August 04, 2011
Flushing Your Water Heater is an Absolute Must and Should be Done Yearly!
A friend of mine said, “why is there sand in the bottom of my water heater”?
Although it looks a little bit like sand what he was actually dealing with was calcium carbonate. When water is heated calcium carbonate is formed and settles to the bottom of the tank…most people just refer to it as sediment.
Unfortunately, this is bad for your water heater. Top on the list is the sediment forms a layer of insulation between the gas burner and the water. The sediment slows the transfer of heat into the water and overheats the tank bottom.
Overheating of the tank bottom weakens the steel and can damage the glass lining thereby shortening the life of your water heater. At the very least it lowers the efficiency of your water heater.
And that’s just for starters…if you have a recirc pump, sediment can work its way into the recirculation lines, jam check valves and eventually burn out the pump.
Sometimes it even causes noise. Have you ever heard cracking popping or bubbling sounds coming from your water heater? The noise is caused by small amounts of water turning into steam bubbles. The noise is the sound of the steam bubbles collapsing violently.
Some people have also complained of a pungent smell in their hot water. This again can be caused by not flushing the sediment from your tank. The sediment is a breeding ground for corrosive anaerobic bacteria.
We got a call several months ago from a customer complaining that his water heater was not producing enough hot water. When our technician got to the home he found 8” of sediment covering the bottom of a 15-year-old water heater. With this much displacement, it is no wonder the water heater wasn’t producing enough hot water. The homeowner ended up replacing the unit but a periodic flushing of that unit might have insured it would last even longer.
To be safe you should have your water heater flushed once per year.
Can I do it Myself?
The short answer to that is yes if you are somewhat handy. The good news is we run water heater flush specials fairly regularly. On older water heaters especially you have to be careful the valves don’t break. Many of them are brittle. It’s up to you but we are ready to help if you need us.