I notice a lot of white particles in my hot water, clogging filters
etc. Apparently, this is sediment from the heater. I will attempt to
drain it tonight. My question is, generally speaking, are those white
particles evidence that my heater nearing the end of its life or not?
See if they dissolve in mild acid. If not, they are from the dip tube.
If it's an electric heater, sediment at the bottom has no effect
On a gas heater, sediment will reduce effic somewhat and will
shorten life. But....over the years that sediment turns back
to stone and you can't simply drain it out.
It is a gas heater. What I am concerned with, is that this is not
sediment, but crust that accumulater on the heat exchanger, which is
now falling out due to excessive heating of that heat exchanger due to
thermal insulating properties of the crust. (crust prevents transfer
of heat to water, hence the pipes are hot, hence they would burn out
soon). Just a speculation.
Yes, you can use strong vinegar to test.
Gas heaters don't have the kind of "heat exchanger" you're picturing.
The bottom of the tank transfers most of the heat to the water
directly from the flames. The hot flue gases transfer some more
via the central tube/flue running thru the heater to the chimney.
The heater may fail along the bottom (typical life is 10 years),
although failures in other parts are as common.
Well, a failure (rupture)of the heater suonds like a very bad
thing. Would preventative replacement of the heater be a good idea? Is
there any way to find out if the heater is about to rupture?
There was a period of time that hot water heater manufacturers were using an
"inferior composition" dip tube. There may have been a class action suit
over this. Google for " dip tube replacement".
Dip tube is the plastic inlet tube inside the water heater that carries the
cold water to the bottom of the tank. The permature failure of the dip tube
would result in small plastic particles in the hot water lines.
This makes a lot of sense with me. I am at work right now, but those
particles float in water and calcium carbonate does not float.
I will try applying heat to these particles to see if they melt or
burn or char. If so, I will know it is plastic and not sediment.
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