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iron box - leaking brown water...

Posted on 2014-10-20
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Last Modified: 2014-10-29
what is the technical reason for iron box to leak brown water.. I read online that if you put distilled water, it will stop it.. it perhaps did for few weeks.. not it is leaking water again.. does that mean the life of the iron box is gone? any thoughts?
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Question by:25112
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18 Comments
 
LVL 84

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by:ozo
ozo earned 42 total points
ID: 40393475
iron rusts
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LVL 95

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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 40393478
An iron box will rust, and water will seep through any crack or opening. So probably the water is working its way through some hole and rusting the iron on the way out. Water rusts untreated iron.
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LVL 27

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by:aburr
aburr earned 42 total points
ID: 40393552
and distilled water will not prevent the leaking water from being brown.
Perhaps a bit more information about the iron box might help.
size?, usual contents?, one piece construction? age?
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LVL 17

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by:Tiras25
Tiras25 earned 42 total points
ID: 40393734
Sounds like rust.  Rust making the box leak and rust making the water brown.  Iron is very susceptible to rust.  Yes I think the life of the box is gone.
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LVL 17
ID: 40393810
Are you talking about the water container on a smoothing iron? It might just need a good descaling if water is coming from unexpected places. If just a container for water the iron isn't the best material for it, unless it's galvanised or otherwise coated. If this is the case then it sounds like the water has come into contact with the iron itself and corroded it.
Depending on the box and accessibility you might be able to solder, braze, or weld over a hole to repair it. Not unlike repairing a rust hole on a car.
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by:25112
ID: 40394599
this is a normal size clothing iron box probably 1 year old..

does it rust more on usage than on age?

>> It might just need a good descaling
can you tell what is descaling? how do you do it?
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LVL 95

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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 40394665
I guess you could say that constant moisture over time will likely accelerate rust. But simply put, water rusts iron.
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LVL 17

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by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 124 total points
ID: 40394721
Not sure we're talking about the same thing. Is clothing iron the thing you heat and smooth your clothes on a board to remove creases?

Descaling for the tank in one of those is by adding a chemical, usually obtainable as a powder from a hardware shop or a supermarket and following the instructions that come with it. Sometimes by heating, sometimes by adding hot water,  and sometimes by leaving to rest for 15-30 minutes -it depends on what packet you use. It's for removing the limescale that builds up with hard water, kettles suffer from it too. Distilled water or deionised water shouldn't cause scaling but if you have scaling already then you need to remove it before seeing a benefit with distilled water.
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LVL 32

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by:aleghart
aleghart earned 84 total points
ID: 40398108
To clean a steam iron, use normal vinegar.  Set iron to the middle of the 'steam' setting.  Iron repeatedly onto an old towel.  It will blow out mineral deposits.  These can range from white to dark yellow.  Brown is probably rust...which means your iron is probably due for replacement.  But, try cleaning it and see if it works OK.

If you have a steam or surge button, use it.  The extra burst of steam will blow out larger particles.

After the vinegar, fill with normal water.  Iron onto a clean section of the old towel.  The steam should gradually get cleaner, and the vinegar smell weaker.

Fill again, and repeat, until there is no more vinegar smell.

Your best bet is to use filtered tap water.  Bottled water will get expensive.  Distilled water is not necessary, and could cause functional problems like excessive spitting and leaking.

When you are not using the steam function, turn it off by turning the steam dial/lever to the lowest or 'off' setting, if you have one.  Otherwise, water will slosh from the tank into the steam chamber and eventually leak or spill out the next time your try to iron.  Always store the iron upright, not in the down position.

If your iron is still leaking after you've cleaned it, then you might have a crack somewhere in the tank or a tube.  Not worth fixing it.  Get a new one.
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by:25112
ID: 40400312
can you suggest a descaling product in amazon.com for iron box?

I checked amazon.com bestselling ironboxes. the #2 has 4000 some reviews, and some complain of water seeping out even in that. even the best ironbox have these? also does it mean that All/Any ironbox needs maintenance to remove iron once in a while? if I had only used filter water along, would it not have got here to this situation?
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LVL 95

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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 40400341
Iron rusts from water filtered, distilled or other. You have to treat iron or steel with paint or a coating to prevent rusting.
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by:25112
ID: 40400347
>>Iron rusts from water filtered, distilled or other. You have to treat iron
so this is normal and the descaling product is the norm for every home, right?

so all iron box would/should go through this (if used at least once?)
perhaps this is why a new iron  box may not gave this problem in the first one or two years of usage?
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LVL 95

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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 40400607
It takes time for water to rust steel or iron. One or two years does not seem out of line. And once rust starts, it accelerates because there more surface area to get wet and rust more.
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by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 124 total points
ID: 40400644
Amazon has lots of different choices of descaler.  There is one called Oust which is cheap. I have used a Kilrock product to get limescale off bathtubs and the kitchen sink, it definitely works well for that.
The earlier suggestion of vinegar would probably work, it just needs something to do solve the calcium and not react badly with the metal parts of the iron.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=descaling&tag=hydrukspg-21&index=aps&hvadid=50342253149&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10757686208359189139&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=m&ref=pd_sl_8o875x80oi_b
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LVL 17

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by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 124 total points
ID: 40400647
Sorry, that link was too general. This one is better for you:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_?ie=UTF8&k=iron+descaler
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LVL 32

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by:
aleghart earned 84 total points
ID: 40400662
Anything that de-scales is using acid.  Use it to remove the mineral deposits, then flush it out.  They've been doing it with commercial boilers and steam plants with phosphoric acid for decades.

Yes, every iron will develop some mineral deposits and rust, eventually.  Hard water will form deposits faster.  Distilled water won't, but you'll get sputtering and steam flashing that is unpredictable.  I've used Rowenta irons for almost 20 years.  Even they recommend clean water, but not distilled water.  If your mineral content is too high, they recommend you dilute your tap or filtered water with distilled water...but not to use pure distilled water.

Same goes for reverse-osmosis water.  Without any mineral content, the hot water cannot find a nucleation point to turn to vapor state.  It superheats (above boiling point).  Then, you turn or bump the iron, and you have a large amount of superheated water that converts to vapor...and it shoots out of the steam ports, carrying liquid water along with it.

Plain vinegar from your kitchen (acetic acid) diluted half with filtered water.
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by:25112
ID: 40410891
more prepared now.. thanks.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40410899
@25112  - Thank you and I was happy to help.
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