Water Heater Sediment Problem and How to Fix it
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Water heater sediment and lime build-up. What causes the
sedimentation, symptoms and how to fix the problem. Find out how water
heaters, free of mineral deposits, last longer, are more efficient and
Water heater sediment and lime-scale build-up is the same as
mineral deposits you will find on dishes, sink or bathtubs. This
problem is present, more or less, in any home. One of the main reasons
for sediment build-up is the hard water, which is rich in calcium. This
“problem” is not a health hazard for you and your family, but it can
severely affect your heater.
Water heater sediments can affect both electric and gas
powered tank and tankless
devices by reducing the energy efficiency, heating performance
clogging the water pathway. If the heater is not maintained
correctly, regularly and per manufacturer’
instructions the sediments might be so thick that would act as the
insulator between the gas burner and water, so you will basically have
no or reduced flow. In cases where the sedimentation is
severe, the tank is not worth cleaning, so it is better to buy a new
Problems associated with
the mineral deposits
– Popping noise occurs
when water is trapped under the lime deposits. Sizzling or hissing
noise happens when water is boiling to steam underneath the heating
- Sediment build-up might cause the relief
valve dripping. The solution is to drain the heater
fix the TPR
- Surfaces covered by the lime and exposed to heat become
hotter than if they were clean. As the burner cycles ON and OFF, these
surfaces and connections will be exposed to rapid expansion and
contraction, which can result in cracks.
- Excessive water heater sediments will cause the change in
water color. Flush the unit periodically as part of the regular
maintenance and if necessary, install the filter.
- Clean the bottom of the tank and heating elements, as
deposits might create a cushion between the heat source and water,
which can lead to an insufficient supply and slow recovery. This
problem can over time result in a dry fired heating element. As the
lower heating element will cycle more often than the upper element, it
will collect sediments faster and fail more often. Incoloy elements
will last longer than copper made elements.
- In tankless heaters, heat exchanger is small and
the water passages are clogged by the sediments and lime build up this
will reduce the flow and result in high temperatures.
Solution for water heater
- There are few solutions for hard water and sediments. One
is to install a water softener. This is what can help you to reduce the
deposits, but can affect other elements, such as the anode rod as it
accelerate the anode consumption. If using the water softener, you
should inspect the anode rod more often and replace it when needed.
- Another solution is to buy a deliming solution from the
manufacturer and treat the affected heater as part of the regular
My recommendation is to look for the manufacturer that
incorporates a system that fights the water heater sediment and lime
build-up. The idea is actually very simple. Innovative design of the
ensures that the incoming water makes the turbulent flow
inside the tank, which dissolves the calcium compounds. If you look at
White you will find the system called HydroJet
Performance System; AO
Smith DynaClean and the EverKleen
All these system successfully reduce the sedimentation problem.
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