Removing Sediments from Water Heater

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Sediments in hot water heater cause, symptoms, troubleshooting and how to, is what this mini guide covers while providing necessary information on how mineral buildup works and all the help you need for the efficient heating.

Deposits in electric and gas water heaters

cleaning sediments from water heater by drainingResidues that exist in almost every water heater tank are usually the result of mineral - lime buildup and rust.

Sedimentation is one of the most common problems that can significantly affect your heater performance, shorten tank life, reduce the output and budget.

Rust deposits for example are the result of the aggressive water action, when the tank starts corroding, due to lack or failed rust protective elements like anode rod or metal tank lining.

Sometimes, the problem with sediments is significant, making the tank hard or not even worth cleaning, so buying a new electric or gas appliance is necessary.

How to recognize is it time to flush and clean deposits from the tank? Common symptoms with the water scale deposits are low performance, inefficient heater or noisy work like rumbling, crackling and popping.

When hot water is trapped under lime scale, and due to the porous structure, you can hear popping noise, or sizzling (as it boils to steam) when water is trapped next to the heating elements.

Even if the noise disappears due to change in water scale structure, that doesn't mean that tank flushing is not necessary; be aware that tank or heating elements can fail.

Sediments as the results of lime buildup are present in every home plumbing system. Lime buildup increases when the water is heated; with the increased temperature and water hardness, higher usage and increased heating surface. Deliming is therefore a necessity and has to be included in the regular maintenance and service.

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How to fix hot water heater affected by water scale?

When you hear the noise inside the heater, you have to act. Deposits are often loose and they are easy to remove. If you wait longer, water scale can harden and make it tougher to remove.

Note: Regular maintenance, by periodic flushing is your best bet.

One of the solutions to get rid of lime scale from the tank type heater is to dissolve the residue and flush it with delimer like phosphoric acid.

Manually scraping is another fix, but it is time consuming and hard to clean it in full.

Setting the hot water temperature lower can reduce formation of lime scale, while installing softener can greatly reduce the hardness of water.

Water Heater Problem Symptoms due to Sediments

  • Not enough hot water - deposits in the tank form the insulating blanket between heating elements and water, decreasing the contact surface and heat transfer.

  • Noisy operation - sizzle, hiss are characteristic in electric water heater, while gas and oil fired units may rumble and pound.

  • Longer heating time

  • Shortened heater life

  • High operating costs are results of the increased energy consumption

How some water heaters manufacturers fix this problem?

Below are the examples, how the biggest water heater manufacturers in North America, are fixing problems with lime scale deposits in the tank.

DynaClean is the patented automatic cleaning system from AO Smith water heating company. Thanks to the dip tube cold water turbulence in the tank, sediments and lime build-up, accumulated from the hard water is significantly reduced.

Hydrojet Total Performance System is Bradford White patented system that fights mineral build-up in the tank while extending first hour delivery.

Everkleen Self-Cleaning system is Rheem's patented technology that uses high pressure spiraling stream.

All these cleaning systems are helping operating efficiency and extending a tank life, maintain high energy efficiency, maximizing the output while saving energy and money.

Note: In most cases, the manufacturer's warranty does not apply if there is a heater failure due to rust, scale and lime buildup.

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