Three Ways To Eliminate Mineral Deposits In A Gas Water Heater


If you live in an area with hard water and don't use a water softener, your gas water heater will accumulate mineral deposits over time. If the appliance is not cleaned periodically, these deposits can build up and decrease the machine's efficiency and life span. Luckily, cleaning the water heater is something you can do yourself, and here are three different ways you can complete this task.

Flush the Hot Water Heater

Sometimes simply draining or flushing the appliance is all it takes to get rid of any built up mineral deposits. Of the three options, this is the easiest to do and should take place at least once per year. Before proceeding with any of the instructions in this guide, turn off the water heater's gas valve and the inlet valve that supplies cold water to the tank. These valves should be located on or near the tank and water pipes.

To flush the water heater:

  1. Obtain a garden hose and attach to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. If there is no floor drain in the area where the appliance is stored, you'll need to find a safe place for the water to drain out. Be certain the exit spout rests below the spout of the drain valve so the water can flow out freely.
  2. Open the drain valve.
  3. Open the pressure valve on the hot water heater. Alternatively, you can open a hot water faucet in your home. This will relieve any air pressure so the water can flow.
  4. Drain the water until it runs clear. It should only take a few gallons of water to flush out the sediment. However, if you drain the entire tank and there's still sediment coming out, you may need to refill the tank and flush it again.
  5. Once the tank is clear, close the drain valve and disconnect the garden hose. If you didn't already open a hot water faucet in your home, do so now to help clear out air from the pipes.
  6. Turn on the water. Only close the faucet in the house when water begins running through it.
  7. Turn on the gas and relight the pilot light if applicable.

Scrape and Vacuum the Sediment

If you've never flushed your water heater since you've owned it or it's been awhile since the last time you've done it, there may be quite a bit of mineral buildup in the machine. Another option is to scrape and vacuum the debris out of the water heater. To perform this task, you'll need a wire hanger that's been straightened and bent at the end, a wet/dry vacuum with a 1/2-inch hose attachment, a wrench, and plumbing tape.

  1. Completely drain the water heater using the previous instructions.
  2. Use the wrench to unscrew and remove the drain valve.
  3. Insert your McGuyvered hanger into the opening and begin scraping the bottom of the tank. Then used the wet/shop vacuum to suck up the minerals.
  4. Repeat the procedure until you feel you've gotten all or most of the deposits.
  5. Wrap a little plumbing tape around the end of the drain valve and attach it back onto the tank.
  6. Flush the tank at least once to get rid of any mineral deposits you may have missed.
  7. Refill the tank, being certain to keep a hot water faucet open in the house to get rid of any air in the line.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

While there are water heater cleaners you can use to get rid of mineral deposits, it's best to use apple cider vinegar because it eliminates the risk of contaminating the water supply with unwanted chemicals. Be aware that this method involves letting the apple cider vinegar sit in the tank for at least 24 hours, so you will not have hot water during that time. Be certain to make appropriate preparations beforehand.

  1. After draining the water heater, disconnect the water supply line from the tank.
  2. Using a funnel, pour about two gallons of clean water into the tank. Then follow up with a mixture of 1 gallon of water and 1 gallon of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Reconnect the water supply line.
  4. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
  5. Drain the water heater. Continue filling and draining the machine until all the deposits have been flushed out.
  6. Close the drain valve and refill the water heater a final time.

For more ways to get rid of mineral deposits in your water heater or to get help fixing other problems you may have with the appliance, contact a plumber or water heater repair company.


21 April 2015

Exploring The Importance of Plumbing Pipes

Hi everyone, my name is Linda Strickerts. I am going to talk about plumbing pipes problems, repairs and upgrades on this site. Although the pipes hide beneath the floors and behind the walls, they are an integral part of the home. Without plumbing pipes, we would still be heading out to the outhouse to do our business. Washing clothes, dishes and ourselves would also not be possible without carrying buckets of water in and out of the home. I hope to explore the different ways plumbing pipes changed our lives for the better. I will talk about keeping the pipes in great shape as well. Thanks.