Symptoms of Sediment in Hot Water Heater
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A hot water heater can cause sediments to build up at the bottom of the tank and release them into the water stream. Sediments like magnesium, iron, and calcium found in hot water heaters can trigger an alarming problem that may be deemed as a plumbing crisis that needs to be fixed. If the sediments are not removed or flushed out, it will cause without a doubt premature tank failure.  Of course, you cannot see through a hot water heater, so how exactly can you tell when there is sediment buildup? Well, like kids when they get the sick and start cough, your hot water heater tanks tend to work the same way.

Sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank will create different sets of noises, this is just one of the symptoms of sediment build-up. Let’s take a look at the rest of the hot water heater sediment symptoms.

Hot Water Heater Sediment Basics

Some homes with hot water heater tanks may have an embedded self-cleaning mechanism that controls the build-up of sediment. As cold water flows through the dip tube, calcium and minerals are released almost instantly that regulate sediment build-up in the tank.  It is recommended to drain, flush and clean the hot water heater at least twice a year to remove sediments.

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Symptoms of Hot Water Heater Sediments

Here are some signs that you may be facing a sediment build-up in your hot water heater tank.

Water Heater Sounds

An obvious sign of a sediment build-up is the sound that your hot water heater makes. If you hear knocking, popping, boiling or rumbling sounds in the tank, chances are it is due to the build-up of sediment around the elements of the tank and may cause tank failure.

Water Rusting and Odor

A common sign of a sediment build-up is seeing rust in your water. If you see a rust-colored, or brown-like water that usually carries a scent, likelihoods are the sediment has built up and your hot water heater would need to be drained and flushed immediately.

Insufficient Hot Water

Experiencing not enough hot water? The sediment build-up may impact the flow of hot water by forming a blanket-like insulator at the bottom head of the water heater which in turn affects the heat transfer.

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Slow Hot Water Heater Recovery

Another symptom of sediment build-up is its prolonged heating cycle, this is caused by the blanket formed at the bottom head of the tank. When the water heater restoration time is prolonged it causes longer operational periods.

High Operation Costs

Sediment build-up may cause higher utility bills, the hot water heater is working overtime using the burner operations. Longer heating times surge the bill higher and not necessarily the hotness of the water. Furthermore, higher operating temperatures can reduce the life span of the tank and increase the costs of repairs, you may even find yourself replacing the hot water heater.

Preventing Hot Water Heater Sediment Problems

  • Drain and flush hot water heater tank, doing this every six months is necessary to prevent and minimize sediment build up.
  • Adjust the water heater temperature, higher temperatures can expedite the build-up process.
  • Use a water softener – Water softener can prevent sediment build-up, by shortening the lifespan of the anode. However, anode offers protection against rusting, which means if you chose to use water softener you run the risk of damaging your tank. So try not to use it frequently.