Water Heater: Slow Heating Of Water Problem. Draining/Flushing Help ?

Hello:
Have the typical cylindrical type of upright gas fired hot water heater. Probably about 5 yrs old, or so.
Lately, it is taking an inordinate amount of time to heat water up. It used to be fairly quick; now my wife complains that it takes "forever".
Heard about draining the crud via the valve at the bottom; the theory being apparently that the crud is acting as a thermal barrier for the heat. Likely ?
Frankly, have never played with the valve or draining the tank.
Is it likely that over the years a layer of crud, or whatever has built up in the tank, and this is the cause of the slow heating ?
If so, woulds draining the tank likely help ? Guess I'm wondering if the crud, if that is actually the problem, is hard-baked on the inside, or somehow loose enough such that draining the tank would help ?
How do I do this ? Do I flush it by letting the water run thru and out a hose to the outside, or... ?
Any thoughts or comments would be most appreciated.
Thanks, Bob
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If there is buildup, it would act as an insulator from the gas flame. It may help. Check to see that the burner is lit all the way around also. Depending on the content of your water, yet, it could have a lot of deposits.
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What do you mean heating is slow, the tank reaches a temp so when you turn the water on that is the temp it is. Reheating after alot of use is probably a bad thermostat, 5 yrs is not enough time to put in to much crud, plus it will heat but slower. Do you mean after alot of use it does not recover fast.
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Don't forget to turn off the heater and let its contents cool down before draining it. You don't want 30 gallons of scalding water coming at you.
I remember hearing that you could do more harm than good draining an old, undisturbed water heater; but that might have applied to the glass ones, not the newer ones (that are fiberglass, I think).
That all being said, I've had water heaters older than that and they didn't noticeably "slow up"; I think you have a different problem.
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Regards,

Jerry Schwartz
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Robert,
The amount of crud will depend on how much disolved mineral is in your water, that depends on where you are and the source of water. Crud formation also depends on how hot your water heater thermostat is set. The higher the setting, the more crud will precipitate out. Since the burner is under the water heater, the crud in the bottom will definately affect heat transfer. When I was in western PA, we often flushed gas water heaters every few years. Here in coastal South Carolina, the water is soft and not as much of a problem. Plus most water heaters in my area are electric and not affected by crud. Flushing your gas water heater should help. Turn off the burner and run a tub till the water is cooler. then hook a hose to the drain and run it to a floor drain or outside. After the heater is drained, turn the cold water of full and that will break up the crud some. Do this several times till the drainage is clean. Then refill the tank and purge the air out. THEN turn the burner back on. If no crud comes out when you flush the tank, there is probably some other problem.
Stretch
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Hi,
Much thanks for help.
Yes, your term of "recovery" is a better description than my attempt to describe the problem.
Bob
.. Do you mean after alot of use it

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Robert11 wrote:

Draining it may help or it may not. Ask your neighbors. They likely have the same type of water and therefore the same type of build up. See what they may have done and if it helped. This is something that is a big problem in some areas and no problem in others.
You chance having the drain valve fail. They are all very cheap. It is not all that hard to replace them with a good one.
Also keep one more thing in mind. You are likely living in an area where spring is just started and the water coming into your home is much colder than it was last fall. It takes longer to heat it up. So you should expect some reduction in recovery time this time of year when the water is at it's coldest. It will be a couple of moths before it really warms up much.
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Joseph Meehan

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I think the problem is something other than sediment buildup.
I just replaced a15 year old WH that started to leak. I never drained the WH to flush the sediment (my bad) in the 10 years we've been in the house. The water in my area is fairly hard & there was a LOT of sediment in the WH. I Sawzall'd the WH in half for fun (I know pretty strange)
The WH had a couple of inches of sediment. With 4 people in the house we never really experienced noticeable loss of performance.
IMO your situation must be preception or some problem other than sediment? Dip tube?
Don't depend on the cheap plastic drain valve working, when I went to drain the WH to remove & replace it, the sediment was so deep it wouldn't drain properly. THe valve failed to shut off completely. Luckily I had let the WH cool otherwise I'd have been dealing with a HOT water leak.
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

I would not rule out the dip tube, but the OP wrote "it is taking an inordinate amount of time to heat water up." The problem usually noted with a bad dip tube is running out of hot water too fast not a delay in heating.
Your experience is not that unusual, but water quality has many factors and one hard water may not react the same as another. So while your build up was not a problem, someone a few miles away with a different water supply might have a totally different experience.
You are totally correct about those cheap valves and the fact that sediment can clog them.
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It depends on whether or not you are running the water during the time while you are waiting for the water to reheat. If you do run the water before it fully reheats, a broken dip tube could result in the slow recovery.
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Peace,
BobJ

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