Removing Sediment Buildup in Hot Water Heaters

Published: 27th April 2011
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Most hot water heaters last for about twenty years or more, but in order to make sure yours lasts it full potential lifespan, it is important to properly care for and maintain it on a regular basis. If your water tank makes noises as it heats the water, there may be sediment buildup along the bottom of the tank. Sediment buildup may also be to blame if your water does not get as hot as you would like. If either of these problems occur, you do not necessarily need to replace or perform extensive repairs on your water heater. Sediment buildup is easily fixed as long as it is dealt with early but if not; it can cause major problems that will cause hot water heaters to need major repairs.



Sediment buildup in hot water heaters is caused by the minerals that occur naturally in water. The water that is piped into your home through the plumbing system contains many minerals such as calcium or magnesium. These minerals do not pose any threat to your health, but they can cause problems with water heaters and they can especially be a problem in areas where there is a high concentration of minerals in the water.



When hot water heaters heat the water that is brought into the tank, the water expands and precipitates. During this process, many of the minerals are separated out of the water. Over time, they can build up at the bottom of the tank and in large numbers these tiny particles can cause major problems in hot water heaters.



The best way to prevent sediment buildup, or to get rid of it once it has occurred, is to flush or drain out the water in hot water heaters. It is best to do this on a regular basis. Draining hot water heaters once per year should be sufficient, but if the water is heard in your area you should consider doing it more often.



The first step in draining hot water heaters is to turn off the power supply. This step is essential because leaving the power connected or running while you are draining the tank is very dangerous. If you have a gas-powered heater, simply turn the thermostat to ?pilot." If your heater is powered by electricity, cut the power off by switching the breaker.



The next step in draining hot water heaters is to turn off the cold water. Connect a hose to the drain valve and pull the hose outside so that the water can drain out. Remember that forty to sixty gallons of hot water will be pouring out. First open the pressure valve and then open the drain valve and once the drain valve has been opened, the water will begin to flow.



After the water has all drained out, flushing the hot water heater is complete. Make sure you start running hot water heaters as soon as possible after they have been drained. Close both the draining valve and the pressure relief valve and then turn the water and the power supply back on.



Draining hot water heaters is one of the best ways to remove sediment buildup and to maintain the system. If you have any problems or questions, it is best to contact a professional.



Hot Water Heaters


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