What You Need to Know About Water Heater Sediment Buildup

The actual process of heating water inside your water heater causes calcium carbonate to precipitate out of the water, and eventually settle at the bottom of the tank. The degree and rate of sediment accumulation depends upon what make and model water heater you have. Furthermore, some regions experience a higher degree of sediment buildup, adding in another factor to consider when diagnosing water heater problems. Fortunately, proper and regular flushing helps prevent sediment build up, but this service requires the assistance of a professional.   

Continue reading to learn some common problems associated with water heater sediment buildup in order to determine whether or not your unit requires professional service at this time.

Indianapolis Water Heater Service and Repair
Indianapolis Water Heater Service and Repair 317-784-1870

Not Enough Hot Water

Check for a broken dip tube, wrong setting on a thermostat, a defective thermostat, burned out heating elements (electric), or a heavy buildup of sediment.  See our blog, “Why is My Hot Water Not Working?” to learn what you can do about this issue.

Broken Dip Tube

The dip tube is a long slender tube that fits down into the water heater inlet, and usually has a small hole about 6 inches from the top. The dip tube directs the incoming cold liquid down to the bottom of the tank. If the dip tube is broken, the incoming cold liquid can mix with the outgoing hot liquid and cause it to seem as though you are running out.

Noisy Tank

One of the most common indications of sediment accumulation in water heaters is noise. Steam bubbles form under the sediment when the burners come on, and as the bubbles escape from under the sediment, noises like popping and crackling are produced. Sizzling noises can be caused by condensation dripping onto the hot burner.

Thermal Expansion

When water is heated it expands. If the inlet is not blocked by a check valve, pressure reducing valve, or other device, the increase in volume simply travels back into the source. If the inlet is blocked, this increase in volume will cause an increase in pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels. The temperature and pressure valve (T&P valve) relieves pressure by discharging some liquid. A thermal expansion tank can be installed in the line that will absorb the increase in volume, preventing the relief valve from discharging unnecessarily.

T&P valves are strictly an emergency measure and should be replaced every 2 years. At 180 degrees, the temperature that the T&P valve opens, damage can occur to your system and you may have voided the warranty on your water heater. The improper installation of backflow preventers can block the thermal expansion leading to operation of the T&P Valve.

Water Hammer

When water is traveling in the pipes it has kinetic energy (energy of motion).  When a valve shuts off suddenly a shock wave results. Hammer most often occurs when a valve shuts off suddenly. Commercial arrestors are available to combat this problem. They consist of a small air bladder within a cylinder plumbed to the piping system near the valve causing the problem. Some hardware stores carry them.  Sometimes if the piping is sagging then supporting the pipe solves the problem. See our blog, “How to Solve a Water Hammer Problem” to learn more.

Milky Colored Water

Water contains dissolved oxygen and other gases. When it’s heated it has less ability to hold these gases and when the pressure is lowered as the liquid comes out of the tap these gasses can form tiny bubbles giving the liquid a milky appearance. Letting it stand for a few minutes will allow these bubbles to rise out of the liquid and it resumes its clear appearance. See our blog, “Why is My Faucet Water Cloudy Then Clear?” to learn more about this topic.

Request a Free Water Heater Repair Quote in Indianapolis

Call Weilhammer Plumbing Co. Inc. at 317-714-0759 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable technician about water heaters, today. We are happy to answer any questions you have about water heater service, installation, maintenance, hot water problems, and more, anytime. We even offer 24 hour emergency services for water leaks, floods, and more. Call 317-714-0759 for professional water heater repair services in Indianapolis you can trust!

This entry was posted in Water Heaters and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.