One of the ironies of life is that the calcium and magnesium found in hard water are good for you, but they are definitely not good for your water heater or any other appliance that’s dependent on water. Hard water is especially bad for your water heater because hot water causes minerals to form limescale more effectively than cold water does. Limescale, a crust that forms on components such as heating elements, is what does a water heater in over the long run. Fortunately, there are things both you and our plumbers can do to prevent this from happening.
Some signs that there’s a mineral buildup in your tank include banging noises, unexpectedly high energy bills, rust-colored or bad-smelling water, or hot water whose delivery has become unreliable.
Tips for Preventing Mineral Build-Up
Here are some ways to prevent mineral buildup in your water heater tank:
- Buy a water softening system.
- Flush the heater every six to 12 months.
- Keep the temperature low.
- Flush the tank with vinegar or lye.
Our plumbers at PHD are skilled at installing water softeners. In this system, the fresh water that comes into your home is first run through a bath of resin balls in brine. There, calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium ions. This softened water then moves on to your fixtures or to your water heater. However, this may be impractical for homes where people need a low sodium diet.
Flushing the water heater every six to 12 months is part of basic maintenance, but you should do it more often if your water is very hard, as it is in Yuma, AZ. First, turn your tank off, and allow it to cool down. Attach a length of garden hose to the drain valve, and open it up. Depending on where your tank is, you may need a few buckets or access to a drain or the outdoors.
The hotter the water is, the more minerals will leach out of it. Though you may want your hot water to almost be hot enough for your tea, it is best to keep it between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another way to keep minerals at bay is to flush your tank with white vinegar or lye. Since lye may be tricky to use for some people, vinegar is preferable. After you flush your tank, add vinegar, and let it sit for a few hours. Flush the tank again, then put it back into service.
Contact PHD Plumbing
Historic Yuma, home of Waylon’s Water World and Arizona Western College, is a great place to live, but it does have hard water. For professional plumbing services or more information on combating mineral buildup in your hot water tank, call our knowledgeable team at PHD Plumbing.