How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

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You always wait forever for your water to heat, and in the end, you’re slapped with high electricity bills. Although water heaters are important units for our homes, they can be stressful, especially if you use hard water.

Today, I’ll share how to remove calcium buildup in water heater.

Water contains a high number of minerals. And these minerals may be helpful in our bodies. However, they can be dangerous for your water heater. Once a high amount of magnesium and calcium are present in the water, it’s regarded as hard water.

According to recent observation, many homes use hard water. For this reason, their equipment like water heaters is more prone to calcium.

How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

How Calcium Builds Up in Water Heaters

As earlier discussed, water contains several minerals. On the other hand, treated water may contain calcium carbonate.

When water is heated, the calcium carbonate mineral compound filters to settle on the tank wall and base and coats the heating elements.

However, these compounds may not be harmful to the human body, but they affect the heater’s functionality.

Signs That Your Water Heater Has Calcium Buildup

Although calcium build-up is a slow process, you may learn certain signs with time. To increase your heater lifespan, check for the following signs and clean immediately;

  • High electricity bills – calcium covers the element surfaces and hinders heat transfer to the water. As a result, the heater overworks and consumes more electricity.
  • Water takes longer to heat – because calcium compounds seal the heater elements, it takes longer than usual for the water to heat.
  • Loud banging noise – due to overheating inner components, you may hear some banging noise inside the heater tank.
  • Strange color in hot water – the hot water from the faucet may seem discolored due to corrosion.
  • Unit failure – Overheating and rusting caused by the calcium compounds may cause the unit to fail.

Read: How much does it cost to replace baseboard heating covers?

How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

Dangers of Calcium Buildup in the Water Heater

When calcium insulation layers build-up, they cover the tank wall and element, causing overheating. With time, excessive heat weakens the steel metal and damages glass linings.

Once the metals are weakened, the heater’s lifespan is reduced. Secondly, rusting makes the tank prone to corrosion bacteria, which may harm human health.

Third, the tank’s energy conservation ability is reduced due to wearing, and later these sediments block the drain valves.

How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

Before carrying out the shared methods to clean your heaters, you should first flush the tank. Carry out the following procedure;

Step 1: Turn the heater and the cold-water inlet off.

Step 2: Inspect the tank to see the number of calcium compounds that build up.

Step 3: Connect your water hosepipe to the drain valve and set your bucket ready to collect the water with sediments.

Step 4: Open the drain valve and check on the bucket for any white particles or discolored water.

Step 5: After you’ve drained all the water, close the valve and disconnect the hose pipe.

Step 6: Disconnect the inlet pipe at the top for the air to circulate.

After you’ve flushed the water tank, you’ll eliminate some calcium compounds. However, some hard coats may not detach from the heater or the tank walls. You should carry out the following cleaning methods;

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How to Remove Calcium Buildup in Water Heater

Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Step 1: Pour your apple cider vinegar into the tank through the inlet valve.

Step 2: Connect the inlet pipe and let the cold water into the tank for around five minutes.

Step 3: Disconnect the inlet pipe and leave the vinegar for 24 hours to dissolve the calcium.

Step 4: To confirm the vinegar has completely dissolved the calcium, wrap the inlet with loose plastic paper and check if it inflates. If it inflates, the process is still on. Give it more time.

Step 5: Connect the inlet pipe and let the tank fill with cold water.

Step 6: Turn on the heater and set your drain pipe on the drain valve.

Step 7: Set your collecting bucket and drain the water to rinse the heater. Make sure the water has turned clear. Else fill the tank again and rinse.

Step 8: If the hosepipe is clogged with calcium deposits, massage it to break them into fine particles and completely rinse it.

 Using CLR Cleaner

CLR stands for calcium, lime, and rust. The compound is very effective in removing calcium layers.

Step 1: Pour your CLR cleaner through the inlet valve.

Step 2: Connect the inlet pipe and let the cold water into the tank for about five minutes.

Step 3: Disconnect the inlet pipe for pressure release during reactions to dissolve the calcium and leave it for around five hours.

Step 4: Cover the inlet valve with a loose plastic bag after five hours and check if it inflates. If it’s inflated, give it more time for the calcium to dissolve completely.

Step 5: Connect the inlet pipe and fill the tank with cold water. After filling, turn on the heater.

Step 6: Connect the hosepipe to the drain valve and rinse the heater. Ensure the water coming out has turned clear. Else, repeat the process.

Step 7: Massage the hosepipe to break any clogged calcium particles and rinse it.

Step 8: Close the drain valve and test your heater.

Read: Baseboard heater mounting height

How Do I Protect My Water Heater From Hard Water?

Water softeners are a powerful solution to deal with hard water. They remove magnesium, calcium, and other sediments to save your water heater through an ion exchange process.

The second option is regular flushing of your heater, especially if you use hard water at your home.

FAQs on Water Heaters

How Often Should You Drain Your Water Heater?

You can drain your water heater at least once a year. However, if you use hard water, you may need to drain it regularly to prevent calcium buildup.

What Happens If You Don’t Flush Your Water Heater?

Your water heater can corrode more quickly if not regularly flushed. Moreover, calcium and other sediments can clog your pressure relief valve, which protects the tank from exploding. The best practice is to set up a time to regularly remove calcium buildup in the water heater to increase its lifespan.

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