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Why Does Sediment Build Up in My Water Heater?

While modern water heaters are built well and designed to last, they do require regular maintenance and can suffer from some issues that require repairs and replacements. Most of those problems stem from one thing – sediment build-up within your water heater over time. In addition, sediment can even affect your home’s pipes. Why is sediment and issue and where does it come from? Why does it build up in your water heater?

The Source of Sediment

No matter where you might live within the UK, all water contains dissolved minerals. Lime is probably the most common, but there are many others, including iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, and more.

What Causes Sediment to Settle?

Sediment is held in suspension when water is at cool temperatures. However, the heating process actually causes it to settle out, or to come out of suspension. As the water heats up, minerals condense, and small bits aggregate into larger and larger particles. Eventually, those particles are too heavy to remain in suspension and they settle to the bottom of the tank.

The Problem with Sediment 

While these minerals might be naturally occurring, that does not mean that they are harmless to your water heater. In fact, sediment build-up can cause a number of different problems. One of those is that, over time, the layer of sediment at the bottom of the cylinder can become quite deep. This limits the amount of water your cylinder can hold, reducing total volume.

There is also the fact that sediment build-up can lead to a loud banging noise from the cylinder as steam bubbles up through the material and then escapes into the cylinder itself. Other problems caused by increased sediment include rumbling and popping sounds, increased energy bills, and even fluctuating water temperatures.

How to Remedy the Problem

If you suspect that sediment build-up is causing problems within your water cylinder, there is a simple fix. The water heater will need to be drained and flushed in order to remove the sediment. However, this type of maintenance should be handled by a plumber certified to work on unvented water cylinders. If you are in Greater Manchester and require this service please contact us on 0161 941 5571.