My hot water heater is blowing white chunks!

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  #1  
Old 04-05-06, 04:21 PM
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My hot water heater is blowing white chunks!

The title says it all... it wasn't super terrible until today. An occasional buildup in the faucet screens caused me to flush and then drain the hot water tank. Here's what happened afterwards.

When I turned the water back on and then turned on a faucet to relieve the air from the lines, the hot water alternated between air and water for a long time. Then the flow reduced to a trickle. I took off the screen on the faucet, and it's full of white chunks. (BTW TONS of white chunks came out of the garden hose I used to flush the heater)

I just ran the bathtub for half an hour and now the bathtub has TONS of white chunks (no bigger than 1/16" in size).

These white chunks are crumbly, maybe calcium deposits??

Help!

Thanks,
Jed
 
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  #2  
Old 04-05-06, 04:46 PM
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The two most common white chunks are calcium deposits or (in the case of 10 year and older water heaters) the dip tube failed and dissolves. You could put some of the deposits in a spoon over a flame. If it melts, it's the dip tube.
When draining and flushing the water heater, there are a few things to do to get it done correctly. After turning off the power supply to the heater (gas or electric) and the cold water inlet valve, open a hot water faucet on a fixture close to the unit. Hook up your drain hose and run it to where you want it to drain. Open the drain valve on the tank. Let it drain all the way until empty. Open the cold water inlet valve for about two minutes and then close it. Watch the water draining from the hose. If it has deposits in it, let the water drain and repeat this step until the water runs clear. This pretty much will get all the deposits out of the tank. Then you can refill and turn the power and cold water inlet valve on again. Good luck.
 
  #3  
Old 04-05-06, 05:54 PM
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Well, it took a while but the chunks definitely melted. Time for a new water heater!
 
  #4  
Old 04-06-06, 06:53 AM
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I have seen dip tubes sold at Home Improvement stores. The dip-tube is located under the nipple at the cold water inlet. Most are just a straight plastic tube that resemble a club seperater in a golf bag. Has a flanged end that allows it to sit in the opening. Whats left of the old one should lift out by inserting your finger and lifting.
 
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