Is There Sediment in Your Water Heater?
Sediment accumulations are a common problem with storage tank water heaters. They’re partly caused by the naturally-occurring minerals in water that are transformed into solids at high temperatures. Sand and other particles in well and municipal water are sources of sediment too. All these solids gradually settle to the bottom of the tank where they can cause issues such as:
- Decreased efficiency. When the gas burner or lower electric element in a water heater becomes covered in sediment, heat transfer slows down. The appliance then has to work harder to bring a tank of water up to the thermostat’s target temperature.
- Reduced capacity. As the deposits increase, they can displace the water in the tank, reducing the amount of hot water available for use.
Damage and premature failure. Sediment in your water heater can cause different long-term issues depending on the type of equipment owned:
When a gas-fired unit collects an insulating layer on the tank bottom, the area below the burner overheats. Over time, this can damage the metal tank and its glass lining and cause a premature failure.
If sediment builds up to the point where it covers the bottom element in an electric model, the element will eventually fail. Once the accumulated deposits are flushed out and the element is replaced, though, there’s usually no permanent damage.
How To Avoid Sediment Problems
Flushing the tank once a year can help keep sediment problems under control. Always shut off the water heater’s circuit breaker or gas valve before flushing. Use caution when draining the tank, because the water can be scalding hot at first. Flush until the water runs clear, then refill the tank completely before resetting the breaker or turning the gas on again. Performing this routine maintenance can keep a water heater humming along efficiently, and avert the hassle of an early replacement.
For expert advice about removing the sediment in your water heater, contact us today at Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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