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Is There Sediment Buildup in Your Water Heater?If you have a storage-tank water heater, sediment buildup is something you can't ignore. During the water heating process, naturally-occurring minerals like calcium and magnesium form into sediment particles that settle to the tank bottom. When sediment builds up, you'll start to experience issues like:

  • Fluctuating water temperatures from too hot to lukewarm.
  • Rising energy bills.
  • A diminished supply of hot water.
  • Rumbling or popping sounds when the water heater is running.

These issues occur because a sediment buildup impacts the appliance's ability to maintain a consistent water temperature and erodes its energy efficiency. As the build up becomes more severe, sediment can displace water in the tank, clog up the drain valve, block the water lines or even cause a premature tank failure. Flushing the tank periodically can prevent these problems.

How to Flush Your Water Heater

You can hire a professional plumber to handle this chore, or tackle it yourself by following these steps:

  • Shut off your electric heater's breaker or put the gas burner on "pilot," then close the tank's cold water supply valve.
  • For safety, wait several hours to allow the stored hot water to cool down.
  • Put a bucket under the T&P valve and test that it's working properly.
  • Attach a garden hose to the unit's drain valve and place the other end in the bathtub, laundry tub or a floor drain.
  • Open one hot water faucet, then open the tank's drain valve and let it empty.
  • Close the drain valve, turn the cold water supply back on and partially fill the tank.
  • Repeat the draining/refilling process until the draining water runs clear.
  • Shut the drain valve, open the cold water supply and refill the tank. When water begins to flow from the open faucet, close it.
  • Finally, restore power or adjust the gas burner control and start heating water again.

At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our 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: NMEnergy$martAcademy via Compfight cc

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