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Plumbing in the Home/Clearing Plumbing of Calcium

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Question
I recently had a new washing machine delivered and had to have hook up refused in order to not mess up my warranty as the hot water line had a calcium build up in it. The intake to the old washer looked like it was completely filled / blocked with calcium.  My question is two fold - One - is there a filter I can put on the line feeding the washer (Or any appliance / faucet)that will prevent the calcium from getting into the washer?
Two - my searches online indicate that I should flush the plumbing for the entire house - but I can't find how to actually do the flush.  How do you get the cleaning solution into the household piping? (And how much do you need to flush an entire house?)
Other information that you may want to know is that the calcium appears to be happening only on my hot water lines, and I have a Gas Hot Water Heater that I have never drained - didn't know you had too! (Why wouldn't it happen on both lines - why just the hot and not the cold?)

Thanks ~Tim

Answer
Dear Tim,

   The hot water side is usually where the buildup and calcification occurs.... my own theory about that is that the hot water heater provides the best spot for the minerals to settle and become concentrated.  Also, I believe that there are electro-chemical changes in the water molecules when they are heated.

   As far as using a cleaning solution goes, I suppose one could use a dilute solution of CLR or similar product.  If I was going to do that I would use a small pump with a washing machine hose attached....  with the house water turned off, I would then open all of the hot water faucets in the sinks and tubs.  Then attach the hose from the pump to the hot water valve for the washing machine.  I would pump the solution from a 5 gallon bucket through the pipes until it begins to flow from the other faucets.  Then close the faucets and pump the remaining solution into the water heater.

   You will then want to flush the water heater thoroughly and also flush out the other pipes well before using them for washing or anything.  You can find instructions for flushing out the water heater from a previous question that I answered some time ago.... there is also quite a bit of information available online.

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Thomas Ambler

Expertise

I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.

Experience

I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

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Asbury Park Press, Seattle Times, Denver Post.

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I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

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All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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