Calcium Load in Water Heater

I have a 100-gallon capacity water heater that apparently has a significant calcium deposit in the heating pan/basin despite frequent water changes (every three months, rather than the six the manufacturer recommended.)
Is there a way of removing said deposit so: 1) I can get maximum heating from my water heater again, 2) I do not have to replace said water heater, and 3) I prevent this from happening in the future?
Many thanks for any information/help.
The Ranger
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<< Is there a way of removing said deposit so: 1) I can get maximum heating from my water heater again, 2) I do not have to replace said water heater, and 3) I prevent this from happening in the future? >>
One possibility comes to mind: install a water softener. Over a period of time, the deposits could redissolve. Recovery of heating capacity is dependant on deposit thickness, so it would be slow. Check with water experts in your community for more site specific suggestions. Good luck.
Joe
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I recently moved into a new (older) house that has a well and water softner installed. There was so much thick milky deposits in the bottom of both water heaters (yes, this house has 2) that we thought the heating element was bad. It took forever to drain the water from the heater because of these deposits but once I did and removed the elements which tested out fine on my multi-meter, it was then I discovered this thick, milky "stuff" in the bottom of the tank. I duct taped a small conduit to the end of one of my shopvac attachments and literally sucked the crap outta there. The heaters worked much better after that. Since the previous owner was NOT big on maintenance I suspect he had never flushed these water heaters. That reminds me it's time to try to flush those puppies again to see if there is any more build up. Good luck. --Greg

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Flooding the tank with white vinigar or another extremely mild acid will probably remove the calcium, but it will also start disolving exposed metal components, so you probably can't do it very often. To prevent re-currence, you'll probably have to do something significant by way of treating the water before it gets to the heater.
--Goedjn
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