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Performance Plumbing Blog

Do Tank Water Heaters Need Maintenance?

water-heater-tankThe short answer to this is “yes,” which might leave you wondering why. We have the answers you seek!

First off, have you heard of hard water before? This is water with a high presence of minerals in it–namely magnesium and calcium, and sometimes even iron. For most people. these minerals are completely harmless to ingest. Unfortunately, though, it leads to scaling, which damages your plumbing.

Scaling is the name given to the deposits that get left behind due to these minerals, and they can impact your water heater worse than any other portion of your plumbing system. While scale can be cleaned relatively easily from a faucet, it’s not so simple when it comes to your water heater. Read on to learn more, and when you’re ready to schedule water heater maintenance reach out to our team!

Why Deposits Get Left Behind

Have you ever discovered a flaky, white, or yellow buildup around the faucet handles or drains of your home’s sinks? This results from scaling. The minerals simply don’t drain away like the water does, clinging to metal surfaces even as water rushes through.

These mineral deposits get stuck in your plumbing pipes—including those pipes leading into and out of your water heater—and at the bottom of the water heater tank.

How Scaling Damages Plumbing

Scaling impact your water heater and your entire plumbing system in a number of ways. For instance, buildup develops in the pipes and blocks water from moving through, if the layer of mineral deposits is thick enough.

More commonly, however, these minerals damage the inside of water heater tanks. What happens is that the minerals build up on the bottom of the tank and surrounding the heat exchangers, which prevents the water from being heated evenly. This decreases efficiency and leads to an imbalance in pressure levels. Also, the minerals rattle around at the bottom of the tank and can lead to accelerated corrosion.

“How Do I Know If I Have a Scaling Problem?”

The most apparent sign that scale is impacting your water heater is the sound it makes when it rattles in the tank. This is often described as a popping or knocking. This happens as steam bubbles attempt to escape past the layer of sediment at the bottom of the tank.

Scaling also impacts the temperature of the water. This is particularly true with tankless water heaters, as the deposits coat the heat exchanger and make it difficult for water to pick up heat. You might even notice low hot water pressure, if scaling clogs up the pipes that lead out of your water heater.

“So, I Need Maintenance?”

Yes. Scaling is an issue that is checked for during your water heater maintenance appointment. It’s also worth mentioning that you can prevent scaling! Since it develops due to hard water, installing a water softener can do the trick to help you avoid that. This doesn’t mean you should skip maintenance though, if you do get a water softener. Your water heater should be checked in multiple areas!

Performance Plumbing is your trusted resource for St. Charles water heaters.

Contact us today! 

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