Things to do on a gloomy winter morning

We were just talking about how hard the well water here is. One reason that’s kind of a problem is that the calcium in the water treats every orifice in my plumbing as a leak to be sealed. Therefore, one thing I always have to keep on hand is a jug of vinegar. Stronger cleaning vinegar is best but any vinegar will do.

This is my kitchen faucet.


It only runs cold water. Hot running water is only possible using this water with (by my standards) MASSIVE expensive infrastructure I literally don’t even want*. Even so, every couple of months I’ll notice that my faucet isn’t running so well and I know the reason why.

No problem: It’s just periodic maintenance now.


I take the aerator off the faucet and drop it in an old measuring cup I keep just for that purpose. Fill the cup with strong vinegar.


Wait a couple of hours, then attack it with an old toothbrush.


Problem solved. 🙂

Now if I could only figure out how to do the same thing with a toilet valve, I could stop buying them in bulk.


*Three years ago we did all the infrastructure fixes necessary to put a proper shower in Ian’s Cave. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but the running joke is that that is the most expensive shower outside Malibu or maybe Arlington.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to Things to do on a gloomy winter morning

  1. Paul B says:

    Toilet Valves have fiddly bits in the valve assembly. Not sure they could be cleaned. Don’t like outhouses or composting toilets? no water needed for either.

  2. Ben says:

    In general, those new plastic toilet fill valves are a wonderful invention, but is it possible that your situation is the exception? You can still buy old fashioned brass ballcocks, and at least they are easy to field strip and clean.

  3. Mike says:

    I feel your pain Joel, our water is hard as nails too. To clean the fittings, I use CLR. It seems to work better than vinegar.

  4. Jason Hamilton says:

    Do you know your hardness in GPG? Put in a Kinetico dual tank non electric softener.

To the stake with the heretic!