We need to descale boilers, cooling towers or even espresso machines to make sure scales and oxides does not accumulate and damage the equipment

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Large Boilers and cooling towers are often filled with thick layers of oxides. 

These oxides form at extreme temperature inside the boilers or cooling towers. If these thick layers are not removed soon, they can cause all sorts of hazards.

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We have heard reports of boilers exploding and causing serious damage. These explosions are caused by the thick oxide layers, which hamper the smooth function of the boilers. The best way to remove these oxide layers is by descaling.

What Is Descaling

Descaling is the process of removing thick layers of oxides from the inner surface of boilers. The oxides that form inside boilers or cooling towers are calcium oxides, sodium oxides, and aluminium oxides. Apart from oxides, other materials formed are lime, mud, rust, water scale buildup and some non-soluble deposits. Descaling is used to remove these elements.

Descaling in boilers is classified into two groups. One is removing rust particles from a boiler’s radiator mechanism and primary heat exchanger. This is sometimes referred to as power flushing. The other process is to remove calcium deposits from a combi-boiler.

How to Descale Boilers

The main procedure of descaling a boiler is using a descaling agent or chemical descale. The descaling agent is pumped through the heat exchanger unit of the boiler until the scales come off the boiler surface. A good example of a descaling agent would be hydrochloric acid.

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It reacts with the alkaline carbonate compounds present in the scale. The portion of the scale turns into carbon dioxide gas which evaporates, and the rest of the scale turns into soluble salt.

The other method of descaling boilers is by replacing the whole heat exchanger and installing a new one. Although this is more expensive, it makes sure the boiler is in top condition. Descaling is also done for smaller projects. For instance, even your toilet might need descaling when too much calcium or lime accumulates in the toilet bowl.

If your household water is hard, then you may want to use a water softener or descaler to prevent lime and other minerals from depositing in your pipes. You can check out the plumber spot to find some high-quality water descalers and learn more about them.

Why Should You Descale?

Beside removing the oxides and material attached to the surface, there are a few other benefits of descaling

1. It Keeps the Object Functioning Properly

The main purpose of descaling is to remove any lime, rust or metal oxide build up. If scales accumulate, it will clog up the pipes, hindering the normal water flow.

If water does not flow properly, the pumps will push out even more water to bring it back to normal. And in most cases, the pipes are not able to handle this excessive water pressure and start to leak.

Worst-case scenario, the pipes might burst open and cause damage to the household, facility, or factory.

2. Prevents Bacteria Growth

This problem mostly occurs in cooling towers as bacteria cannot live on extreme heat inside the boilers.

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Because the temperature is low in cooling towers, it is often clogged with mud, algae and sludge. These mud and algae scales are the perfect environment for bacteria, especially Legionella bacteria. Descaling would remove these scales and prevent bacteria from infesting the cooling towers.

3. Keeps the Entire Factory Safe

We mentioned before that due to scaling; the pipes get pressurized and burst open, causing the entire factory to shut down.

But that is not the only danger scales pose. If there are too many oxide scales, they become an insulator stuck between the water that flows through the pipe, and the inner surface of the boiler. And as insulators, they can heat up the materials and cause ruptures in the boiler.

If they are not descaled, they heat up more, and this leads to the whole boiler exploding.

4. Reduces Energy Costs

With regular descaling there will hardly be any scales or rust. This will allow the heat exchanger to release the right amount of heat and the pumps do not need to work too hard to pump out water.

Because the machines are functioning properly and nothing is under pressure, it saves a lot of energy. This is why routine descaling is an absolute must for boilers and cooling agents.

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5. Increases the Lifespan of Boilers and Cooling Towers

After all the discussion, it should come to you as no surprise that descaling increases the lifespan of the boilers and cooling towers. If you descale routinely, they will function properly and will ensure the boilers and cooling towers last a long time before you need to change them completely.

Should You Descale Yourself?

It completely depends on which item you need to descale. If it is some small item, such as a kettle, espresso machine, or a toilet bowl, then you can do it by yourself.

But if you wish to descale factory-grade boilers or cooling towers, then it is better to call for professionals because the descaling agents are acids, a simple error can be harmful for you. Since descaling is not something an average person does regularly, it is best to rely on professionals with enough experience.

For large factory boilers and cooling towers, you should descale it once every month to maximize their efficiency and lifespan.

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Final Thoughts

Descaling is necessary for equipment and machineries that work under constant heat exchange. Rust and other oxides can accumulate and damage the surface if not cleaned properly. So, call in the professionals for a routine descaling and also make sure they take proper safety precautions.