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Old 09-01-2011, 15:09   #1
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Muriatic Acid and Marine Heads

Over the last year or so, we have developed some calcium residue in one of the heads of our boat. Is it safe to use muriatic acid to clean them out? The bowl is porcelain but as with most heads, the rest is plastic.
I don't want to melt anything up the line plus I have a stainless black water tank, but I've heard from friends that it's the best stuff for cleaning out the buildup. Vinegar is good if used regularly but we're well past that.
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Old 09-01-2011, 15:32   #2
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Rydlyme

Best, and safest, product to de-calcify your head and hoses is a product called Rydlyme. Not only will it do the best job it is safe to discharge overboard...will not harm the environment. Also best product to clean your engine heat-exchanger by circulating from water pump">raw water pump output hose to discharge hose disconnected from exhause riser.

You can't believe how it dissolves barnacles, etc.
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Old 09-01-2011, 15:40   #3
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I'm sure muriatic acid isn't environmentally friendly, but you do use a diluted solution for cleaning heads. It works - you can hear it working - it fizzles for a while. You won't "melt anything up the line" - It doesn't stay in long enough to corrode the metals, even though it is highly corrosive and emits poisonous fumes
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Old 09-01-2011, 15:52   #4
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The low pH (high hydrogen ion concentration) is not of great difference in the type of the acid as far as it's effect on the deposits in your head system or the environment. The best environmental choice is the weak acid such as the acetic acid in vinegar. We have been using the five year plan,- change the hoses and the joker valve,- soak the dismantled plastic head parts in a strong acid. It's true that the disciplined schedule of a dollop of venegar with each flush would prevent the problem, but we don't seem to be disciplined cruisers. Good luck!
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Old 09-01-2011, 16:15   #5
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Muriatic acid is 30 - 35% hydrochloric acid (HCl).
The common stainless steel types, 304 and 316 are considered non-resistant to hydrochloric acid, at any concentration and temperature.
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Old 09-01-2011, 18:48   #6
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I have used a 4% solution for cleaning for 16 years with no adverse effect. It will be neutrilized after a short time in the pipe and needs to be repeated for heavy buildup removel.
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Best, and safest, product to de-calcify your head and hoses is a product called Rydlyme. Not only will it do the best job it is safe to discharge overboard...will not harm the environment. Also best product to clean your engine heat-exchanger by circulating from raw water pump output hose to discharge hose disconnected from exhause riser.

You can't believe how it dissolves barnacles, etc.
Bingo! Absolutely correct. A little costly but absolutely worth it.

Once the lines are cleaned out get in the habit of keeping a squeeze bottle with a mix of Saltaway and fresh water in the heads. A little squirt in the bowel and pumped into the lines once the bowel's been thoroughly evacuated will help prevent the built-up of salt/calcium carbonate.

FWIW...
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:58   #8
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What has been working for me for years is to occasionally put a little vinegar down the head and give the head a couple pumps so the parts soak in the vinegar.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Muriatic acid is 30 - 35% hydrochloric acid (HCl).
The common stainless steel types, 304 and 316 are considered non-resistant to hydrochloric acid, at any concentration and temperature.
Also, though most plastics (poly ethylene, PVC) are perfectly resistant to acids, nylon is not. It will melt in front of your eyes (only a few minutes) if exposed to strong sulfuric, hydrochloric or even acetic acids. Some heads contain nylon parts, and I have heard that excessive acid exposure has been implicated in Marlon valve failures (no personal experience, but Marlon is glass reinforced nylon), so no concentrated acids.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:11   #10
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Muriatic acid (1.3 pints to 3 gallons of water) is a regular maintenance procedure, for Raritan heads with a LectraSan type MSDs, performed once or twice a year.

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Old 10-01-2011, 10:16   #11
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Muriatic acid (1.3 pints to 3 gallons of water) is a regular maintenance procedure, for Raritan heads with a LectraSan type MSDs, performed once or twice a year.

Ronbo
Good, solid advice Ronbo. It's the commmon treatment - Maybe these other things work, but for a long time people have used diluted muriatic acid.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:56   #12
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I USE VINEGAR. WORKS GREAT.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:08   #13
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Yes it works very well. Because the ocean is an alkaline solution the acid is neutralized immediatley.
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Old 10-01-2011, 13:10   #14
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
... A little squirt in the bowel and pumped into the lines once the bowel's been thoroughly evacuated will help prevent the built-up of salt/calcium carbonate.

FWIW...
Sounds painful though, maybe fiber would work better?

Cheers.
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Old 10-01-2011, 13:54   #15
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what about CLR or other home use CALCIUM/LIME/RUST remover?
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