Learning About Sediment Buildup in Water Heaters

Water Heater Repair and Service

Water Heater Repair and Service 317-784-1870

Sediment refers to the small and often times, microscopic, particles that precipitate out of water at high temperatures. Sand, dirt, calcium carbonate, mineral ions, and any other solid debris commonly makes up the sediment found at the bottom of hot water heater tanks. Sediment buildup in hot water heaters generally depends on what kind of water you have. In some areas, there is virtually no sediment; while other areas contain water with high levels of sediment.

Regular flushing of your hot water heater helps prevent sediment build up. The heating of water in your water heater causes calcium carbonate to precipitate out and settle to the bottom of the tank. Steam bubbles form under the sediment when the burners come on, causing popping and other similar noises as the bubbles escape from under the sediment.

Why Is Your Water Heater Not Producing Enough Hot Water? It Might Be…

• A Broken Dip Tube
• Incorrect Temperature Setting
• Faulty Thermostat
• Sediment Buildup
• Faulty Electric Components
• Burned Out Heating Elements

What is a 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 of hot water.

Do You Have a Noisy Tank?

Noise coming from gas water heater models are often times caused by the sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. Steam bubbles form under the sediment; and when the bubbles begin to escape from under the sediment, it causes thumping and popping noises. On the other hand, sizzling noises can be caused by condensation dripping onto the hot burner; like falling water drops on a hot griddle.

Thermal Expansion

When water is heated, it expands. If an inlet is not blocked by a check valve, pressure reducing valve, or other device, the increase in water volume simply travels back into the source. If the inlet is blocked, this increase in volume will cause an increase in pressure; and sometimes to dangerous levels. The T&PR (Temperature & Pressure Release) valve relieves this pressure by discharging a small amount of liquid.

A thermal expansion tank can be installed in the line that will absorb the increase in volume, thus preventing the T&PR valve from discharging unnecessarily. T&P valves are strictly an emergency measure and should be replaced every 2 years. At 180 degrees, the temperature at which 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.

What is Water Hammer?

When water travels through the pipes, it creates kinetic energy or energy of motion. When a valve abruptly shuts off, a shock wave results. Water hammer most often occurs when a valve shuts off suddenly. Commercial arrestors are available to combat this problem. They have a small air bladder within a cylinder plumbed to the piping system that is located near the problematic valve. Select hardware stores carry them. Also, when pipes appear to droop, adding a support system can solve the problem.

Is the Water a Milky Color?

Water contains dissolved oxygen, as well as, several other gases. When water is heated, it loses most of its ability to maintain these gases. So when the water pressure is lowered as the liquid comes out of the tap, these gasses can form tiny bubbles; which gives the liquid a milky appearance. Allowing the water to stand for a few minutes will permit these bubbles to rise out of the liquid; successively eliminating the milky-ness and restoring a clearer appearance. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, be sure to strap the tank to the wall in order to prevent damage and possible injury.

Water Heater Services – Indianapolis, Indiana

Weilhammer Plumbing Company 317-784-1870

Weilhammer Plumbing Company 317-784-1870

Call Weilhammer Plumbing Company at 317-784-1870 for professional water heater service in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mark Weilhammer, owner and master plumber, has more than 60 years of experience repairing hot water heaters, water softeners, and plumbing systems for residential and commercial properties. He and his team are state licensed master plumbers (#106214), and highly trained to provide a wide-range of water heater repairs and services. We offer free estimates, emergency services, and water heater unit and product sales! Call 317-784-1870 and speak with a friendly and knowledgeable Indianapolis plumber today!