Although you cannot see through your water heater, you can check for sediment in water heater symptoms. Sediment is a build-up of different minerals like magnesium, iron, and other solids like rust and dirt, which reduce the water heater’s effectiveness.
Most homeowners experience sediment symptoms like having water heater noises, water taking long to flow from the tap, and leaking and faulty pressure relief valves. While these seem like usual problems, they can lead to complete damage to the water heater.
If you cannot tell if your water heater has sediment, hire experienced plumbers like Clover Services — they know how to fix a leaking pressure relief valve, and here is how they do it.
Before looking at the symptoms of sediment in a water heater, it is essential first to know how it gets in the heater.
Sediment and How It Gets Into Your Water Heater
Water consists of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. It also has sand, dirt, rust, and other elements. When these solids and dissolved minerals build up, they make sediment.
A combination of wind, water, and ice transports the sediment into rivers, lakes, and other water sources, which supplies your water system with water. The deposits can then accumulate in your water heater from the water system.
Although houses get water from different points, like the municipal council or a private well, your water heater is still prone to sediment build-up. Besides the filtration that the water goes through, some minerals and dirt pass into the pipes.
Also, if you just drilled a new well, the water could have many contaminants due to the drilling process. With time, the particles settle on the well’s bottom. Still, a simple water stir during the pumping process introduces the particles into your water supply.
Water Heater Sediment Symptoms
It is hard to admit that your water is not entirely clean, and until you get a perfect mechanism to block sediment, your water heater is at risk. You should also schedule maintenance once you notice these symptoms because they indicate residue in your water heater.
1. Hissing And Popping Sounds From The Water Heater
Once you hear hissing and popping sounds in your water heater tanks, that is a clear indication of the presence of sediments. The hissing sounds happen when the minerals and other elements around the heater are heating.
The popping sounds are mainly due to the pockets of air in the water trapped in the layer of sediment. These sounds are not there when the heater is new because there is no extra layer of elements around it.
2. Water Takes Too Long To Heat
Have you noticed that once you open the tap, the water takes some minutes to get hot? The problem is your water heater, and the main distraction could be sediment. Also, when you turn on the shower knob to release hot water, but it is lukewarm, there are sediments in your heater.
The water heater has a storage tank, and as the water in the tank heats, minerals separate and settle at the bottom. The dissolved minerals form a layer around the tank, which acts as insulation between the water and the heater.
As a result, less heat from the heater reaches the water, so it cannot get hot. Sometimes only cold water flows out of the taps and showers, and it does not get as hot as you would want it to get.
More sediment build-up makes it more challenging for the water heater to heat the water in the tank. When it eventually fails, it could cause leaking or complete malfunctioning.
3. The Faulty Pressure Relief Valve
There are water heater temperature and pressure valves that are vulnerable to leaks. Although plumbers associate this problem with incorrect installation, it could also be due to sediment buildup.
When there is a lot of sediment in the tank, the minerals and corrosion around the water heater cause it to heat up more so that the heat goes past the sediment blockage. The tank also heats up unusually and expands.
The expansion increases the water pressure in the tank, which causes leaking or a burst. The tank overheating is a serious problem because the increased pressure can cause it to burst.
However, the tank maintains the correct pressure using a temperature and pressure T&P relief valve, allowing the extra water to flow to prevent bursting. However, too much pressure on the valves can cause them to fail, causing leaks.
4. Low Hot Water Flow
Although low water supply can cause low water pressure in the taps and shower, another reason for low hot water flow is sediment build-up in the heater. You can confirm this if the cold water taps have high water pressure than the hot water taps.
The sediment build-up in the water heater tanks disrupts your home’s water pressure. Therefore, if the water pressure is too low, the flow in the shower and taps will also be low.
5. Cracks On The Hot Water Tank
When the sediment surrounds the water heater and produces too much heat that overheats the water, there is an increase in pressure. The tank’s expansion leads to cracks which can later cause leaking.
You might notice some wetness on the tank’s wall or some water puddles beneath the tank. The leaks could lead to high water bills, so you should repair or replace the tank fast.
What’s Next After Determining Sediment In The Water Heater?
Once you determine sediment build-up in your water heater, you should contact a professional to solve the problem. You can also empty the tank to remove any sediment and do so yearly to keep the tank clean.
Homeowners should also install a whole-house water system to completely filter the water and ensure no elements enter the building. It keeps your water heater safe and reduces the cost of maintenance.
If you ticked all the boxes of sediment in water heater symptoms, you should get immediate help. The mineral and dirt build-up in your water heater might not immediately cause it to fail, but it reduces its lifespan. Hopefully, you can now determine the presence of water heater sediment with these signs.