Water Heater Mfr: American Water Heater Co
Capacity: 40 gal, gas-heated, 34000 BTU/HR
Installed in 1998, Souther California, Very Hard Water, No Water
6 year Mfr warranty.
Currently makes gurgling sounds (like marbles rolling around in tank)
when hot water faucet downstairs is turned on.
Is draining/flushing the water heater now (something that should have
been done every 6-12 months) a bad idea?
I can't imagine it would be a bad idea, although it may not help/cure
the problem (although it sure sounds like a sediment issue; it's hard to
get it all out of a neglected tank.)
I would buy a couple caps for garden hose fittings before you do this,
regular readers of this group will recall that I just replaced the drain
valves on all my water heaters with ball valves last month as the POs of
my house apparently never used the drain valves, and they all leaked
after they were opened. So I needed to cap them off to keep my basement
from getting all soggy :( In fact, you may wish to do the ball valve
thing anyway (use a 3/4" dielectric nipple, found in the water heater
section of your local Big Box, a 3/4" pipe thread ball valve, and a 3/4"
male pipe to garden hose adapter to make your own) as a ball valve
allows far greater flow than a spigot, for better flushing action.
more reading here:
At 6 yrs. you might want to check the anode as well; that's a typical
warranty period for a HWH so the anode may be due for replacement.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Forgot to mention, that noise may also be a heat trap nipple, in which
case it's nothing to worry about, but you won't make it go away unless
you remove it and replace it with a regular nipple - in which case you
should replumb the inlet and outlet of the tank with an S-curve in the
pipes to act as the heat traps you've just removed.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Flushing now may extend the life of the water heater, or may not. If
you break the valve, not uncommon with the cheap ones that come with the
water heater, then you will have a bit of a mess on your hands and a cheap
If you do flush it, I would expect it will fail in about two years and
you will blame the flushing, if you don't it will fail in about 18 months
and you will blame that on not flushing. :-)
the noise doesnt effect operation or heater lifetime, its just
annoying unless you decide to ignore it. theres a great chance of
breaking the valve or having to remove it altogether and replace with
ball valve, the sludge will clog a regular valve.
Heaters are cheap simple devices I would leave it alone till it fails,
or buy a new heater, and trash the old one.
We also have very hard water, and my waterheater did the same thing. I
flushed it and all kinds of nasty white crap came out. It started rumbling
again in about 3 months. So I flushed it again and more garbage came out.
It started rumbling again. I gave up after that. I got a new waterheater
and watersoftner, and no more rumbling....ever.
Odly enough this very topic was covered today on a re run of ask this
old house ........
Rich T the plumber said if a tank is old its best to leave it be
unless its had regular service every couple years since frequently it
will cause either a instaneous or premature failure. he did a autopsey
on a old tank that failed 2 months after he flushed it. the bottom
half of the tank was totally filled with crud, the lower element had a
heavy crust of gunk, the anode rods nearly disappeared.
his pro opinion, old tanks shouldnt be disturbed if they havent had
I am the OP. Located this thread after doing a Google Search.
I just wanted to add this note, for the record:
The above water heater finally started leaking in 4/2014 (after 15 years !)
I had never flushed or maintained the system in any way.
I would have bought another American Water Heater to replace it, but I went to
Home Depot and they only carry Rheem.
Replacing it with a Rheem XG40T12HE40U0
Marble sounds sometime in 2007, about a year or two after the warranty was out.
I ignored it for 6 more years. Lol!
It's amazing how some of these 6-year-warranty water heaters can take that much
abuse and still continue to work.
Good job on a well-built product, American Water Heater Company!
My new Rheem water heater has a 12-year warranty.
Electronic ignition, and there is supposedly something that stirs (?) the water
in there to retard sediment build-up.
Hopefully, I'll remember to flush the system at least once a year to keep some
of that sediment out :^)
When the plumber drained the old water heater before removal, strangely not much
sediment came out the hose.
(I was expecting to see rusty water, and tons of sediment)
That water heater was leaking from the top, down the sides; the top inlet/outlet
pipes at the water heater were corroded and had small pools of water at the
connectors. I have pics, but I don't think there's a way to post them here.
I used to drain my tank every few months, but nothing but water ever came out!
Worse the drain valve cracked, I replaced it the next day but 2 weeks later the tank leaked at the valve and had to be replaced....
so these days I install a new tank and leave it be till it leaks, on average 12 years later.
the boiling sound is hard water build up inside tank.
The mineral deposits inside the tank tend to bond to the side and bottom of the
tank, so I'm not sure that flushing does a whole lot of good. Some tanks come
with a corkscrew style dip tube that purportedly swirls the supply water, but
again, I suspect that's more marketing fluff than reality. Unless you are
filling a bathtube, there really isn't enough demand to swirl a 40-50 gallon
tank of water.
Truth is there are only a handful of water heater manufacturers in the US and
there is no difference in the quality of the warranty vs the length of the tank.
The preimum paid for longer warranty heaters just goes to pay the couple of
extra claims they get and to help increase the margin.
If you have hard enough water that mineral buildup in the heater is a problem,
you really should have a softener.
I checked the 40-gallon natural gas models from Rheem at Home Depot with the 6,
9 and 12-year warranty (about $350, $450 and $550 respectively).
Only the 9 and 12 year models have the mechanism to stir the mineral deposits
And they have a better anode and insulation, or something like that...
The 12-year model has a brass drain valve; the 9-year model has a plastic one.
I figured if I was going to mess with that drain valve annually, I better get
the brass one.
In retrospect, maybe I should have gotten a water softener installed when I
bought this house (new) in 1998.
But I hear water softeners can erode the anode in water heaters at a faster rate?
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