How to clean scale from water pipes

Written by james cooper | 13/05/2017
How to clean scale from water pipes
Cleaning scale from water pipes is a challenging project. (plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from

Scale can form in your water pipes and can impede the efficient flow of water. If you have hard water in your system, you are more likely to accumulate scale in your water pipes. Calcium and other substances form in the water and leave deposits in the plumbing. Scale can also form when there is a change in pressure in your water pipes. Consult your water supply company for an analysis of your water and a water treatment specialist to help you clean your water pipes of scale and prevent future build-up. This is not a do-it-yourself project.

Call your water company or water treatment specialist and ask for a water analysis to see if you have hard water and to test the pH of your water.

Add a water softening system to your plumbing. Water softeners replace sodium ions with the scale-causing calcium ions.

Consider having a reverse osmosis system installed that reduces the concentration of all ions in your water by forcing the water in your pipes through a semi-porous membrane.

Add hydrated lime to flush out the calcium carbonate in your pipes. Ask your water treatment specialist to do this based on your water treatment anaysis.

Add hydrochloric or sulphuric acid to the water to lower the pH in your water pipes. Ask a water treatment specialist to do this based on your water analysis.

Add scale inhibitors to your water system like sodium hexametaphosphate to remove and prevent scale deposits. Ask your water treatment specialist do this based on your water analysis.

Things you need

  • Water softening system
  • Reverse osmosis system
  • Hydrated lime
  • Hydrochoric or sulphuric acid
  • Scale inhibitors

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