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Cleaning Water Heater Tank

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  • Cleaning Water Heater Tank

    Because we don't have a water conditioner, I have to clean the bottom of the water heater tank periodically of the lime/calcium scale that builds up and ends up sometimes a couple inches thick at the bottom. To clean it out I've been using a bent spoon on a rod inserted through the bottom heating element hole and scraping and cleaning in a haphazard way to just to keep the bottom element from shorting out. I know there just has to be a better way to get all that stuff out! Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks ahead of time.

  • #2
    The first thing you need to do is shut off the power to the heater. Next, close the valve on the piping above the cold water inlet of the heater. Open a faucet at the highest point in the house you can find. Next,hook-up a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater and run the hose to a floor drain or outside. Open the drain valve and drain the heater. Be careful, the water will be hot. Once the heater is empty, reopen the valve above the cold water inlet and start to refill the heater, leaving the drain valve open. Allow the incoming cold water to flush out the tank until clear water is coming out of the hose end. Close the drain valve and allow the heater to refill also remembering to close the faucet you opened at the high point in the house. When the heater is full of water, and not before, turn the power back on. If you do not have a water softner, you should do this procedure at least once a year.
    Teach your kids about 30 percent of their ice cream.


    • #3
      Dave, appreciate the response but, the problem is the drain valve is about 2" above the bottom of the tank and thats where all the scale accumulates. I've been thinking of juryrigging a connector with a flexible hose on my wet/dry vac to see if I can vacuun the deposits out!


      • #4
        The drain valve is 2" above the bottom of the outer shell of the water heater but it is very close to the bottom of the heater tank inside the shell.
        Teach your kids about 30 percent of their ice cream.


        • #5
          Morgan your on the right track with the shop vac I have been using this trick for over 15 years. I made my adapters out of 3/4 copper, 1st one is a lenght of copper with a slight bend at the end be (carefull not to crimp it will bendig it as this will catch the heavily pieces you pick up.) now you will need to cut the bent end with a hacksaw so that when you insert the pipe in the heater the bent end can be flush on the bottom. 2nd piece is simple 3/4 copper with 90 elbow and two inch approimate lenght at other end this will be used to get build up at inside of opening. P.S. I have tried replacing my drains with 3/4 ball valves that have full flow capicity no matter how much i flushed i could keep it from building up and shorting out the lower element.