Hot water tank causing water discoloration - advice?


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Old 11-02-20, 08:39 AM
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Hot water tank causing water discoloration - advice?

I recently noticed the water coming out of my hot water tank has taken on an yellow/dirty tinge to it so decided to do some maintenance on the hot water tank (see first picture, on the left is hot water, right is cold water). The tank is a 7 year old Bradford White - everything runs great, heats water quickly, no issues other than the slight water coloration. I moved into the home about a year ago so can’t speak to maintenance on the tank from the previous owner but I only recently noticed the water colour.

Below is what I’ve tried so far over the span of 2 weeks. The water has kept the same discoloration - some improvement but it's not as clear as when I compare to water out of my cold water tap. It’s certainly not as bad as when is started but still there. There is no odour or taste in the water from what I can tell.

I’m at a loss as to what to try next, do I have any other options or is next step to replace the tank?? Appreciate any advice. Thanks!
  • I flushed the tank two weekends in a row now trying to get the water coming out to be as clear as possible. Tank continues to have small particulate flowing out when I flush but nothing I would consider excessive (probably rust as it was attracted to a magnet when I ran one through the water)
  • I replaced the anode with a new one, the previous anode was completely gone to the core (probably never replaced before). Water tank is 7 years old and I live in a very hard water area + have a water softener. I’m suspecting the tank has probably started rusting inside but not sure how bad and whether I can still get use out of it with a more in-depth cleaning?
  • There are no leaks or dripping water around the tank that I can tell. There is some yellowing/rust around the burner area but I take that to be normal due to condensation. It does not seem excessive. The hot temperature setting on the tank is at about the midpoint, I'm getting around 135F at the tap so guessing it's about 140F in the tank.
  • As a last ditch effort I bought an endoscopic camera to see what’s going on in the tank itself. Below are the best pictures I could produce given the conditions (fed through the hot water inlet when tank was empty)
Second 2 pictures are where tank walls meets bottom - you can see sediment that looks like small rust particles which is what I'm likely getting in the water when I flush the tank.... last picture is of the wall near the top of the tank where hot water would usually sit, there’s lots of buildup like this at the top, any idea what this is?

Is this rust or something else and is this what’s causing my water discolouration? I don't mind cleaning/sanitizing the tank, but I would like to first understand if it's bacteria causing the colour or rust? If it's rust I'm leaning towards simply replacing the tank for peace of mind as it's probably on it's way out anyways. If it's bacteria or some sort of lime scale build up that can be washed out then I will try to clean it with bleach or vinegar solution.

Appreciate any help!




 
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Old 11-02-20, 01:25 PM
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The water tank is not going to create any discoloration issues, it's got to be the water going into the tank!

Have you looked at the cold water, are you on a well?
 
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Old 11-02-20, 04:31 PM
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I'm connected to city water; there is no color in the cold tap at all. In the 1st picture above the cold tap is on the right, hot water from tank is on the left. I know it's hard to see but the hot water is yellow'ish, the cold water is perfectly clear.

Just to make sure it was not in fact the water supply I even took the cold water and heated it up to see if maybe something in the water (bacteria) is reacting and causing the color; no dice, cold water stayed perfectly clear when heated. Hot water has yellow tinge.

I am convinced it's the tank because before I flushed it two weekends ago it was a lot worse, very visibly brown. Since flushing it has improved each time, but not completely gone which is leaving me confused about what exactly is the cause?
 
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Old 11-02-20, 05:14 PM
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Over the years, sediment from new incoming cold water can accumulate in the water heater tank.

It is suggested to drain one or two gallons of water out the lower drain valve of the water heater say twice a y ear. But sometimes this just cuts a channel through the layer of sediment on the bottom of the tank and the same day or a few days later, discoloration of the water is seen again as the remaining sediment gets churned up.

(new) When the city flushes hydrants or water mains every few years, a considerable amount of sediment may enter homes when people use water and an unusually large slug of sediment can end up in a water heater tank.
 
 

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