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what dissolves calcium build up in drains

What Dissolves Calcium Build up in Drains? A Retired Plumber Shares My Experiences Clearing Clogged Pipes

After 30+ years as a plumber, I’ve seen my fair share of calcium buildup wreaking havoc in people’s plumbing. If your drains are running slow, chances are mineral deposits have accumulated and caused a clog. In this post, I’ll explain how to what dissolves calcium build up in drains in your drains so you can get things flowing freely again.

How Do I Know if I Have Calcium in My Drains?

Over my career, calcium deposits were one of the most common issues I encountered on the job. I’d get calls from frustrated homeowners complaining about backed up drains, gurgling sounds, or toilets that fill up slowly and take forever to flush.

Upon inspection, I’d often find white or yellowish mineral deposits coating the inside of drain pipes and plumbing fixtures. This limescale buildup is from hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. The concentrations of these minerals are what make water “hard.”

Slow draining is usually the first obvious sign of a calcium issue. But clogged and corroded fixtures like showerheads and faucet aerators can also indicate you have hard water deposits accumulating in your plumbing.

What Can I Use to what dissolves calcium buildup in drains Myself?

Over the years, I’ve picked up plenty of useful tricks for dissolving mineral deposits in drains. Here are some of the best homemade drain cleaning remedies I’d recommend:

  • Vinegar – Let vinegar sit in the drain for an hour before flushing with hot water. The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves calcium carbonate. For really stubborn clogs, repeat 2-3 times.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar – First pour baking soda down the drain, then follow with vinegar. The chemical reaction breaks up deposits as it fizzes. Let sit for 30 minutes if possible before rinsing.
  • Citric Acid – Mix powdered citric acid with hot water to create a mild citrus acid solution. Let it dwell in the drain for an hour to dissolve minerals.
  • Boiling Water – Boiling water can help what dissolves calcium build up in drains over time. Pour it down the drain weekly. Just don’t send boiling water into PVC pipes or they may melt!
  • Prevention – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to calcium buildup! I always recommend homeowners flush drains weekly with hot water and clean fixtures regularly.

When Should I Call for Professional Drain Cleaning?

In my experience, Calling a professional plumber is advisable when:

  • Home treatments aren’t making an impact anymore
  • Water is backing up or drains very slowly
  • Multiple drains/fixtures are affected
  • There’s a serious clog you can’t clear on your own

With access to high-pressure jetting tools and industrial strength acids, a pro can scrub out years of accumulated mineral deposits. They can also snake out tough clogs, clean deeper into the drain system, and inspect pipes with a camera.

For extreme calcium buildup cases, repiping portions of the plumbing with plastic pipes may be the answer. PEX and PVC drain lines resist hard water mineral deposits much better than metal pipes.

How Can I Prevent Calcium Buildup in My Drains?

To help homeowners avoid repeat calcium drain clogs, I always recommend considering a water softener if your area has hard water. Water softeners remove the calcium and magnesium ions using a process called ion exchange.

Upgrading old galvanized or copper pipes to plastic is another good preventive measure, since PEX and PVC don’t corrode and accumulate mineral deposits.

Straining debris in drains with a hair catcher or drain cover also helps prevent gunk from collecting around calcium deposits and causing a clog.

Lastly, be diligent about cleaning fixtures like showerheads and faucet aerators where calcium can rapidly build up. A monthly soak in vinegar will what dissolves calcium build up in drains mineral deposits before they block water flow.

I hope these tips from my years as a plumber help you keep calcium buildup from slowing your drains! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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