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Water Heater Leaking Issues and Corrosion Problems

August 07, 2015

Your water heater is one of your most important appliances. A malfunctioning water heater can result in more than just an uncomfortably cold shower. Without regular maintenance, wear and tear on your water heater, especially corrosion over time, can result in leaks and extensive water damage.

Luckily, most regular water heater maintenance can be taken care of by the homeowner, using tips and resources from the expert plumbers at Roto-Rooter.

Causes of Corrosion

Mineral Buildup

Within most modern water heater units is a component called the anode rod. This component helps to prevent water from corroding the inner structure of a water heater by drawing minerals to itself like a magnet. Every few years, these rods need to be replaced in order to continue functioning efficiently. Neglecting this crucial step will eventually result in serious damage to the system, including causing the water heater to fail beyond repair.

Sediment Buildup

Sediment can build up within a water heater tank leading to corrosion, reductions in energy efficiency, and potential clogs in water lines. When minerals like calcium accumulate inside of a water heater, they can cause electric heating elements to fail or cause heat to distribute unevenly. In severe cases, sediment buildup can result in a total water heater failure and necessitate replacing the entire unit. To flush a system, all you need to do is the following (in order):

  1. Connect a hose to the drainage valve on the water heater.
  2. Run the hose to a drain nearby so that the hot water does not leak onto the floor.
  3. Turn on a hot water faucet at the highest point in the home.
  4. Turn off electrical power and/ or gas flow to the water heater.
  5. Turn off the water supply valve controlling water to the water heater.
  6. Turn on the drainage valve and allow the water to drain out completely. Make sure not to touch the hot water at this point because it will burn you badly.
  7. After the hot water has drained completely, turn on the cold water supply valve again and allow the cold water filling the tank to continue to drain and flush out all of the impurities inside.
  8. Turn the drainage valve firmly to the off position, turn off the faucet in the house, allow tank to refill with water then turn on the electricity and/or gas to the water heater.

Your water heater should be flushed at least once yearly or more often if you have hard water and a busy household.

Not the DIY type? No problem. Your neighborhood Roto-Rooter plumbers are available to lend a hand. We don’t just tackle plumbing emergencies—we’ll help you out with regular maintenance too, from installing a new water heater to flushing and optimizing your existing system.

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