The Problem with Scale and Rust

What is lime scale?

Scale is mainly due to two minerals calcium and magnesium – these minerals are good for health but not for piping systems. The scale problem arises when scale deposits inside the piping system, equipment or on pipe surfaces. Hard water have high contains of calcium ions: the more calcium ions in the water, the water is harder and creates these scaling problems.

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How Scale Problems Are Formed

Scaling appears whenever hard water flows through a pipe. When calcium is untreated in water it becomes a solid sticky crystals structure (see obr. 1). These solid crystals stick together on surfaces and create hard scale deposits which are difficult to remove.
Scale develops due to changes in water pressure, direction, and bends or intersects, which causes turbulence. It also occurs when water exits the piping system through the faucet. This drop in pressure increases the formation of calcium crystals and scale deposits.

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Scaling and Rusting

The scale develops because of calcium and magnesium. Thus, scale is seen in white colour on plastic pipes, but on metal pipes it is brown in colour due to iron oxides particles getting deposited along with scale. Rusting is a serious problem if untreated and cause corrosion in the piping system.

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Scale give rise to growth of bacteria

A scale deposit is a perfect place for the breeding of bacteria and other micro-organisms because of the rough surface of scale. As deposits are uneven and have uneven surfaces, little opening within the scale give rise to breeding of bacteria and they stays there. Water may be hot or cold, but the danger of bacteria breeding within the scale deposit remains.

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Problems caused by scale and rust

  • Blocking in the piping system
  • Water pressure drop due to reduce pipe diameter
  • Corrosion and rust
  • Bacterial growth
  • Recurring repairs and replacement of damaged equipment
  • Damage and replacement of the whole piping system
  • High energy cost in the hot water circuit and heating elements
  • Dull surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Aggressive cleaning requires chemicals
  • High maintenance costs
  • Lower production due to frequent maintenance and cleaning
  • Decreased overall productivity