Water heaters, just like people, need an occasional checkup from a professional. During the inspection, a plumber looks at the pressure valve, temperature setting and anode rod. Your plumber may also recommend draining and flushing the appliance to prevent a buildup of sediment.
What Is Water Heater Sediment?
Water heater sediment builds from minerals naturally present in well and municipal water. Substances that don’t dissolve in water collect in the bottom of the tank. Sediment may resemble sand or small particles.
Why Perform a Drain?
Draining and flushing keeps a water heater efficient. A well-maintained appliance lasts longer. Sediment that builds over the years decreases your heater’s performance and can lead to discolored water.
How Often Should A Tank Be Flushed?
Most plumbers recommend yearly flushing to remove sediment. If you live in an area with soft water, you may be able to go a couple of years between maintenance. Hard water creates more buildup than does soft water.
Is Water Heater Sediment Unhealthy?
Sediment may contain impurities that leach into hot water. Use cold water for cooking and drinking to minimize the risk of ingesting impurities.
Sediment may also play host to bacteria. If your hot water has an odor, bacteria could be to blame. A water heater temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit kills most types of germs, but won’t cause scalding injuries.
Some people recommend a setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for those who have compromised immune systems. If you set the temperature above 120 degrees, get your plumber to install a mixing valve on every faucet. The mixing valve keeps tap water at safe temperatures.
How Sediment Harms a Water Heater
Sediment causes overheating. Temperatures that are too high damage the tank’s lining. Buildup may cause heating elements to burn out. In general, an accumulation of grit means the appliance works harder to do its job, uses more energy and breaks down sooner.
Sediment can also clog the drain valve during flushing. Once the valve is jammed, you may need to replace it, but not before the leaking heater leaves a puddle on the floor. Because it’s common for the valve to clog or break, flushing a water heater is best left to a professional plumber.
Preventing Sediment Buildup
A whole-house water filter reduces minerals and buildup. The surest way to prevent buildup, however, is with a regular maintenance plan.
Apollo Drain Installs and Repairs Water Heaters
We can give your old appliance the care it needs, and we also offer customized maintenance plans. If it’s time for a new water heater, get in touch. We’ll recommend a more efficient model that may reduce your energy consumption and utility bills.