Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sediment in you water heater is placing your home at risk

All water contains dissolved minerals and when water stands still for a period of time, gravity causes some of these minerals to settle out. Since water sitting in a water heater stays still for long  periods of time, it's just natural these minerals will start adhering to the bottom of the tank.

While this sediment is perfectly natural and while it is not felt to be unhealthy, a build up of sediment in your water heater still isn't good.  

For example, your 40 gallon water heater won't actually have 40 gallons of hot water in it.  A water heater that is 10+ years old can have its water volume reduced 20% or more.  That volume is taken up by the sediment and you will run out of hot water quicker than you normally would. The sediment makes your water heater less energy efficient since you're no longer just heating water,  you're also heating the sediment.  The sediment does not transfer heat as well as water and as a result, your water takes longer to heat and you using more energy thus costing you more money.

Running out of hot water early and costing you few extra dollars a year are only a minor problems.  What is happening inside of your tank is leading to a much more major of a problem.  Sediment and water transfer heat at different rates and the sediment at the bottom of the water heater insulates the water from being heated.  The reduced amount of water in your tank now takes longer to heat.  The sediment and the water also expand at different rates when heat is applied to them.  Because more heat is being applied to the bottom of the tank than is normally necessary, this creates undo stress on the bottom of your tank and weakens the structure of the tank increasing the chance of failure and flooding your home. 

To keep your water heater from springing a leak and ensure that it's working efficiently and safely, call me and schedule routine maintenance to protect your home and your pocket book.