Water heaters are designed to offset a great deal of sediment and minerals in the water before any problems start occurring. The tank contains an anode rod that attracts these particles like a magnet to keep the minerals from settling along the walls of the tank and potentially causing erosion. But the rod will eventually become overloaded, leaving the sediment free to float in the tank.
You should ideally drain your tank once a year and check the anode rod's health during that draining. But there are some symptoms you can watch for between those yearly drains that can indicate your water heater needs another cleaning or that your unit needs replacing.
Ticking Sound Inside the Tank
Have you suddenly started to hear a loud clinking sound coming from the water heater? Stand by the unit and determine whether the sound is coming from the tank. If the sound does trace back to the tank, you might have loose sediment that is floating through the water and clinking around inside the metal tank.
Drain the tank to remove the sediment and check the anode rod. First turn off the water and electrical supplies to the unit, and hook a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank. Open the valve with the twist of a screwdriver and wait until no more water comes out of the tank. You can then loosen the fasteners on the anode rod, lift the rod, and see if the part needs to be replaced.
Replace the anode rod, if necessary, and then start the process of refilling the tank. First, remove the garden hose from the drain valve and twist the valve closed by turning the screwdriver in the opposite direction. Turn on the electric and water supplies and let some time pass to make sure the tank fills up.
Check again for signs of clinking and, if you still hear the noise, call in a water heater repair plumber for a service call.
White Buildup on Dishes in Dishwasher
White buildup on dishes can happen for a variety of reasons, including problems with your detergent. But if you know that the dishwasher is otherwise operating properly, the problem could be that minerals from your water heater are entering the appliance through its hot water supply and then spraying all over the dishes.
There are commercial demineralizing dishwasher cleaners available, but that won't provide much help if more minerals will enter into the dishwasher every time it uses hot water. Drain the water heater and perform the anode rod tests first, make any changes necessary, and then run the dishwasher with the demineralizing agent to remove any minerals that remain in the unit.
For more information about these water heater repairs, contact a plumber at Ellsworth Plumbing & Heating LLC.