How To Prevent Water Heater Scale Buildup

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If your home has hard water, it could be creating a problem in your water heater that will reduce its lifespan significantly. This happens when scale and lime in your water coats the heating element and electrodes and prevents the water heater from working effectively. Scale also builds up in pipes and can cause damage to your home's water supply.

Scale can cause your water heater to make loud noises, waste energy as the water heater needs to work harder, and diminish the temperature of the hot water. Scale buildup needs to be reduced in order to reduce heating costs and protect your water heater from being damaged. Here are some ways to do this.

Install A Water Softener

The best way to stop scale from building up is to soften the water as it comes into your home with a water-softening system. Water softeners do this by removing magnesium ions and calcium, the minerals responsible for scale formation, and replaces them with sodium.

By removing those two minerals, scale and lime are unable to form, and your water heater and pipes will be protected from potential damage and inefficiency.

Remove Scale With Vinegar

If a home water softening system is not an option, you can remove scale by using vinegar. This mild acid works great, but must be used carefully. Make sure your water tank is off before adding vinegar, as you do not want to heat the water with vinegar in it.

All you need is 1 gallon of vinegar, and it will clean your water heater effectively. Let the vinegar stay in the tank for about 6 hours, and it will slowly dislodge the scale off the tank and electrodes. You'll need to flush the tank afterwards by draining all the water from it.

Regularly Flush The Water Heater

Flushing a water heater is a great way to remove sediment before it builds up, but it can also remove scale. The more water that flows through the tank, the more often it needs to be drained. For large families, try to drain the water heater every 6 months.

In order to flush a hot water tank, the heating element must be completely turned off, as heating an empty tank can damage it. All you need to do is open the valve along the very bottom of your tank and let the water flow out through a garden hose into a nearby drain.  Then refill the tank and turn the heating element back on.

Following these tips will help prevent scale buildup in your water heater. For more advice, speak with experts like StateWide Mechanical II Inc.

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31 March 2015

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