Household hot water should be as clear and colorless as cold water. When it’s not, your water heater is the most likely suspect. Hot water heaters have average expected life spans of only around 12 years. Discolored hot water is one sign a water heater may be reaching the end of its service life and may mean you need the services of a professional plumber ASAP.
Mineral deposits dissolved in municipal water sink to the bottom of the heater and eventually solidify. This in turn makes the burner run longer to heat water, as well as triggering tank corrosion and discoloring water. If it hasn’t yet solidified inside the tank, sediment may be cleared by a simple DIY tank draining procedure:
- Turn off the cold water inlet valve on top of the tank and turn the gas valve selector knob to “Off.”
- Attach a garden hose to the drain faucet valve at the base of the tank. Route the hose outdoors to discharge water safely.
- Open the tank drain faucet to begin draining. Locate the pressure relief valve near the top of the tank and lift the spring-loaded lever to relieve vacuum in the tank and expedite draining. When the tank is drained allow the pressure relief valve to snap shut and close the drain faucet.
- Disconnect the garden hose. Turn on the cold water inlet valve and follow manufacturer’s instruction to turn on the gas and relight the pilot (if equipped.)
- Open a few hot water taps in the home to allow air to bleed out of the system.
Discolored water that isn’t remedied by flushing the tank may indicate permanent sediment accretion. Other meaningful symptoms include popping and boiling sounds, poor performance and increasing operating costs as well as evidence of leakage. Because the sudden failure of a water heater tank could potentially flood your home and cause expensive water damage, contact a professional plumber if tank flushing doesn’t resolve water discoloration.
For professional help to deal with hot water issues, in the greater Cleveland area contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
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