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TxBuilder 09-02-2009 08:46 AM

Water Heater Cleaner
Living in Central Texas the calcium build-up is our water heater is very quick. Any tips on running a solution through it as general maintenance to rid some of the build up?

Billvila 09-02-2009 09:05 AM

Are you having problems with water pressure? I live in Texas and I think that might be my problem. I've talked around and people just blame the plumbing but I think it's my water heater.

glennjanie 09-03-2009 11:00 AM

Hello TX:
Water heaters have a Cathode rod that is supposed to sacrifice itself for the protection of the water heater; preventing rust and mineral accumulation. It can be changed out but few ever do that.
Minerals and sediment will kill a water heater; if its electric, it covers the lower element and negates it, if it is gas you will hear the water boiling up through it when the burner is on. Used water heaters always weigh a lot more than a new one..... even after you have drained the water. The minerals, rust and settlement are the cause.
Anything you could run through the water heater to remove the minerals would poison your water and render it un-useable. I think of Lime-Away, etc.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-03-2009 05:00 PM


Anode rods protect the steel wall of the tank from corrosion but they don't affect the amount of scale that forms in the tank. It's a good idea to replace your anode rod periodically, but like Glennjanie said, few ever do.

Lime scale forms on the hottest surfaces in a hot water tank. If it's an electric hot water heater, the lime scale will coat the heating elements and cause them to burn out prematurely. In a gas fired hot water heater, the lime scale will form on the bottom surface of the tank, and that causes the metal on the bottom of the tank to get hotter than it otherwise would, and that reduces the lifespan of the tank before it starts to leak.

What you're looking for is an acid flush for your hot water tank, and A. O Smith makes such a product for dissolving the lime scale in their tanks (but that can be used on any gas fired water heater.

Go to:
A. O. Smith Water Heaters
hover over the "Literature" link and click on "Service Handbooks"
Click on the "Click here" link in the "Click here to download or print a .pdf"
Download the .pdf file entitled "Why? When & How? To Remove Water Scale from Tank Type Water Heaters".
Hope this helps.

That'll be 35 cents. Please see a moderator to arrange for payment.

oldognewtrick 09-03-2009 07:21 PM

What about adding a whole house water filter before the water heater. We spend a fortune on bottle water and have thought about doing this but have wondered if they are worth the initial and maintaince cost. Would this help the lime scale build up in a water heater?

Nestor_Kelebay 09-03-2009 08:38 PM


My understanding is that lime scale is caused by hardness in the water, especially calcium ions.

You'd get more reliable information talking to a company that specializes in treating residential water, like Calgon, but I'd say the best way to eliminate hardness in your water is with a water softener.

Generally, if you live in a city and have soft water, the powder coated steel tank inside a gas fired water heater will start to leak before scale formation inside the heater becomes a problem.

jerry10 09-17-2009 05:41 PM

hey, here's some good info on hot water heater maintenance...

Hot Water Heater Operation and Maintenance to Improve Safety and Efficiency

mikee 10-15-2009 10:58 AM

It is caused by some heavy metals in the water. I am using an alkaline filter for our tap drinking water. You may check your water for alkalinity or other heavy metal like lead, etc.

inspectorD 03-12-2010 04:47 PM


Originally Posted by jmclemmer (Post 42152)
I have used a heater had a same problem.It needs to be repaired as i did so.

Thank you

What the H E double hockey sticks are you sayin, of course it needs repairin ..THAT is what he is asking for ..advice. Your not a spammer are ya....
TX, just drain it and flush some water through when it is done , I usually just turn on the fill valve for a minute., it dislodges some more that was hangin around.

Nestor_Kelebay 03-12-2010 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 42158)
What the H E double hockey sticks are you sayin, of course it needs repairin ..THAT is what he is asking for ..advice. Your not a spammer are ya....

See, proof that time travel is impossible.

Right now, it's like Jmclemmer's post never existed. But evidence that it once existed remains behind.

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