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How to Tell If There's Sediment in Your Water HeaterIf you have a tank water heater, you're keeping tens of gallons of hot water on hand at all times. That means that sediment, such as calcium carbonate, can be forced out of the water in your tank by the heat and accumulate on the tank's bottom. This sediment can cause a lot of problems in your hot water supply, which is why flushing your tank once a year is a good idea.

More About Water Heater Sediment

The sediment that gathers at the bottom of your tank creates a layer of insulation between the water and the tank's heating element. This makes it more difficult for your water to heat up, which can lead to a lower water temperature at the tap and lead to an upward trend in your water heating bill. The layer of sediment also leads to hot spots at the bottom where the sediment captures the heat instead of the water. These hot spots can cause damage to the tank itself, so keep an eye on any discoloration on your tank heater.

If there's sediment in your tank, it may also trap bubbles at the bottom, which are then heated to the point that they explode with an audible "pop." A popping noise from your tank water heater is a good indication that you have a sediment problem.

How to Deal With Sediment Buildup

Consult your owner's manual for detailed instructions on how to get rid of sediment in your tank. You'll usually have to attach a hose to your tank, turn off its cold water supply and open a hot water tap in your house. The sediment should flow out through the hose. You can shut the hot water tap inside, turn on the tank's cold water supply and then repeat the flush to make sure you've gotten everything out. Or you can contact your trusted plumber for professional help.

At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues - especially HVAC and plumbing issues - so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.

Photo Credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg via Compfight cc

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