Awesome Remodels 03.17.14

Sediment in a hot water heater.

Recently there has been posts about draining hot water heaters and the pros as well as the cons in doing this. Typical maintenance on a hot water heater is to flush the bottom drain at least once a year. In some towns where they flush their fire hydrants to keep the pipes clear it is suggested to follow their lead a few days after as any sediment that is disturbed ends up on the bottom of your heater.

What happens then is water displacement. The sandy partials that collect on the bottom of the tank displaces the water ever so slightly. This results in hot spots on the bottom of the tank. When this occurs the flames overheat the tank and begin to break down the steel. After many years this breakdown ends up becoming a tiny hole that is filled with this debris, oftentimes preventing the leak.

However if you decide to drain your heater after many years of not doing it, or all of a sudden you start using the heater more then normal, this sediment that has been plugging that tiny hole is flushed out, often resulting in a leak in a few days after.

So the moral is to flush yearly, but if you have not done so for many years to not touch it or you will end up with a leak.

After draining you may find that the flush hose bib valve at the bottom will not turn off. This is because of some sediment that has

50 Comments Displaying 15 of 50 comments | See Previous
  • Michael, the vent system both fresh air and discharge should have nothing such as a flapper that opens and closes. Not allowed. Perhaps who ever installed this did it wrong? I would look into this.
    • Dorita Kesley tankless or on demand units are not much different then any other type when it comes to scale build up. Only thing is the efficiency of the on demand units rely on a clean
  • Sarah Kmetz Midlothian, VA
    Thanks Woodbridge for clearing up some of the cobwebs that were remaining about the tankless units.
  • Michael Monticello, GA
    Woodbridge, I was in a situation where I couldn't vent straight up through the roof. My unit was in the basement, and came with a powered exhaust, so I could run an exhaust vent horizonally to the outside, between the basement wall, and floor. The
  • Michael, many hot water heaters including those with tanks do vent out the side wall. Natural vent systems that do not have a power vent system however must vent up the chimney as the natural draft of the chimney is needed to draw the gasses up and out.
  • Sarah Kmetz Midlothian, VA
    Thanks for the advice! I have learned more here than anywhere else about the tankless systems!!
  • Helen Peterson Hamilton, OH
    We have had a water softener since our house was new: about 20 years. Our FOURTH water heater has gone out again, in not much more than 4 years. We have friends with houses the same age as ours and are on their original water heater. We are concluding
    • Jeannette K Gillette, WY
      Helen Peterson I have to agree with you about the soft water damaging water heaters. We have been in our home for 6 1/2 years, have had a water softener since day one and have two water
  • Soft water should not be the cause of your heater giving out so soon. What warranties have you had on your heaters when you purchased them? Are they name brands or off shoots from one supply house or another?
  • Michael Monticello, GA
    Might want to look into an EasyWater? setup. I put a set of magnets on mine after the first pipe clooged up with mineral build-up. I think the easywater is just an electromagnet.
  • Easy water will do nothing in prevention of scale buildup in a tankless system. There are countless theory's if this type of system does anything other then waste ones money. The calcium needs to be removed to prevent scale build up. Only a salt water
  • Mo Temple, TX
    My husband past away and I am now discovering just how many things he did that I did not know or even appreciate him doing. What should I be doing for the hot water heater? I would rather do maintenance now or preventative work so as not to have to have
  • Mo Temple, TX
    To add to my prior questions...what moust be done to check the vent. I do not even know if there is one in a trailer...is there?
  • There are two types of vents on a hot water heater. One that is a pressure vent that you should test yearly, unless you have never done this and the heater is a few years old. And a combustion vent, only on a gas or oil fired heater. Electrical heaters
  • Thats great to hear Sarah Kmetz. Glad to help. Thats why I am here for.