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  1. #1

    Need help... Hard water / corroded boiler coil?

    Having problems with hot water (not enough, and lack of pressure) in our only residential shower/tub. We receive decent hot water and pressure through all other sinks in the house.
    Here are the facts:

    Well water no sub-pump
    Very hard water (25gpg) and no water softner/filter yet
    Have replaced multiple corroded pipes/pressure valves throughout the house
    4 year old Peerless boiler
    No external hot water heating tank

    Have had plumber/ oil guys / water systems guys out to the house to evaluate the problem.
    1st plumber replaced spool and anti scald device in shower, as well as sinks (all had substantial hard water residue), then pipes checked. He recommended acid bathing the coil in the boiler.

    2nd had oil guy replace mixing valve on boiler (corroded and stripped only after 4 years), boiler cleaned/serviced. Hot water improved a little after mixing valve replaced. States his company does not acid bath any longer, and that it is an unsafe practice. We should not be doing this.

    3rd water systems guy stated that water is so hard in this house, recommendes a softner/filter and that the coil in the boiler is probably corroded as well. He recommended acid bathing the coil.

    So in summary, Is acid bathing the coil a common practice and a safe practice? Are there any other possibilities we have overlooked as a cause? We have had too many professionals at the house to not have this problem solved yet.

    Thanks in advance,
    Emily

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    If you have good hot water temperature and pressure at a faucet close to the heater, then your coil is not the problem. The way to test it is to open the faucet all the way and see if the pressure slows. If it does, that indicates the coil is restricted. If the problem is only at one faucet, then it's a plumbing problem.

    25 grains is really hard, but you MUST have your water tested by an independent lab. Your local plumbing supply house will most likely do this for free. They will give you a clean sample bottle. Take it home and run a hose right from your well tank for several minutes and then fill the bottle.

    Acidic water and hard water go hand in hand. If your water is slightly acidic now, and you treat the hardness for 25 grains, the acidity will go way up. Right now, the hardness is overcoming the acidity in the water. You may need a combination softener/acid neutralizer.

    We don't acid clean coils any longer. It's unsafe for the worker, not the homeowner (unless they are standing watching). Also, unless the acid is left to sit inside the coil, it will not remove all the hardness. If all the hardness is not removed, new minerals find it easier to attach to the old minerals.

    Don't do anything to your system until you get a softener. When you get one, make sure it has a microprocessor head that measures the gallons of water used. That way, you don't waste salt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,074
    Sounds like pipe problems to the shower/tub.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Or dirt in the shower head or single lever faucet. After I work on any domestic lines, I go to the tub and flush both the hot and cold lines.

  5. #5
    Thanks for your help. I guess we need to have a plumber out before acid bathing the coil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Yes, if the problem is at only one faucet. While he's there, ask him if he installs water softeners. Plumbers are usually cheaper than those big companys that do it. And remember what I said about acidic water. Won't be worth it if you start getting pin holes in your copper pipes.

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