lines

  1. #1

    Cool Calcium in water lines

    I have a 14 year-old house in Austin Texas and I think I have some serious calcium buildup in my lines. I'm always having to clean out the aerators throughout the house and when I fill my bathtub up, there are always little chunks of white pieces that crumble when I crush them up.

    Is there a way to clean the calcium out of the pipes throughout the house? If I install a water softener would that work or would that just keep the calcium from building up anymore?

    Sincerely,
    Single Female homeowner

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Shelly it may be something a little bit different than what you are thinking.

    Click here for information on your calcium plugging the aerators

    Do the vinegar test in the above link, to verify the diagnosis.
    Given the age I would consider replacement.

  3. #3

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    Thank you so much for your reply - it was very helpful! I did the vinegar test and am excited to report that the pieces didn't dissolve so I'm assuming that it is my dip tube. Do you have a good website with an explanation on how to replace it? Is it very hard to do?

    Thanks!
    Shelly

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Well Shelly I'm afraid that it isn't really good news.

    The Dip Tube is located under the cold inlet to the water heater. To replace it the cold line would have to be cut then unscrewed from the water heater to allow any remaining parts of the dip tube to be removed and the new one installed. The water heater would have to be flushed to get any of the remaining pieces out of the heater and even then there probably will be some left.

    Any water heater with a bad diptube is at least 10 years old and is near the end of it's expected service life. In the case of your 14 year old home I would assume that the water heater is 14 years old. You probably would be better off replacing the water heater. You may be able to get away with replacing just the diptube depending on the condition of the water heater, Then again the very act of trying to unscrew the nipple on the inlet could start a leak that will never stop. Or, the water heater may spring a totally unrelated tank leak one day after fixing it.

    I would recommend replacement of the water heater. If it is a gas water heater you want it replaced with a Bradford-White or, Rheem. You do not want a water heater from Lowes under any circumstances. They sell water heaters made by American Water Heaters which have some bad problems.

  5. #5

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    Well poo!!! I've known for a while that the water heater was close to its death - been making some popping noises every now and then for the past two years. Gotta love how everything comes around tax time!

    Thanks for the suggestion on the brands - I'll definitely avoid Lowe's.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Just so you know how bad their problem is take a look at this thread...

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4362

  7. #7

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    Wow!!! So glad to know that!

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Another new water heater owner saved from the plague of American Water Heaters...

  9. #9
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If you post the Brand, Mod. & Ser.# of your water heater we can tell you how old it is...

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