Cleaning sediment out of water system

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Pat

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I plan to install a water filtration system to remove taste and odor and AZ sediment from water.  How can I remove old sediment from my hoses and pipes in my motorhome?  Stuff has accumulated for 4 years now.  I have a nifty wand that cleans out the water heater beautifully.  Is there a way to clean the holding tanks?  The fresh water tank?  Last year I was rinsing out my sewer hose when I noticed lots of chips of white plaster falling out.  I hate to think what my poor piping has accumulated. 


--pat
 

Jim Dick

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Pat,

Was it plaster or plastic? Many times when tanks are installed they do not clean them out and we find lots of plastic in the water lines. One of the "unofficial" items during PDI is to remove the screens on the faucets and turn on the water. This will wash much of the plastic out. We also take the screens apart and it's amazing how much "stuff" has accumulated. Many times water will not flow until they are cleaned.

the only way to flush out tanks is to fill and refill unless you have a back flush. Run water through your lines without the faucet screens.

 

Pat

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Jim:  Plaster.  Hard, thick flakes of the stuff.  Maybe the equivalent of a couple cups.  I assume it's the calcium or whatever's in AZ water.  When I replaced the black tank valve, a layer of it had solidified to the old seals.  Has to be scraped like tooth plaque to get it off. 

--pat
 

Jim Dick

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Pat said:
Jim:  Plaster.  Hard, thick flakes of the stuff.  Maybe the equivalent of a couple cups.  I assume it's the calcium or whatever's in AZ water.  When I replaced the black tank valve, a layer of it had solidified to the old seals.  Has to be scraped like tooth plaque to get it off. 

--pat

OK, I understand now. I remember a few years ago when we were staying in Quartzsite the water had been drippng at the bib a couple of sites away. There was a mound of white "plaster" beneath it. I knew then I didn't want to run unfiltered water in my system from AZ!!! :)

Not sure how to get that stuff out of the tanks.

 

Jim Godward

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Pat,

we have some of the same stuff here in MT.  I use a gallon of vinegar in my fresh water tank, fill it with the best water I can get and let it sit for a few days.  This usually does a pretty good job.  I do it just like I was using chlorine to purify the tank.  Then flush with fresh water and then use chlorine to clean the tank further.

To prevent further build up you need the water softener.

About to do the same with my MH.  I also will be doing both the grey and black tanks.  Costco has good prices on vinegar.  BG

Jim


Pat said:
Jim:? Plaster.? Hard, thick flakes of the stuff.?
 

Pat

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Jim:  I don't use my fresh water tank.  It's bone dry.  However, I was wondering how to clean out the holding tanks.  I'll get a couple gallons of vinegar.  Maybe I can leave it in there on the way back to AZ to slosh around. 

--pat
 

Steve CDN

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Pat,

Be sure to flush out your hot water heater as well and replace the consumable rod while you're at it.  I flush out the hot water tank a few times a year with a contraption I made that is attached to the end of a hose.  The idea is to form an angle on a length of rigid pipe so the spray is directed to the right, left, top and bottom of the tank as you rotate the bent pipe.    I find it takes a good half hour of flushing, allowing the water to drain and repeating the process before most of the scaling is flushed out.
 

Jim Godward

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Pat,

>>I don't use my fresh water tank.<<

You said that you have stuff in the lines.  If you mean the fresh water lines, you need to ge the vinegar into them and let it soak.  The only way I know is to use the fresh water tank and have a solution on vinegar and water.

DO NOT USE VINEGAR FULL STRENGTH ANYWHERE!!  If you use it in the grey and black tanks, after putting in the vinegar, fill them with water.

 

Pat

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Steve:  I got a wand for cleaning the hot water tank.  I think it's from CampingWorld.  Works great.  I always keep a spare anode rod on hand.  This time it needed changing.  i have a socket that fits it.  I don't rinse for a half hour, but I spray all around and reach inside to feel near the exit to make sure it feels smooth and clean and that there's no sediment caught at the exit.  Interesting how much I get out even though I never heat water.  That's why I worry about the rest of the water system being full of sediment.

I'm going to try the vinegar solution.  I read once to use a bottle of Real Lemon and water to clean off the gauge contacts in the holding tanks.  It cleaned one in the black water tank, but only for one use.  I don't bother with the gauges.  I just look.  Also, the 3/4 and full gauges on the grey tank still work, so I can tell when that needs emptying.  Since it's really not that hard to decide when the tanks need emptying, I never do the fill and rinse and empty process.  I think it's an unacceptable waste of water.

--pat
 

Jim Dick

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Steve said:
Pat,

Be sure to flush out your hot water heater as well and replace the consumable rod while you're at it.  I flush out the hot water tank a few times a year with a contraption I made that is attached to the end of a hose.  The idea is to form an angle on a length of rigid pipe so the spray is directed to the right, left, top and bottom of the tank as you rotate the bent pipe.    I find it takes a good half hour of flushing, allowing the water to drain and repeating the process before most of the scaling is flushed out.

Steve,

Just so some folks don't get confused, not all water heaters have the consumable rod otherwise known as a sacrificial anode. A****er doesn't use them but Suburban does. I believe it's the different metals used in the tanks that determines the use.

 

Steve CDN

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Thanks for the reminder, Jim!  In fact mine (and yours)  do not have one...which should have been a clue to me {LOL}
 

John From Detroit

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James Godward said:
DO NOT USE VINEGAR FULL STRENGTH ANYWHERE!!  If you use it in the grey and black tanks, after putting in the vinegar, fill them with water.

Just out of coursity?  Why do you issue this warning, or is straight vinigar strong enough to damage stuff?

(I do know a lot of places that use, far as I'm concerned, far too uch vinigar, "Southern Cooking" usually means 1:Fried or 2: Boiled in vinigar, at leatin this part of the north
 

Jim Godward

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John,

>>Why do you issue this warning, or is straight vinigar strong enough to damage stuff?<<

Yes, it can damage stuff as it is a fairly good acid.  Not as trong as swimming pool stuff and some others but a reasonably good one.  VBG

Acetic acid if you want to know.  G
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would be very much surprised if straight household vinegar damaged anything in a water system.  As acids go, vinegar is quite weak and won't affect plastics, vinyls and rubber even if applied full strength and soaked for an hour.  The typical wine or cider vinegar is only around 5-7% acetic acid to begin with, so it is already diluted.

Just my opinion...
 

Jim Godward

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Gary,

Generally I agree with you but not being sure of the materials in a system, i go for the safe side.? If there are dis-similar metals, electrolysis is a problem and can be bad is short time periods with stronger acids.

Also to do what they want to do will take a lot of gallons of acid and a more dilute solution over a long time is cheaper and will do the job.? I use 1 gallon in my 100 gallon tank and let it soak for a couple of days.?

I do have copper and ??? pot metal in the lines so I do watch them closely.? So far I have only cleaned the lines in the Dutch Star once in 5 years.? I am about to do the grey tank and the black tanks next week.? This mostly to clean out the traps etc, on the grey and store both for a couple of months in the heat.? VBG
 
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