Simply put, sediment is a build-up of minerals at the bottom of the water heater tank. Whether your water comes from a municipal supply or a well, sediment can be the result of debris (such as sand) in the water mains or build-up of minerals found in the water supply. The building up of minerals in the bottom of a water heater tank is one of the most common reasons for water heater failure in systems that have not had annual maintenance.
How Does Sediment Affect a Water Heater?
Water heaters are called upon to produce hot water quickly and in adequate amounts. Because of their high usage, they need to be maintained and serviced each year to avoid the problems listed below.
- The sludge resulting from the mineral build-up collects at the bottom of the tank. Over time, the sludge takes up more and more room, leaving less space for water, so the water heater provides hot water for shorter periods.
- Sediment breeds bacteria, which leads to foul-smelling water.
- Sediment that is allowed to remain in the water heater will eventually rust the tank and cause it to leak.
- Sediment in the heater can also cause the tank to overheat or boil, which causes the heater to be noisy when it operates.
The Importance of Annual Maintenance
Without annual inspection, water heater sediment will eventually lead to a failure of the unit. When you contact a professional plumber to perform annual maintenance, he or she will inspect and service the unit thoroughly, including:
- Inspecting the outer casing for any damage.
- Inspecting the water heater’s fittings.
- Performing a voltage test.
- Setting or resetting the temperature settings.
- Flushing the system to remove sediment build-up.
- Testing the unit to ensure it is operating correctly.
Since most people count on their hot water heaters to remain efficient for 10-15 years, it is important to schedule routine maintenance to prevent sediment buildup from shortening a heater’s lifespan. For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.