If you're like most homeowners, you don't spend a lot of time thinking about your hot water heater. As long as you turn on the tap and hot water comes out, you really have no reason to worry. You should, however, be aware of one issue that commonly occurs with hot water tanks. That issue is sediment buildup. Here's what you need to know as a homeowner.
How does sediment end up in your hot water tank?
The water that comes into your home from your municipal water treatment plant is clean, but that does not mean it does not contain some tiny debris. Most of this debris is dissolved minerals. A little at a time, they settle out of solution and end up at the bottom of your water heater. Your hot water heater sees a lot of water, and so the sediment can build up faster than you might assume.
How does sediment affect your hot water tank?
There are a few different effects that sediment can affect your hot water tank. For one, it can reduce your hot water heater's efficiency. The minerals can form a barrier between the heating element and the water, so the water does not get hot as quickly. You may notice that your energy bills go up as a result. You may also notice that it takes longer for your hot water heater to recover after you empty it. Over time, operating with sediment in the bottom will increase wear and tear on your hot water heater, which may cause it to fail prematurely.
What can you do about sediment in the hot water tank?
If you think your tank currently has sediment, the best thing you can do is drain it. You do not have to drain the whole thing. Instead, hook a hose up to the drain valve, and drain a few gallons out into a bucket. The sediment will be collected at the bottom of the tank, so you only need to drain a few gallons to get rid of it.
How do you prevent future sediment buildup?
You can prevent the sediment from returning by draining your tank proactively. You can drain a few gallons from the tank to remove any sediment that has settled out so far a few times a year.
Sediment can be an issue in hot water tanks, but once you know what you're doing, the problems it causes are easy to prevent.
Contact a plumber to learn more.