Sediment in a hot water heater.


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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

  • The tiny opening at about 2 o'clock is all that remains the rest is build up of hard water and debris that has collected at the bottom of the tank.
  • This is the insides of a new tankless hot water heater.
  • Another side shot of the heater. It vents with three inch PVC pipe.
  • Mo
    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
    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 there?
  • Woodbridge Environmental
    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
  • Woodbridge Environmental
    Thats great to hear Sarah Kmetz. Glad to help. Thats why I am here for.
  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth Middleburg, FL
    The water heater at the last house my ex and I owned had never been drained. It suddenly quit working and when the guy came to check it, that was exactly what we found. The sediment was so deep that could not be removed. The heater had to be replaced,
Woodbridge Environmental

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