Removal of limescale build-up can be achieved through mechanical or chemical descaling. Chemical descaling with a limescale remover is usually the fastest and most cost effective option.
Mechanical scale removal is hard, time consuming work requiring dismantling of the equipment by expert technicians, manual cleaning and then more expert reassembly. This process is costly in man-hours and usually involves a great deal of equipment down time. Reassembly also requires that some types of gaskets and seals are replaced, adding even further to costs.
Chemical limescale removal by contrast, is faster, cheaper and more thorough than mechanical methods however there are a few critical considerations when selecting a chemical de-scaling agent.
Choosing a Chemical Limescale Remover
1. Corrosive Effect on Equipment
All chemical limescale removers involve some sort of corrosive ingredient designed to dissolve deposits and hold them in solution. This corrosion, however, can also damage the equipment itself by eating into and weakening metals, gaskets, seals and other sensitive components.
Some strong acids such as Hyrochloric Acid (HCL) can be mixed with inhibitors to reduce damage to steel components however these inhibitors do not work uniformly on all surface types. Many of them are also toxic.
2. Overall Effectiveness & Speed
Acids alone will not effectively remove most limescale deposits. Typical limescale consists of calcium combined with oils, rust, silica and other contaminants found in the water system. For overall maximum effectiveness a quality limescale remover should include surfactants capable of removing these contaminants.
Low corrosion products are generally best practice but beware of misleading claims. Some low corrosion limescale removers are simply dangerous acids such as Hyrochloric Acid which have been highly diluted. These formulations take a long time to act and are generally not cost efficient. Essentially you are paying for water.
Look for a low corrosion limescale remover formulated from safe, non-toxic and eco-friendly ingredients that are both effective and fast acting.
3. Safety & Handling
Acids that are capable of damaging equipment can make short work of human tissue. Harsh acids cause horrific burns to exposed skin and a small drop is sometimes all that is required for loss of eyesight. Thankfully the use of dangerous acids such as HCL for chemical scale removal is usually unnecessary and safer options do exist.
Look for a chemical that is non-toxic and requires no special storage or handling procedures. Never use a limescale remover that is classed as a dangerous good. It is an unnecessary risk.
4. Waste Disposal
Limescale removers will need to be disposed of safely and responsibly after use. By choosing a non-toxic, non-hazardous product, disposal is as simple as pouring waste down the sewer.
Choose limescale removers that are formulated from natural readily biodegradable ingredients that won’t harm the environment.