Have you cleaned the buildup from your hot water tank recently?
November 15, 2016
When traditional hot water heaters break, families and business owners all say the same thing: “We didn’t see it coming!”
Can you blame them? Plumbing, as with any building infrastructure, is not the most transparent of things. If, however, these people were given an x-ray peek inside their busted hot water tanks, most of them could spot the cause of the rupture right away: calcium and lime buildup.
When was the last time you thought about the minerals affecting your hot water tank? Probably never, right? Well, that’s exactly why many of these conventional hot water systems fail.
How does buildup occur?
Water naturally contains minerals like calcium, magnesium and sodium. Though these inorganic materials are harmless to the people who drink and bathe in them, they can do a number on the inside of a hot water tank, especially in regions with particularly hard water.
“Conventional water heating equipment requires a lot of care.”
Over time, hot water heater cycles help create conditions where calcium carbonate develops. With nowhere else to go, the sediment sits at the bottom of the tank, accumulates gradually and adversely affects performance. Additionally, mineral accumulation and other kinds of debris can also come from upstream plumbing, pushed into a hot water tank from neighborhood water mains.
As much as we hate to admit it, part of the onus is also on the hot water tank owners themselves. Conventional water heating equipment requires a lot of care to keep highly functional. Many people forget or don’t know to flush sediment from your hot water heater regularly or replace sacrificial anodes designed to ward off calcification, sort of like how many neglect to clean out the lint trap on their clothes dryers or change the filter on their HVAC system.
Why is buildup bad for the tank owner?
Mineral buildup damages the integrity of the hot water heater and could cause ruptures or total system failure if left unattended. Moreover, as ImproveNet pointed out, buildup reduces the efficiency of both gas-powered and electric water heating systems by soaking up radiated heat meant to go to the water or encasing the heating element entirely.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, you cannot afford to let buildup interfere with your hot water system – literally. Repair or replacement costs catalyzed by tank sediment will take a huge bite out of your budget, while each new layer of calcium will insidiously rob you of energy efficiency. You’ll shell out more of your money for additional energy and less of it will go to good use by the day.
How do tankless water heaters avoid buildup issues?
First off, and most obviously, no tank means no standby heat and no environment for buildup to crystallize.
But like we said above, buildup can still form in pipes. Can electric tankless water heaters prevent limescale growth in water distribution plumbing from corrupting its heating element? Advanced electric tankless systems – like those offered by Eemax – create water flow powerful enough to push particulate away from their heating elements. Minerals never have time to settle and attach to the hardware.