I have a four-year old Jayco travel trailer with a 10-gallon DSI water heater. The water at the site where I have it seasonally is hard. I am intending to purchase a portable water softener to solve the problems of hard water stains in my shower and to prevent scale build up in my water heater. I routinely flush my hot water tank by draining it and using a flushing attachment on my hose and plenty of calcium comes out. I find my tank is running longer to heat my water even after flushing. My concern is that calcium has built up on the heat exchanger tube.

My question is, can I fill my tank with vinegar or CLR to remove or will it possibly self clean over time with softer water? My worry is I don’t want to cause any damage to the water heater. The water softener I am looking at is an “on the go” double standard water softener. Your thoughts and any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and keep up the great articles. I love the magazine.

Ray McNairn,
Cobourg, ON

Hi Ray,

The vinegar or CLR will not hurt your tank. Leave it in for at least 24 hours but you will need to give it a good flushing when you are finished. If you have an antifreeze diverter between your fresh water tank and the pump, it is easier to get your cleaning agent into the hot water tank.

You would have trouble heating the water causing the burner to run longer than necessary if the flame is going straight through without touching the wall of the burner tube. Look at the burner assemble to see if the flame spreader at the end of the burner is broken off or bent. Its purpose is to force the heat of the flame against the side walls of the flue tube.

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