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Handy, but the included pump is an overkill
on November 8, 2013
What can I say, the kit can be readily constructed for $50-$60 from a chain store nearby. The key is to get a cheapo pump - I recommend a TotalPond submersible fountain pump. I went with the 170-300 GPH TotalPond Fountain Pump for $30 (works great), but perhaps the one for $20 with less flow can do the trick as well (MD11060 40-70 GPH). Just check the heater height vs the pump specs. Also, some heaters want a minimum flow of something like .5GPM, which would only be 30 GPH. That is enough to keep the heater full of acid, so no higher pump rates needed. The pump manual warns to use it only in fresh water, but even if it fails after 20 hours in vinegar, that's still 10 years of single household bi-annual descaling procedures. The biggest challenge is chasing suitable 3/4" to tube adapters on the HD shelves, and a few other things (that where the other $30 went).
Manufactures want 5 gallons of vinegar, but again, seems like an overkill (as the other commenter noted). It's enough to have the pump fully submerged in a small bucket while vinegar circulating through the heater. In my case 1 5L bottle of vinegar was enough. As somebody with a lot of chemistry training, I cannot image why you need more than 5L*5%=250ML of pure acid to dissolve the deposits. Just circulate a bit longer, if you think the acid is used up and is not dissolving as quickly it should. Alternatively, dump the old acid in the middle of the process, and put the fresh batch in.
Anyway, no need to make this overly complex. I am typing this as I am flushing my heater, will start rinsing it in the next 30 minutes.
Update: All worked well, poured out blue-ish vinegar after the procedure, flushed with water, and turned it back on.