How to clean the sediment from my PC
November 20, 2009 8:12 PM   Subscribe

I have a water cooled PC that is slow building up sediment in the bottom of the reserve and inside of the tubing. I used a retail additive with de-mineralised water so this is coming as a bit of a surprise to me. I have since replaced the fluid with more de-mineralised water and car radiator concentrate, this has stopped the build-up of sediment though the existing sediment still remains. Is there a way to clean out this sediment in the form of a flush or something similar?
posted by wombycat to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I guess I don't know what the sediment could be then. I'd soak the reserve tray in CLR and continue with the distilled/radiator additive.
posted by sanka at 8:38 PM on November 20, 2009

I don't know how you could "de-mineralize" water by adding something to it. Perhaps it might make the minerals more soluble in water, but it can't destroy the atoms.

You can buy distilled water at grocery stores (or at least you used to be able to) and I would suggest charging your cooler with that instead of using tap water. If your grocery store doesn't have it, try a drug store.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:40 PM on November 20, 2009

Vinegar is good for breaking up built on mineral deposits, not sure how your computer works, if you could get it in without ruining things. Also, if you're looking to pick up loose sediment, using small airline as a siphon is what i use to get rid of unwanted gravel in aquariums. I would imagine the principle would be similar in your case.
posted by gilsonal at 8:59 PM on November 20, 2009

Vinegar is what you'd use to clean out say, a hot water jug that has build up deposits, so I'm adding my uneducated viewpoint to gilsonal's.
posted by Elysum at 10:13 PM on November 20, 2009

Not being there to look at what you have here are the three likely sources I see.

It could be something growing in your coolant. If the additive you used had some kind of alcohol and all the alcohol evaporated out over time...

It could be that your water wasn't as pure as they where telling you, in which case it's probably calcium carbonate (which is soluble in a weak acid solution like vinegar) - next time you do this try putting a ohm meter in your tap water and your distilled (DI, milli-Q, whatever). The resistance for both should be high, but it should be a lot higher for the demineralised water.

It could be corrosion of some component in your cooling system. What are your cooling blocks made of and what color is the sediment?

I'd drain the system, flush everything with warm water, then maybe a 50/50 dilution of white vinegar (depending on what the blocks are made of), a 40% alcohol solution, a mess of warm water, a final rinse of distilled water, then go back to the antifreeze / water solution.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:29 AM on November 21, 2009

If this is loose sediment, then getting a strong enough stream of water through the system should eventually flush it out. Alternatively, you could blow it out with an air compressor hose.

I can see where a build-up of even loose sediment would eventually block the flow and reduce your cooling capacity.
posted by dhartung at 12:12 PM on November 21, 2009

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