October 25, 2014

Cleaning Your Water Heater and Some Tips

Cleaning out the water heater might be some people’s idea of a fun day’s activity, but it sure isn’t mine. If you really plan to take this job on, please read on for what essortment.com has to say and be certain that your are ready for the task. Once you start, you’ve got to finish or you’ll be getting soapy water from your faucets for quite a while.

Mineral deposits in the tank, or problems caused by them, are the most common reasons to clean a tank. If you have a gas water heater the deposits form on the bottom of the tank and are usually stuck to the tank itself. Cleaning out the water heater will only remove a fraction of the deposits in there, if that’s what you are attempting to do. Electric water heaters collect any mineral deposits on the heating elements and they usually fall to the bottom of the tank over time. Some of the deposits from an electric tank will flush in the cleaning process; however, many are too large to flush through the drain valve.

If there are a lot of deposits in the tank, you might have to go through the cleaning process more than once to achieve the desired results. In water heaters that are over seven years old this process may cause the water heater to leak so much you will have to replace it, consider this before starting.

Cleaning the tank:

1. Turn the water heater off.

2. Turn the cold water supply to the water heater off.

3. Hook a high quality garden hose to the drain valve.

4. Place the other end of the hose where hot water will not cause damage. The hose should be as straight as possible and all turns should be gradual.

5. Open the drain valve.

6. Disconnect the cold water inlet pipe on the top of the water heater. This step will let air into the water heater so it will drain.

7. When the water heater is empty, close the drain.

8. Pour a gallon of acidic tub and tile cleaner into the coldwater inlet pipe one cup at a time. CLR works best and can usually be found in an economical gallon size. Pause a few seconds after each cup of cleaner is poured into the tank, failing to do so will cause the tank to spew cleaner all over you.

9. Three to five hours later drain the cleaner out of the tank. By this time the cleaner will have either dissolved all of the mineral deposits or have been neutralized. To check if the cleaner is still working, gather the open end of a small plastic bag tightly around the open coldwater inlet pipe. If the bag gradually inflates, the cleaner is still working. If the bag does not inflate, the cleaner has stopped working.

10. Reconnect the cold water inlet pipe and turn the supply back on.

11. Open the cold water inlet valve and let the water heater flush for several minutes.

12. Close the drain valve and open the hot water faucet nearest to the tank and let the water heater fill.

13. When water starts to come out of that faucet, reopen the drain and let the water heater continue to rinse.

14. When the water seems clean and is free of bubbles, close the drain. Open all the hot water faucets in the house to remove all air from the water heater and hot water pipes.

15. After all the air is out of the water heater, turn it back on.

You may get a slight amount of soapsuds from the hot water faucets for a day or two after cleaning your water heater. By this time, the cleaner is so diluted that there is no harm in the small amount remaining. After all of this you may still have problems with your water heater such as rumbling, which means there is sentiment left in the tank. As stated before, this whole process is quite complicated. If you’re still having troubles, it’s back to step one!

Now, if that seems like too much work, you might consider a chemical free cleaning. This cleaning is simpler. Follow steps 1-7 above to drain the water heater,then remove the drain plug.

Next, using a long narrow brush, go through the valve opening and scrub the bottom of the tank, side to side and front to back. The idea is to loosen all the rust calcium deposits and sediment you can. When you’ve finished scrubbing, reinstall the drain valve. Don’t forget to apply teflon tape or pipe dope to the threads so it won’t leak.

Attach a garden hose and open the drain valve. Turn on the water supply to your water heater. Let it run 15 to 20 seconds and turn it off. Let all the water drain out of the tank, add more water and drain again. Repeat this process until the water runs clear, that means your tank is clean.

Once your heater is clean, it’s time to consider prevention so you don’t have to go through this again. Every two to three months you should flush your water heater, as this is much less complicated than cleaning the tank. All you need to do is hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. The hose should be placed so it is as straight as possible with only the most gradual turns. Open the drain valve and let the water flush through the heater; the incoming water will agitate the deposits and some of it will flush out.

Also, installing a water softener is a good idea if you live in an area with hard water. A water softener will break down the minerals that accumulate and cause problems in your tank. Or, you can always replace your current water heater with a self-cleaning version made by State Industries. It’s costly, but may be worth it if you’re constantly battling with mineral deposits.

Basic Appliance Care and Safety

If you are lucky, you rarely need to pay much attention to the appliances that run, some of them 24 hours a day, in your home. But to keep everything trouble free, it’s good to follow some basic guidelines for care and safety when using or installing appliances in your home. Handymanclub.com offers some simples steps for use with your washer, dryer, refrigerator, ranges, cooktops, even your water heater.

Ventilation and combustion (dryers, water heaters, ranges and cooktops)
• Clean the clothes dryer’s lint filter before or after each load. Check behind the dryer for trapped lint. Clear lint from the exterior vent often. Lint buildup results in inefficiency and excessive wear and can even pose a fire hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,500 fires each year are associated with clothes dryers.
• Use only metal ducting for gas dryers because they run hotter than electric machines. Rigid rather than accordion-pleated ducting is best for airflow.
• Never vent clothes dryers or water heaters into the house to supplement heating.

Plumbing (washers, refrigerators and water heaters)
• To prevent leaky or bursting waterlines, check washing machine hoses for signs of wear. Consider replacing rubber hoses with newer braided stainless steel hoses.
• Check the screens at either end of the water hoses and remove sediment that may have collected there. This is especially important after road construction or water-main work has been done in your area.
• Periodically check that the washing machine is soundly footed and level so the hoses and the drain hose do not come loose.
• If a dishwasher’s tub doesn’t empty after operation, detach the drain line from the household drain and clean any debris from the line.

Gas (dryers, ranges and water heaters)
• Never use an oven as a room heater — combustion pollutants resulting from fuel-burning appliances can cause illness or death. Have gas appliances serviced periodically to ensure they burn with the proper mix of air and fuel.
• Be sure all vented appliances are checked for backdrafting. (This is one reason that it’s important for a city building official to inspect newly installed vented appliances.)

Electric
• Diehard DIYers may bristle at this warning from the CPSC — nonetheless, it’s a lifesaver. Never attempt to repair a microwave oven — because they use high-voltage power, they can pose a risk of electrical shock even after they are disconnected from the power source.
• Use dedicated circuits for large appliances such as washers and dryers.
• Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces.

GE Tankless Gas Water Heater

A hot shower. Few rituals bring as much pleasure as does standing beneath a warm spray. And few things can spoil that ritual as much as finding that the person who showered before you has used up every drop of hot water.

The new line of GE® tankless gas water heaters provides a continuous supply of hot water* when and where you need it. No more dipping the finger into the spray to see if the temperature is just right, or standing in a cold bathroom waiting for hot water that’s been drained from the tank.

Unlike conventional water tanks that heat and store hot water around the clock, GE’s tankless gas water heater only activates when you start to use hot water, and immediately de-activates when you are done. The result is a more energy-efficient system; using a tankless gas heater can save homeowners up to 25% annually on water heating costs on their energy bill over a standard 40-gallon gas tank water heater.** Those savings are a result of eliminating standby losses–the energy lost from warmed water sitting in a tank. GE’s tankless gas heaters have an Ef rating of. 82, whereas a standard gas water heater has an Ef rating of just .53–.62.

The tankless system delivers continuous hot water at the precisely heated temperature to every faucet, fixture or appliance in the home. The electronic digital control allows the homeowner to adjust the hot water temperature at the touch of a button, while the Precise Temp feature keeps water temperature within three degrees (+/-)of the heater’s set point.

Another advantage of the tankless gas water heater is that with proper sizing, it is capable of providing continuous hot water even when multiple showers, tubs, sinks or appliances are in use at the same time.

GE’s tankless gas water heaters also fit in small spaces. Available in both outdoor and indoor models, the tankless gas water heater’s compact footprint (approximately 23-inches height x 14-inches width x 10-inches; deep, and weighing 50 pounds) allows installation in attics, garages, closets or other out-of-the-way locations. For the ultimate in convenience, units can be equipped with an optional remote controller, which allows the user to monitor and adjust hot water temperature in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or any other room. Outdoor units are equipped with ceramic heaters that prevent them from freezing at temperatures as low as –30°F.

Available June 2008, the GE tankless gas water heater is available in two sizes (7.5-gallon-per-minute flow and 9.4-gallon-per-minute flow), indoor and outdoor. The 7.5-gallon-per-minute flow is available in natural gas; the 9.4-gallon-per-minute flow is available in natural gas or LP gas.