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Jim Batty

How can I remove limescale from copper shower pipes?

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When. we first moved aboard I was amazed at the 'power shower' we had in the loo. Now, ten years on, the shower is pretty weak -- sort of a vibrant dribble.

 

Given that we get loads of limescale buildup in the kettle and bottom of the porcelain toilet bowl, I'm assuming a similar thing is going on in the pipes that feed the shower. All piping on the boat (that I can see) is what I think of as 'ordinary' 15mm outside diameter copper tubing.

 

Should I be doing something with vinegar?

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So with the shower head removed, how does the flow compare with the taps?  Is it possible that you have one of those fine strainers in the line?

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I've been tempted to get one of those magnetic clamp-on devices which claim to prevent/reduce limescale, but when I looked into it I found reports very mixed and the science dubious.  Has anyone any experience?

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Just a different angle to consider.

 

We hadhot and cold water flow problems on our domestic bathroom sink.  After invesigation of the mixer tap, cartridge etc we discovered that when the tap-unit was removed there was 'rubber' crud sitting on top of the isolator valves.   The internal linings of the flxible connectors had deteriorated and the crud was blocking the flow.  New flexible connectors fixed it.

 

Time for a new shower flex?

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10 hours ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

I've been tempted to get one of those magnetic clamp-on devices which claim to prevent/reduce limescale, but when I looked into it I found reports very mixed and the science dubious.  Has anyone any experience?

Yes I've had one for years. I don't think it really does anything. I've also got a small 12v device from eBay that clips around the main pipe and I have my doubts about the effectiveness of that too. 

 

Edited by blackrose

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Limescale reducing magnets are just like injected chemical damp proof courses. We've got both at home (inherited from the previous owners) and neither of them do anything.

 

Personally I love limescale as it helps to pay my bills each month!

 

Your 15mm copper won't be bunged up with limescale. That would take many decades to happen. As has been suggested, it's likely you have some other kind of obstruction in the pipework or the shower valve (blocked filters on the valve inlets being favourite), so I'd check that first. And as has been said, try the shower with the hose removed from the valve in case the hose inner has collapsed.

 

I soak our shower hose and handset ('head') in vinegar overnight once or twice a year to clean them. You can also empty the toilet bowl and refill it with neat vinegar overnight (if you can cross your legs long enough...) to clean out the limescale in that.

 

I'd suggest not reusing the vinegar on your chips though.

Edited by Joe the plumber
Added the bit about the shower hose.

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14 hours ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

I've been tempted to get one of those magnetic clamp-on devices which claim to prevent/reduce limescale, but when I looked into it I found reports very mixed and the science dubious.  Has anyone any experience?

living on a boat in a hard water area we get limescale

However having fitted magnetic inline devices along the lines of this

https://www.screwfix.com/p/flomasta-magnetic-compression-scale-inhibitor-15mm/581cg

on the outlet of the tank just prior to the pump we went from having to Viacal the stainless sink weekly to every month or so.

Do they work? Cant answer that. ;)

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Right, some good ideas here.

 

I didn't know magnetic compression scale inhibitors even existed.

 

I took the head off the shower again, opened it up and gave all the rubber gasket 'nipples' a clean with pointy wooden cocktail sticks. My tool of choice for similar micro-cleaning jobs. When I went to replace the gasket, it had actually shrunk a bit and would no longer fit flat against the inside of the head. So I think the rubber has decayed a bit (the head's about 7 years old) and probably the nipples as well.

 

So I bought a new shower head today -- with 6 shower settings, wow what luxury -- and attached it to the hose. Testing it over the sink it does seem to spray much more forcefully, especially the narrow pressure setting. So the big test will be tomorrow when I actually shower with it! I'll investigate the hose and possible filters as well.

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