Calcium is good for your bones and teeth – but not for your home’s water heater. If left unchecked, calcium can build up inside the tank of the water heater, which can increase your monthly energy bills and cause your unit to break down earlier than expected. The good news is simple maintenance tasks can prevent calcium deposits from harming the water heater.
Why calcium is bad for water heaters
Whether you’re on a municipal water supply or have a well, the water coming into your home includes common minerals that are generally not harmful to our health. However, if you have a high level of calcium or magnesium, you have what is considered “hard water.” Inside your tank water heater, the hard minerals can build up and form deposits that can disrupt the heat transfer process and make the unit work harder than it should to heat and distribute water throughout your home.
A few signs that you may have calcium build-up in your water heater include:
- Loud banging noises coming from the tank
- Hot water from a faucet is rust-colored or has a strange odor
- The unit stops working or producing hot water
How to handle and prevent calcium deposits
It’s fairly quick and easy to check to see if you have calcium deposits floating inside your tank.
- Turn off the power to the water heater and shut off the cold water supply to the unit
- Attach a hose to the drain valve that should be on the side of the tank close to the floor – the hose will twist on just like your outdoor spigot
- Open the drain valve, which will release water through the house – it’s a good idea to have a bucket handy or drain nearby
- Inspect the water for white particles, which are likely calcium deposits
Preventing calcium deposits
To remove calcium deposits, it’s a good idea to empty and flush your water heater every 6-12 months. If you have hard water, you’ll want to do it even more frequently to prevent calcium from building up inside the tank. You can perform this maintenance task yourself or bring in a professional plumber, who can also identify signs of a failing water heater
Other methods for protecting your water heater from calcium include descaling the tank with vinegar or lime cleaner while flushing out the tank. You can also have a water softener system installed to remove hard minerals from the water before it enters the water heater tank.
Professional water heater maintenance
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable draining your water heater, you can bring in the local experts at Pratt Plumbing. Our maintenance programs prolong the life of your tank water heater and ensure comfort in your home. To schedule an appointment, call (806) 373-7866.