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Phosphoric Acid


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After a few years of being unable to do some basic maintenance tasks on the boat due to some physical constraints, at last, I am now in better physical health and itching to get started.  Amongst those tasks is to service my in built diesel generator including flushing the raw water system.  I was considering introducing some descaler into the system via the raw water strainer and allowing it to sit in the system for a few hours before emptying it.  I was going to use phosphoric acid diluted to 45% as the descaler.  As most members of this forum are considerably more knowledgeable than me I thought it might be best to run this idea past you before I do😂

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Citric acid, formic acid or oxalic acid are more common descalers. 

Phosphoric acid is usually used as a rust remover.  After removing the rust, any unconsumed acid goes on eating the steel, until the acid is consumed, so it is normal to use inhibited phosphoric acid for derusting.  I am also not sure how Phos acid gets on pros aluminium alloys.

 

  Can you set the genny cooling up so that you could use one of the proprietary engine cooling space cleaners?  That would be my preference.

N

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14 hours ago, BEngo said:

Citric acid, formic acid or oxalic acid are more common descalers. 

Phosphoric acid is usually used as a rust remover.  After removing the rust, any unconsumed acid goes on eating the steel, until the acid is consumed, so it is normal to use inhibited phosphoric acid for derusting.  I am also not sure how Phos acid gets on pros aluminium alloys.

 

  Can you set the genny cooling up so that you could use one of the proprietary engine cooling space cleaners?  That would be my preference.

N

You are obviously quite right about it being used for treating rust but one of the benefits of the acid is that it doesn’t attack the metal, just the rust.  I believe it’s also the prime ingredient in ‘Barnacle Buster’ so I’m guessing it doesn’t attack the seals.  

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On 29/07/2021 at 09:29, Tracy D'arth said:

If you have mixed metals in the system, using central heating boiler descaler which is safe on aluminium is a safer bet. Screwfix and Tool Station can supply

 

14 hours ago, CompairHolman said:

Citric acid would have the same descaling power but be safe to handle, cheap to buy, ( Wilco)  and biodegradable. As long as there is no aluminium in the system. 

 

 

Thank you both.  I’m unsure if there is aluminium anywhere in the system, I can’t think where there would be but fernox may be a good option.

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