Have you heard the term hard water before? This can sound a little alarming, as it does have an impact on the water you drink, clean, and bathe with.
Hard water is water that has a high level of minerals in it–namely calcium, magnesium, and sometimes even iron. These are minerals that are harmless to digest, but they’re not so harmless for your plumbing system.
And this is where your water heater comes in. The water heater is a very important part of your plumbing system that you rely on every day. You see, the minerals we just mentioned leave behind deposits. Those deposits get stuck to your plumbing and stuck inside plumbing appliances.
Your water heater is no exception, and can be impacted whether you have a storage tank water heater or a tankless water heater. Read on to learn more!
The Concept and Impact of Scaling: Why Your Water Heater Needs Maintenance
Have you ever noticed white or yellowish flaky residue left behind after using your sink, bathtub, or shower? This is a direct result of scaling–the deposits that get left behind due to hard water. These minerals don’t break down and as a result leave behind scaling on the inside of your pipes and plumbing appliances.
Because they don’t break down, these minerals also make it harder for soap to break down, creating soap scum issues too. Soon enough, all of this creates blockages in your pipes or coats things that shouldn’t be coated with an insulating later–such as the heat exchanger of your water heater.
In addition to the heat exchanger, mineral deposits can settle to the bottom of a storage-tank water heater, making it difficult for the water to get heated evenly. Pressure levels in the tank become unbalanced, and efficiency decreases overall. The worst part of this is that the minerals rattle around and can accelerate corrosion.
“How Do I Know If Scaling Is a Problem?”
The clearest sign that you have scaling impacting your water heater is the noise the mineral deposits make once they settle in the system and start rattling around when the water heater’s heat exchangers cycle on. The sound is similar to a knocking or a popping noise, and it occurs when bubbles try to escape past the layer of sediment on the bottom of the tank, in the case of a storage-tank water heater.
Because scaling can also stick to and coat the heat exchanger, it can impact the temperature of the water, whether you have a storage tank or a tankless system. So if the temperature seems off or inconsistent, it’s a good idea to have your water heater inspected by a professional, and flushed out.
One last thing you might notice if your water heater has fallen victim to scaling is that it leads to low water pressure as it can clog up the pipes that lead out of the water heater.
Of course, these problems can be prevented–with maintenance! You should contact our pros at least once a year to maintain your tank water heater. A tankless system may be able to go longer between maintenance sessions, but be sure to talk to a trained professional to determine what’s right for your specific system and needs.