What's inside my water heater?


Old 04-20-07, 07:22 PM
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What's inside my water heater?

I just removed my water heater drain, it wasn't draining at all when opened, and even with it removed not much water was coming out. I poked around with a rod and found the inside was partially plugged up with a white semi solid substance. Can someone tell me what this is (I expected to find rust, but not this) and if there is a way to dissolve it or get rid of it.

I poked around some more, got some of it out, and there is some water flow but not a lot.


40 gal natural gas water heater, at least 10 years old.
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Old 04-20-07, 07:37 PM
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It is mineral deposits, mostly calcium.

You have hard water, at least harder than soft.

Unfortunately, there is little that yuo can do at this point to remove the deposits. The only thing that may be called "good" is that at ten+ years your water heater has already passed its useful life. You need to start seriously planning on replacing this heater. I'm not saying it will fail tomorrow but its days are definitely numbered.

When you get your new water heater it is a good idea to flush it about four times a year. This will greatly reduce the build up of the mineral deposits.
Old 04-22-07, 04:08 AM
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That blanket of mineral deposits is costing you energy, and may be responsible for a "thumping" noise you may hear when the burner is on. ( water boiling and rumbling under the mineral "blanket")
Old 04-22-07, 11:45 AM
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Mineral deposits will accumulate unless removed. I seen tanks that were nearly one third full of this stuff. Flushing at this point will be very difficult and time consuming. As mentioned a new water heater is a good idea because of age. Also, if the sediment was removed, your tank could start leaking. Sediment is a great leak stopper.
Old 04-25-07, 08:10 AM
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You have gotten your moneys-worth out of your 10 yr. old war horse. It could blow a leak at any time and I know from experience just how much damage can be done with 200 gallons of running water. A good water heater can be had for less than $500. The newer models are more efficient as well. I wouldnt wait too much longer.
Old 04-25-07, 09:02 AM
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Like said get a new one for sure. When it didnt drain that is from lime and calcium there in the bottom of the tank . BUT the heat vent tube that goes up in the middle of the tank if you where to cut the tank open you will find that it will have like a rock around it . thats why it can take a long time to get hot water.
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