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Old 09-28-2016, 07:34 PM   #1
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Calcium buildup in water lines

everytime I travel and use my water pump, my toilet valve clogs up with calcium to where it won't pull any water to flush. I've added bleach to my water tank and let it sit for weeks and dumped it. Did this three times. I'm on the road and its clogged again and now it's clogging my kitchen faucet too. What can I do to fix this problem?
Frustrated in Alabama!
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:57 PM   #2
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A water softener is the answer.
There are many brands available and a box of table salt is all that is needed for recharging.
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:13 PM   #3
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Bleach does not do anything for calcium buildup. Vinegar will break down a calcium buildup. CLR also works great for unclogging tap screens and shower heads.

A water supply that is low in Calcium or Magnesium carbonate (hardness) is best to prevent scale build up. I am surprised that Calcium buildup occurs so quickly from the water tank and pump. Where are you getting the water to fill the tank? You may want to select a better water quality to fill your tank.

Are you confident it is a calcium buildup?

Curious.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:28 AM   #4
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As well have you checked the screen on the suction side of the water pump? If it is plugged or only passing 20-30% of the high flow volumes required for the toilet or kitchen faucet, it may show the same symptoms as a clogged toilet valve or kitchen faucet.

The screen bottom usually screws off and you can remove the screen.

Looks like this:
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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Calcium carbonate (hardness scale)is inversely soluble as the temperature increases. A water softener will greatly help. One thing to do is drain your hot water heater. Remove the pressure relief valve and pour in a gallon of white vinegar. Fill the rest of the water heater, leave the pressure relief valve off and let the vinegar sit over night. Drain the water heater in the morning you'll be surprised at the junk that comes out. As far as cleaning out the cold water pipes, you are probably better off if you find a plumber who knows how to descale a boiler and set up a recirculation pump to descale piping. It will require some ingenuity.

I don't want to get into the chemistry of the scale, but bleach will NOT help you, in fact it may even increase the scale forming.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:53 PM   #6
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Use a water softener. Try to use something like CLR to get rid of your existing mineral deposits.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:55 AM   #7
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Question

Thanks everyone for the comments. I searched this forum for anything on this subject and couldn't find anything so I googled it and it brought me to this forum! Go figure! I found some good suggestions that I am going to try. As for my water and where I got all this calcium from, it came from my lot in Mississippi which has very hard water but thanks to my RV guy who told me to use Clorox, I never thought to google it. Needless to say I'm looking for another RV guy! And yes I will be buying a water softener. Every trip is a learning experience, just wish I would have known better than to back into a tree! Ouch did a good boo boo! Also I have no problem with the water coming thru the faucets, only the toilet, which I have to take the valve off and clean it out.
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:15 AM   #8
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Softener for the lot in Mississippi? or for the coach?

For the sticks and bricks house I have had good luck with Kinetico systems (they are expensive but well built and reliable) for my very hard water on my acreage (500 ppm hardness or 29 grains/gallon). Its a two tank system and have softened water 24/7. I have no iron or turbidity in my well water. Kinetico has add on systems for additional treatment options, like turbidity (regenerative filters), arsenic removal, etc.

For the coach most use systems like the On-the-Go systems (RVFilterStore is a good source).

Hope this helps,
Brian
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:50 AM   #9
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The other thing you could try is to leave your water tanks full when not using the coach (obviously not possible if it needs to be winterized unless you use a lot of antifreeze) When tanks and lines are empty the scale and clay lining dries out, cracks and falls off ready to clog everything up when you next fill up.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:15 AM   #10
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I'm a full timer so I always have water in my tank but maybe only about half full. Once I put a softener system on hopefully the problem will be fixed. Getting all the calcium out of the tank and lines is going to be the fun part! I did read to winterize with vinegar and let it sit for 24-48 hours which is going to be an inconvenience but I'll take that over a clogged toilet that I still have to take apart and clean the valve. This will be the fourth time! Ah the joys of RV'ing! Can't say I'm not learning tho!
Thank you everyone for your help.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:28 AM   #11
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We have hard water out in the desert. When ever there is a sale at the local HD, I buy several faucet sets at one time. Only way to fix faucets is to replace them. The pipes are handled by a salt water softner. Haven't seen any other way to clear the pipes. Vinegar works to a degree, but won't help with years of build up in plastic pipes. Never tried it on my water heater.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:00 PM   #12
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I bought my rig when it was 5 years old. It had only traveled in the southwest deserts and did not have a softener. There were hard water alkaline crystal buildups everywhere!
I bought the softener, cleaned the faucet screens, and all of the deposits slowly disolved and disappeared in a few months.
It's like reverse osmosis! No alkalines in the water? It scrubs it all.
My softener is the larger 16,000 grain capacity On-The-Go.
Spend some change and clean your pipes!
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonfu View Post
We have hard water out in the desert. When ever there is a sale at the local HD, I buy several faucet sets at one time. Only way to fix faucets is to replace them. The pipes are handled by a salt water softner. Haven't seen any other way to clear the pipes. Vinegar works to a degree, but won't help with years of build up in plastic pipes. Never tried it on my water heater.
You're lucky you can use faucets from HD. I tried that, didn't work! However, I do have a cheapo backup! You're right, the only way to fix them is to replace them!
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CampDaven View Post
I bought my rig when it was 5 years old. It had only traveled in the southwest deserts and did not have a softener. There were hard water alkaline crystal buildups everywhere!
I bought the softener, cleaned the faucet screens, and all of the deposits slowly disolved and disappeared in a few months.
It's like reverse osmosis! No alkalines in the water? It scrubs it all.
My softener is the larger 16,000 grain capacity On-The-Go.
Spend some change and clean your pipes!
Thanks for that info cuz I was going to buy the 8,000 grain but now I'll go to 16,000. This whole problem has not really affected my faucets, just my toilet valve. I have vinegar in the water tank to dissolve the calcium if that's where it's at! I did do the heater and a good bit of calcium came out. I'm beginning to wonder if the line to the toilet is hot water!!!!!
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