How to Remove Lime from a Water Heater


James asked: How do I clean lime out of my RV hot water tank? I am getting build up of lime in my RV hot water heater. Will vinegar remove the lime and not hurt the tank?

Removing lime build up from a hot water tank can be a tricky situation. While vinegar would loosen the lime, there must be sufficient drainage to allow all of the particles to drain out. For home water heaters, it is advisable to drain them completely at least once a year. This will cause any loose deposits to be removed before they build up. For an RV water heater, the vinegar should not hurt it as long as it is not left to sit in the unit. However, vinegar will be introduced to all of the water that flows through the machine, so the entire system will need to be flushed to remove both the loosened lime as well as the vinegar. It is best to purchase a new water heater when lime build up gets so bad that it cannot function anymore. The average lifespan of a water heater is 10 years, less in areas with high mineral content in the water. If you are unsure of the problem, contact a plumber for additional assistance servicing your unit to ensure it is not damaged during the cleaning process.

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