Tips On Dealing With Sediment Buildup In Your Water Heater

One of the most damaging elements to your home's water heater can be hard water and the buildup of sediment it can create. This sediment can cause your unit to be ineffective in heating the water needed for your home. While you may be able to clean this sediment from the tank on your own, sometimes it can be a better choice to hire a business offering plumbing services instead.

Differences in Water Hardness

The water supplied to your house is generally done through a local water municipality or through a private well. Most water will contain varying amounts of calcium and magnesium. Depending on how much of these elements are in your water, it will be classified as soft or hard. Soft water generally has 1 grain per gallon or less. Hard water will have 7 or more grains per gallon. Most homes today are supplied with hard water.

While hard water is safe for humans and animals to drink and use, it can be damaging to plumbing fixtures. One of the most significant issues it can cause is sediment. Sediment can line the inside of your water heater's tank. If this happens, it can create a barrier between the heat from the tank and the water. This can make it difficult for water to be heated.

Flushing Sediment from a Water Heater

To prevent this from becoming an issue, you should flush your tank on a yearly basis. You can often handle this on your own by completing the following steps:

  • Turn off the water to the unit.
  • Attach a water hose to the drain valve on the tank.
  • Allow all the water in the tank to empty out through the hose.
  • After the tank has been drained, the water should be turned back on.
  • The water will move through the unit and out the hose.
  • Once the water is clear, the drain valve can be closed and the hose removed.

Issues Flushing Sediment from an Older Unit

Generally, flushing the water heater free of sediment can help it run more effectively and efficiently. However, if your unit is older and has never been flushed before, flushing it may create problems. When you flush the sediment from such a unit, you may actually uncover cracks and other imperfections in the tank. Removing the sediment may cause these areas to become more significant. Water may start to leak from the unit. Sediment creates a layer of insulation in the unit. Removing this insulation can cause heat to be transferred to the bottom of the tank. Due to its age, this may weaken the steel and cause the entire tank to be compromised. In such situations, contacting a professional may be the better way to deal with sediment issues.

For more information, contact Bill Rhiner's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling or a similar company.