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Thread: cleaning watercooling gear

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    cleaning watercooling gear

    So what are peeps proffered ways of flushing a watercooling system?

    Boiled, tap, tap then solvent?

    Suggestions please!
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    So what are peeps proffered ways of flushing a watercooling system?

    Boiled, tap, tap then solvent?

    Suggestions please!
    I’ve always wondered what would happen if you ran undiluted vinegar in a closed loop for a bit. Seriously too. In theory it should work, except for the smell afterwards.

    Blocks: Tomato sauce, toothbrush, elbow grease. Finish off with distilled.
    Radiators: White vinegar until it’s clear. White as opposed to brown since it’s easier to tell when it’s clear…umm…duh. Then flush a few times with boiled water (or run hot water tap through it) before a final run of distilled to make it all sparkly.
    Tubes: Never bother, I just replace them.

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Cillit Bang!

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    never pour boiling water into a radiator, you stand the crack it open.

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    hmm I'll give it a flush with some ordinary distilled (£3 for 5 lieters from robert dyes!).

    Blocks not to worried, I'm selling those, I'll let the buyer decide the best way! (opening em + toothbrush I recon) but the raddy and the pump.

    Pump I don't think would like boiling water, and now you say the raddy won't either?
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    The problem with boiling water is you'll get expansion in the metal, which the wielded joints between the pipes and fins will probably not like and risk cracking the tubes, it'll depend on the rad and how it's built as to what sort of temps it can take.

    You could try hot water and Sodium bicarbonate or Sodium carbonate (Soda crystals), although NOT if the pipes inside are aluminium.
    I sugest these as they are relatively mild and used to clear scum and descale pipes and washing machines

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    sodium carbonate, wouldn't that hurt the pump?
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    You could try hot water and Sodium bicarbonate or Sodium carbonate (Soda crystals), although NOT if the pipes inside are aluminium.
    I sugest these as they are relatively mild and used to clear scum and descale pipes and washing machines
    Vinegar is a much better descaler being mildly acidic. I would not have thought that any carbonate would help, as Lime scale is Calcium Carbonate, so there is no reaction to take place. Hydrogen peroxide is even better, and easily available.

    From my experience of cleaning the kettle, be careful about hot vinegar, as it will fizz and expend in volume when its hot enough, nice fast reaction however it might make air locks and stop cooling of components. I would be careful of blocks as it could well attack copper and aluminium. If the oxide coating is removed from aluminium it will erode very fast.
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Ok, so Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide, if going for H2O2, what sort of dilution should I be looking at? (and with what if I have to dilute it myself, tap or distilled)
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    If you want to dilute it use distilled water or boiled water, to remove things that might also react with the peroxide. Dilution depends on the strength you buy, if you use an old bottle of contact lens cleaner, use it neat, if you buy a concentrated bottle from the chemist, your need to dilute it. The best thing to do is to test the strength, using lime scale your kettle or on the bathroom sink, that will give you some idea of the time you need to leave it.
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    ok, so just to make sure, because this is the sort of thing 14 year old kids on the interwebbles would be saying "use drain cleaner mixed with a an acid" to create chlorine gas or something.

    I'll pick up some H2O2 from the chemist, because i'm *guessing* that it will be cheaper to dilute it myself!
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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Quote Originally Posted by GoNz0 View Post
    never pour boiling water into a radiator, you stand the crack it open.
    I agree, and for the record I said "boiled" water not "boiling" . A hot tap will only reach about 60-70C at the most I think and that's how Tom over at ChilledPC flushes his radiators so guessing it's fine.

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    Soda crystals are used as a descalent, being an Alkali it doesn't dissolve the lime scale but lifts and lossens it so it's flushed out.

    All aluminium oxidises in air/water, once the oxide layer is removed it will quickly reform, the problem is alkali's tend to form aluminium salt layers on aluminium and it's this that does the damage, as it eats away the oxide layer as it forms.

    However this is all a bit moot, these are being cleaned for selling, if you've used Freser One or similar coolant, then what you may well have left behind is gunk and an alkali is probabaly best at shifting this, other stuff you may have left behind is algae or slime mold (although slime mold is more common it chilling systems than cooling systems)

    But in general flushing with hot water should be fine and doesn't run the risk of damageing the metal.

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    Re: cleaning watercooling gear

    all i did was flush with tap water, letting it start from cold and a few minutes of hot, then rinse a couple of times with de-ionised water

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