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Why There is Sediment in Water Heaters

Why There is Sediment in Water Heaters

Tap water contains several minerals, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. It also contains trace elements, such as copper, iron, selenium, chromium, and zinc. So, when the water is heated, the minerals separate and float down to the bottom of the tank where the create a sediment.

Since the sediment settles at the bottom of the water heater, as time passes it begins to build up. As the sediment accumulates, it reduces the efficiency of the unit. The sediment reduces the unit’s ability to store and heat the water. While this process happens in every household and with both hard and soft water, it’s more of an issue with hard water because the water contains more minerals.

If you want to increase the lifespan of your water heater, you’ll want to keep it maintained. If you have a gas unit, the sediment will need to be regularly dissolved with a cleaner and cleaned out. But if you have an electric unit, it will require a special method called “flushing,” which dissolves the sediment.

What if I Already Had a Flushing?

Occasionally, a homeowner will contact us after they’ve already had someone else flush their water heater. However, after the flushing the sediment kept coming back and it’s begun to damage the dishwasher and shower system. What could be the issue?

There are several things it could be, such as:

  • If something changed in the piping a year or so prior, backfill sand could have gotten into the pipes during construction.
  • If there are more people living in the home (a higher water demand), that could be the issue.
  • If the sediment is ONLY in the water tank/lines, the water is the primary suspect.
  • If the sediment is a slimy brown or orange, iron bacteria could be forming in the hot water pipes and that would be the suspect.
  • It could be clean and, salt, or filter media from a water treatment system.
  • If your home is on a well system, it could be filter media, which is coming from a wellhouse sand filtration tank.

Next: What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

If you need your water heater flushed, repaired, or replaced, contact us to schedule a service call with a Georgetown plumber!

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