How to Prevent Sediment in Water Heater so Your Heater Will Last

Knowing how to prevent sediment in water heater is crucial as a part of the heater’s maintenance and care. Your water heater is the one thing that keeps you warm, especially in colder months. If you live in cold areas, you know how crucial the water heater is.

That’s why caring for one is better than dealing with costly repairs or even a replacement. You don’t want to spend another hundred of dollars to buy a new one.

Read also: Water Heater Popping Sound Dangerous

What Is Sediment?

Sediment is a build-up (or collection) of suspended or dissolved solids consisting of hard water or built-up rust minerals, dirt, clay, silt, sand, and other fragments. These usually originate from animal or plant decomposition or soil erosion.

how to prevent sediment in water heater

These deposits are generally made by ice, water, and wind that would carry them to the streams, lakes, or even reservoirs serving the public and well water systems.

Is Sediment in Hot Water Tank Dangerous

While sediment in your water heater tank isn’t directly harmful to health, it can pose significant problems for the unit’s efficiency. Sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank can insulate the heating element, making it harder to heat the water and increasing energy consumption.

Over time, this can result in water heater problems, such as reduced efficiency and potential damage to the tank.

However, the buildup may lead to another issue, including damage to your heater. When those deposits and buildups aren’t eliminated, your heater can suffer from increased energy consumption, strange and unusual noises, and leakage. All of these things can lead to a shorter lifespan of the heater.

How to Tell if Your Hot Water Heater Is Full of Sediment

Recognizing the signs of sediment buildup in your water heater is key to maintaining its performance. Listen for unusual noises like popping or rumbling, indicating sediment interferes with heating.

If your water heater only produces lukewarm water or if you notice cloudy water coming from your water faucet, these could be signs of sediment accumulation. Additionally, check the cold water valve for any blockages and ensure that the water can flow freely from the bottom of the tank.

You should be more aware of these signs. 

  • Unusual sounds, such as hissing, popping, and rumbling. The heater shouldn’t be making any sound, so if unusual sounds come out, you should look into the heater. Mineral buildups have created layers on the heater’s surface, which would burn up as the heater is activated. Moreover, pockets within the sediment layers may make sounds whenever you turn the heat on. 
  • The heater can only generate warm water, not a hot one. Even when you crank the temperature up, it doesn’t matter as you only get warm water. 
  • Rust-colored or cloudy water. You should check your water. If it’s cloudy or somewhat murky, it’s possible that there is sediment buildup. The sediment itself would discolor the water. It would be more obvious if it’s accompanied by a metallic taste or scent. 
  • Faulty or leaking pressure relief valve. If you find any leakage, don’t put it lightly. Inspect and check your heater thoroughly. If you aren’t sure, contact the pro to help you. 
  • Cracked connections or tanks. Because of the sediment buildup, your heater may experience excessive pressure expansion. It can lead to cranks within the connection or the tank. The heater can also experience breaks and fractures within the water tank. 

How to Prevent Sediment in Water Heaters

  • Regular flushing. Experts suggest regular flushing to remove sediments. If you have to deal with hard water, do it twice a year, but if you deal with soft water, once a year would be enough. Flushing may take a while (between 2 minutes and 60 minutes per session).
  • Add up vinegar. When you drain the tank, add cider vinegar (a gallon) into the water tank and let it be for around 6 hours. This vinegar can help dissolve the mineral buildup without damaging the heater. After 6 hours, flush the tank to remove the vinegar and perform several flushes to ensure cleanliness. This action should make the heater clean again.
  • Regular check and routine maintenance. Perform an annual service. Have a professional service to help you out. When your heater is properly serviced, you won’t have to worry about anything.

Read also: How to Flush Water Heater with Vinegar: A Simple Tutorial

Ultimately, you need to be thorough in caring for your heater. Make sure to reach out to the appropriate service if you need help.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.