One common problem with traditional water heaters that you are likely to experience is sediment buildup. All water heaters deal with this issue, though the amount and speed of accumulation can vary depending on the brand of water heater and where you live. It can even be destructive and costly and, if not controlled, can cost you money with frequent replacements. However, there are ways to reduce and slow down the damage done by sediment if you know the causes and prevent them:
How does sediment build up in hot water tanks?
All water sources contain minerals as well as dirt which can easily enter the tank. These minerals, especially calcium carbonate, separate and fall to the bottom to form a sand-like sediment. Over time, this buildup can cause a variety of problems such as clogged drain valves and overall reduced performance and efficiency. When your sediment gets really high, you will hear strange noises such as banging and popping It can also cause overheating and eventually total failure.
How is sediment buildup prevented?
You can't completely prevent it, however, there are things you can do to keep it from getting so bad that you have problems. Some of these things can be done by the average homeowner, but if you want it done thoroughly, then it's best to hire a professional water heater repair service.
Drain your water heater regularly, usually at least once or twice a year depending on how hard your water is in your location
Flush out the water heater after draining to remove the sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank
Check for rust and scaling damage each time the tank is empty. Have it scraped, or treated with lime and scale dissolving chemicals that are safe for your water supply, if necessary
Install a sediment filter ahead of the tank to trap some of the sediment before it reaches your tank
Lower the hot water temperature to slow down lime and sediment production
When should the water heater be replaced?
If the problem is already beyond repair, or your water heater has already died, then you may want to get a new water heater and start over from the beginning. Before you get that new water heater, you should treat any existing hard water problems. This may mean installing water softeners and other devices to reduce or catch the sediment before it causes damage. You can also choose a different type of water heater such as a tankless water heater if you feel that draining and scaling a traditional water heater is something that is too difficult to keep track of and have performed. Any water heater specialist can help you with both replacement or maintenance of whatever system you have installed.