preparing for plumbing emergencies
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preparing for plumbing emergencies

Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.

preparing for plumbing emergencies

A Quick Guide To Removing Lime Scale From Your Water Heater

Veronica Torres

If you're using a conventional water heater, then sooner or later you may have to deal with lime scale buildup. Over time, naturally occurring lime, calcium and other mineral deposits commonly found in most water supplies can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank, making it harder for your water heater to deliver hot water efficiently. Strange popping and crackling noises, commonly referred to as "kettling," is a common sign of mineral buildup.

The following will show you how you can get rid of lime scale and other mineral deposits in your water heater.

Safety Preparations

Safety should always take precedence when it comes to maintaining your water heater. There are a few things you'll want to take care of before you get started:

  • Make sure the circuit breaker controlling the water heater is turned off.
  • If you have a gas-fired water heater, make sure the gas valve is shut off to prevent gas from flowing to the water heater as you work.
  • Partially crack open one of the hot water faucets in your home to prevent the system from forming a vacuum as you drain the tank.
  • Wait for the water inside the tank to cool down to reasonable temperatures. Most water heaters deliver hot water at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more -- enough to pose a scalding risk in many cases.

Flushing Out Sediment

The first step towards removing lime scale buildup involves flushing existing sediment out of the water heater tank. To do this, you'll need to attach a garden hose to the drain valve on the water heater and run the hose to a nearby drain or a suitable drainage area outdoors.

Afterwards, open up the drain valve to empty the water heater tank. Don't forget to open the cold water supply valve on the water heater periodically to flush the sediment out of the tank. Keep this up until the water coming out of the tank appears clean.

Breaking Up Lime Scale

Although you've managed to purge the sediment out of your water heater, there are probably plenty of stubborn lime deposits clinging on for dear life. To get rid of them, you'll have to take on a greater hands-on approach. You'll need a relatively stiff piece of wire, such as the type commonly used on wire clothes hangers. In fact, you can simply take a clothes hanger and straighten it out.

Next, place a bucket underneath the drain valve to catch any water that comes out. Guide the wire through the drain valve and work it back and forth to loosen small chunks of lime scale, calcium and other deposits. Open the cold water supply valve occasionally to help flush bits and pieces of lime scale out of the water heater tank. Keep scraping until you can't get any more lime scale chunks to come out.

The Power of Vinegar

After scraping the bottom of the water heater tank, you can dissolve the rest of the lime scale using vinegar. Reattach the garden hose to the drain valve. Next, locate and remove the anode rod on your water heater. If the anode rod looks like it has seen better days, then you should take this time to replace it with a new rod.

Pour 1 to 3 gallons of vinegar into the opening for the anode rod. When you're finished, replace the anode rod and open the cold water supply valve to add water to the tank. You won't need to fill the tank all the way but only enough to help circulate the vinegar around the entire tank.

Afterwards, let the vinegar and water solution sit for at least 6 hours. This will give it enough time to dissolve the lime scale and other mineral deposits. After enough time has passed, drain the water heater tank and flush it as instructed previously.

When you're done, make sure to close the drain valve, turn off any faucet taps you've opened and restore power to the hot water tank. If this doesn't seem to solve your problem, you may want to contact a local water heater repair company like Drain-A-Way Inc for more help.