You know, I think it depends on what time of day one posts, which set
of people reply. At any rate I've read a lot of reports here of
opening the flush valve and it clogging with sediment and couldn't be
And in my case, I'd had an 8 year water heater for 8 years and
something was wrong with it, and before I threw it away I cut it open
and found maybe six flat tablespoons of sediment in it. A half inch
deep at the center of spherical bottoom. At that rate I had at
least 120 years before it hit the electric element. I don't use a lot
of hot water, but still. I live alone, laundry on warm, dishwasher
sometimes, but I take a bath in a full small-to-medium sized bathtub
Of course that means I wouldn't have clogged the drain, but there are
a few inches above the drain until it gets to the element when it
I can see why sediment at the bottom would cause boiling at the bottom
of a pot on a stove, and subsequent noises, but since the electric
element is several inches above the bottom and above all the sediment,
why would sediment cause gurgling? Not that it doesn't happen, but I
don't get it.
Which then becomes a good excuse to replace the crappy plastic valve with a
more substantial one.
Boiling bubbles do not necessarily emanate from the heating element - they
are generated at imperfections in the vessels surface (possibly including
the heating element). That's why "boiling chips" are added in chemical lab's
distillation apparatus. Were it not for these BB-sized lumps of stone, the
liquid would become superheated and erupt, sometimes catastrophically.
Anyway, sediment in a water heater is a good source of "boiling chips."
Occasionally I hear a "chatter" about the water heater. It resembles a
metal to metal sound. I figured the sound was coming from the flue
pipe/heater. Sometimes maybe wind in the exhaust pipe vent?
Not enough to worry about.
Regarding the suggestion about draining \\ flushing the tank to remove
sediment - my poorly designed house has the hot water tank far from any
exterior walls and without a drain to the outside - there is a pressure
relief valve that vents to the outside.
Would simply attaching a regular garden hose to the spigot at the bottom of
the tank and running the hose to the outside for the flushing process be OK?
I assume that I'd need to turn the heating element OFF but leave the inlet
water ON when I flush the tank and just let it run for a while - correct?
Any potential problems with running the hot water out through the garden
Also, my hot water tank is right next to the AC blower unit - there's a
condensate line for the AC that runs to the outside - I was wondering about
having a plumber run a drain line from the pan that's under the hot water
heater to tie into the condensate line for the AC drain - how much capacity
(what diameter pipe) would the condensate line need to accommodate an
emergency drain line for the hot water heater?
To the extent the outside is lower than the inside, yes.
Absolutely. if the heating element isn't in water, it will burn out,
pretty quickly I think.
Now it occurs to me that if the water is under pressure and flushing
the tank quickly, instead of just draining the tank with the water
intake off but 2 hot water faucets open elsewhere, like I've done a
couple times, which goes slowly, there could be enough turbulence to
stir up the sediment on the bottom. I don't know if that's good or
bad. It gets rid of the sediment but means if the drain can be
clogged, it takes less sediment, sediment less deep, to clog it.
You paid to heat that water, plus all that carbon thing. You might
want to turn off the power for a day or two before you do this.
You'll still have hot water for a while and rather hot water for a
while after that. I live alone and I think I went 3 days before I
ran out of hot water. You have to leave the cold inlet open or no
water will come out, so it gradually gets diluted. Cooling without
diluting, just because there is no electricity anymore, takes even
But read my other posts about flushing and possible valve clogging.
This has never happeend to me but also I've never flushed. Other
people here say it can happen. Apparently you only heard this noise
because you happened to be in the basement when someone used hot
water. Is that enough to do all this for?
You have a pan under the water heater but it doesn't drain anywhere? I
think I've heard of that. I may have even seen it. Maybe they
always put in the pan and leave it for someone else to run a pipe from
it to a drain, but you shoudl know that without a drain, it will
overflow soon after the water heater starts to leak. Almost right away
if the drain hole in the pan isn't connected to anything. At that
point, there IS no point to having a pan. The water heater will
usually leak slowly, but continuously, once it starts.
A metal pan or a plastic pan?
My friend had a condensate line that I think was 1/4 inch i.D. plastic
tubing, or at most 1/2 inch inside diameter. What do you have?
The draln hole on the pan is for 2" inside diameter, isn't it? And
it's the squares that matter. Pi r squared. So 1/2 inch diameter is
1/4 inch radius which is 1/16 times pi (3.14) square inches, which is
0.2 square inches. OTOH, two inches diameter is one inch radius
squared is 1 times pi is 3.14 square inches. 15 times as much**.
Plus there is the capacity of the pump to consider. I have no idea
what that is. As I said, leaks usually start small, maybe they never
start big and they never get bigger, I don't know. Find out.
**Actualy didn't have to do all that. The diameter is 2 inches is
which is *four* times 1/2 inch, so the area will be four x four times
as big. 16.
I "flooded" my basement when my first water heater. That is, an
eigtth of an inch but it got soaked up by all the cardboard boxes and
ruined them and that might have been the time it got to the next room
and loosened the vinyl or asphalt tile. If it got farther it would
have runined other cardboard boxes that things are stored in and the
rug would have gotten soaked.
That was a time when something else had already leaked and I thought
it was drying slowly, when in fact I eventually learned my basement
floor usually dries out in less than a day, but this time the leaking
water heater was keeping it wet for 4 days before I got suspicious.
draing a old tank has lots of downsides, do first thing in AM.
drain valve can clog and not drain
drain valve can leak after draining. most drain valves are cheap
plastic, designed for one use to drain tank at end of life.
buy a drain cover, it screws on in case you have a leak.
be prepared to relace valve or tank, a friends drain valve was stuck
the handle snapped off, he tried unscrewing the valve, it broke. he
ended up replacing the tank..
a good decision......
you know tanks really arent worth trying to maintain.
assume a electric tank life is 12 years and costs 400 bucks, by the
time the tank reaches its normal end f life a new tank probably has
better insulation etc.
say you get a extra 4 years screwing around with it?
the per year cost of the tank really isnt much less, and attempting
service may cause you to junk it.
if your going to service it install a new ball valve when brand new.
on electric tanks element replacement is worth it provided the tank is
A short stub of pipe (on both hot & cold side, usually) with a metal ball in
them. Designed to keep hot water in when there's no hot water being called
for, they sometimes rattle. I've never been real impressed with this
I made a heat trap out of 1/2" copper pipe; it is basically just a loop and
has no moving parts, no flapper valves, etc. so it will always work,
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