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Old 02-21-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
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Deliming water heater tank


I have a 50 gal. natural gas water heater. It supplies domestic hot water and in floor heat for a sunroom. How do I remove sediment from tank and possibly the heating system heat exchanger?
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Deliming water heater tank


Ayuh,... The heat exchanger can be broken down, 'n cleaned with acid,...

The water heater, probably not...

What makes ya think it needs it,..??
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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Deliming water heater tank


Thanks for the response Bondo. We have had the system about five years. About one year ago the heater started making a knocking noise when it ran. Had original plumber in who drained and filled the tank a few times. Lots of sediment came out, but not all and now it has built up more. I put in a sediment filter a year ago, and we have a water softener, but still have minerals in water. Any water that dries on the counter or dishes leaves a white mark.
The floor in the sunroom doesn't get as warm as it did when new. I have to turn it up to low 70s to get the room to 68 or9. That is why I suspect the heat exchanger. I don't know if it is plugged with particles from the tank or lime that has built up in it, or whether I'm totally wrong and it's something else entirely.
thanks again
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ps, don't you need to live in Vermont to say ayuh?
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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Deliming water heater tank


Open the drain valve on bottem of water heater and flush the junk out of it till its about empty,refill the system and turn on the pump to circulate some water then shut the system back off and repeat a few times till you see no more crud.
Drain about 5 gallons a month from the water heater to keep it cleaned out is what I tell people with regular water heaters,but your situation is a little differant.
Is this water heater used for your floor heating only,is there a back flow preventer on the water supply line?
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:57 PM   #5
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Deliming water heater tank


Before you let much water out you must turn the water heater (or boiler) heat source off. For gas heaters you can turn the small knob to the "pilot" setting. Be sure the heater is filled up (hot water faucet gushing is a sure test) before turning the heat back on.

For furnaces, do some bleeding (alternately let air out from upstairs radiators and let more water in using the inlet valve, several times) before turning the burner back on.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
ps, don't you need to live in Vermont to say ayuh?
Ayuh,... Vermont,..?? 'ell No....

Downeast Maine,...

Yer past never leaves you, when yer a Maineiac in exile...

A point, 'n shoot thermometer helps ya figure out what's gettin' Hot, 'n what ain't so much...
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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Deliming water heater tank


Probably at this point not much you can do, what you hear is the first layer of sill (lime) its been baked harden and flushing may help a bit but not for long, thatís why manufacture recommend flushing once a year from the date of installation. To get rid of that baked on build up you would have to literally scrape it off by hand. Impossible unless your tank has an inspection plate, which most residential waters do not have.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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Deliming water heater tank


Thanks to all for your replys. And my apologies to plummen for not responding to your questions. I'm new to this kind of communication. As far as I know there is no backflow preventer on the supply line. Why would that make a difference? Also, this is a 50 gal. tank that provides our domestic hot water. The hoses in the floor heating system are filled with a propylene glycol type of antifreeze . That is a totally closed system with a heat exchanger separating it from the heater.

I did a drain and flush twice yesterday. Probably got a half cup of gritty stuff out. The water temp in faucets went back up. Still have some noise when running. I always pictured a layer of hardened material at the bottom of the tank.
I have been told there is a solution to poor into an empty tank that will take out the hardened stuff. Any idea what that is and how safe it is? A. O. Smith Co. told me they have such a thing, but that I need to buy it from a plumbing supply. There aren't many plumbing supply business around here and I have not found one that knows about this amazing stuff.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:12 AM   #9
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Deliming water heater tank


Yes you can pour stuff into the tank to dissolve the lime, but there are disadvantages.

1. To get rid of lime high up in the tank you need lots of solution, to fill the tank, which will then be expensive. If you just use a little and dilute it with water it may take a very long time or maybe not work at all.

2. The solution may eat away the tank metal.

But circulating the solution through the heat exchanger may improve the performance without having to clean the whole tank. It may be necessary to disconnect the heat exchanger from the tank and set up a small reservoir so you can circulate solution through without needing a whole tankful of solution.

If you drained sediment out of the tank every 6 months you should have been able to remove new sediment fast enough to not accumulate. Turn off the tank heating if you need to drain more than about 5 gallons of water from an electric heater of more than half the tank contents from a gas heater.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-24-2012 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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Deliming water heater tank


Thanks again Allan. You sound like you may have done this a few times. Would you happen to know a brand for the solution and possibly where to buy it? Could it help to drain the tank and pour in a couple gallons of vinegar?
I will probably wait for the plumber to work on the heat exchanger, but if he never shows up ,would it help to just backflush the exchanger with plain water?
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