Water Heater Cleaning Maintenance

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Water heaters are a critical plumbing component for any house that has running water.  Making sure to do routine maintenance and cleaning your water heater can add years of life to your system, save you money each month with increased operating efficiencies and make your water heat up faster.  We have provided other tips about water heater maintenance that you can view here.

One of the most common issues people face with water heaters is a relatively simple job to take care of for any DIYer. If the bottom of your water heater fills with sludge, the heater won’t operate at peak performance. Sediment buildup naturally occurs so its important that you check your system and clean it if necessary.  Aside from being a breeding ground for bacteria, sediment at the base of a tank significantly diminishes the efficiency of a gas water heater and can cause it to rumble like a freight train.This build up also causes the water at the base of the tank to super-heat and turn to steam, resulting in mini explosions that blast small amounts of sediment off the bottom of the tank.

To clean the sediment out of a water heater, follow these steps:

  1. Be sure to turn off the power to the water heater and the cold-water inlet valve before you begin any repairs. Unscrew the cold-water supply line at the top of the water heater and remove the nipple screwed into the cold-water port.

  2. Pour an acid-based cleaner into the open hole and wait eight – 16 hours for the acid to dissolve the minerals at the bottom of the tank.  The citric-acid-based cleaning product Mag-Erad works well, but it can sometimes be hard to find.  A quick google search can help you find online retailers who carry the product.

  3. Next you will flush the system – connect a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater and run the hose out into the garden.

  4. Open the drain valve, reconnect the cold-water supply line, and then turn on the cold-water supply to the water heater. The cloudy water and sediment that comes out of the end of the hose will amaze you.

  5. Bleed air from the system by turning on the hot-water faucet farthest from the water heater.  When water runs from this faucet, turn it off and repeat this process at other faucets throughout the house.

  6. That’s it – simple right?  Turn the power back onto the water heater and fire it up.  You should have clean fresh hot water flowing in no time.

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