Often, your water heater tank is kept out of sight and out of mind. That is, until there’s an unwelcome issue that requires a water heater repair service, such as a complete lack of hot water, unexpectedly low water temperatures, or other issues that affect the comfort and convenience of living in a San Antonio, TX, home outfitted with a modern water heating solution.
Most people don’t even think about their water heater until their showers start to fluctuate unpleasantly between too hot and too cold. However, one thing to be aware of is that your hot water heater tank can build up sediment over time from minerals and other particulates in the water supply. The mineral content of your local water supply can cause sediment buildup over the course of a single year, resulting in the need to call water heater repair services more frequently, if left unchecked.
Homes with traditional tank-type water heaters frequently experience scale and sediment problems. Tank-type heaters’ interiors can corrode, and eventually this corrosion settles to its bottom. Sometimes, sediment can also get caught in the hot water supply lines and cause a blockage that lowers the water pressure. Scale buildup can also occur with tankless heaters, causing a decrease in water pressure. The pipes supplying your water heater, regardless of type, can also be prone to sediment buildup.
The symptoms of sediment build-up are not always obvious or explicitly linked to sediment build-up. Sometimes, you may find yourself calling for water heater repair to fix other elements, such as a broken igniter or faulty thermostat. But it’s important to note the common symptoms of sediment in hot water heaters, and flush your tank regularly to avoid sediment causing unwelcome issues. Some of the most frequent complaints associated with sediment build-up that come from San Antonio, TX, residents include:
- “My hot water is not available!”
- “I can’t seem to get consistent water temperatures!”
- “The tank makes rumbling or popping sounds!”
- “My hot water supply smells foul and looks rusty!”
- “I can see water pooling around the drains!”
- “It takes water a long time to heat!”
- “My tap water tastes bitter! Do I need a water heater repair?”
- “Hot water is staining and leaving residues!”
- “The hot water pressure is lower than normal.”
What Causes Sediment To Settle?
When water is cool, sediment is kept in suspension. The heating process causes sediment to come out of suspension. Minerals condense as the water heats, and small particles aggregate into larger, more powerful particles. These particles eventually become too heavy to stay suspended and settle to the bottom of the tank or supply pipe.
If you want to check the performance of your hot water heater and determine if you need water heater repair, run the hot water from your kitchen faucet to quickly check the water heater’s performance. Use a thermometer on the water supply to make sure that your thermostat is calculating the correct temperature. It could also be that your hot water heater thermostat is set too low, and you need to tune-up over winter to ensure water reaches the correct temperature.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure that sediment isn’t causing issues with your hot water heater.
Set the Right Temperature!
When it comes to sediment buildup, heat makes a difference when it comes to trying to avoid water heater repair. Although it may seem counterintuitive, raising the temperature can be beneficial. High temperatures can cause some materials to dissolve. However, minerals like magnesium and calcium are more likely than others to form deposits at excessively high temperatures.
Make sure your water heater is at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the setting recommended by most manufacturers and considered the optimal heating setting. Setting higher temperatures can cause adverse sediment issues.
Install a Water Softener in Your Home!
Untreated water (hard water) naturally contains trace amounts of heavy minerals such as calcium and magnesium. The minerals in hard water can build up over time inside your water heater’s tank, and can be responsible for a variety of water heater repair requests. The efficiency of your water heater will be severely affected if there are too many minerals in its tank. If the buildup gets bad enough, the water heater could be permanently damaged.
Hard water can also cause skin and hair damage, and other health-related side effects. Hard water can cause damage to your home and water heater. If hard water with a lot of excess minerals is a concern, a water softener is the way to go.
Flush Your Hot Water Heater!
Homeowners should drain their hot water tank at least once per year. Flushing your hot-water tank is an excellent preventative maintenance activity that extends the unit’s life, reduces sediment, and helps to avoid future water heater repair.
Although draining a hot water tank might seem easy, there are many things that can go wrong. Valves may crack or leak, causing water damage. The unit could also turn on when it is empty, and break the heating element.
Why Is Sediment Build-up Bad For Your Water Heater?!
The sediment forms a layer which slows down the heating process and makes it take longer to get hot water. The sediment layer can also increase strain on your system, as it has to work harder to supply hot water. This can increase the likelihood of repairs.
The sediment layer also reduces the usable volume of your water tank, limiting how much hot water it can store, so you’ll have access to less than usual if there’s an excess.
To get help with the sediment buildup forming in your water heater, call the pros at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio. We serve San Antonio, TX, and surrounding areas with expert water heater repair services. We can inspect your water supply and check for signs of a failing plumbing system. Also, you can ask us to install a water filter to reduce sediment in your hot water tank.