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Old 21-12-2010, 06:12   #1
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Calcium Build-Up in Water Heater

We have a force 10, 6 gal, 110 volts AC, hot water heater. Our lenght of showers has deminished. We believe it is due to calcium build up inside the tank and on the heater element. We are looking for suggestions on how to resolve this situation.
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Old 21-12-2010, 06:27   #2
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First would be to verify the problem. Drain the heater, pull the element, and insert a light to internally inspect the tank. The element can be carefully cleaned with a scotch brite pad. If the element is clean and there isn't significant corrosion in the tank to reduce the volume of water, then you may have an issue with your thermostat.


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Old 21-12-2010, 06:43   #3
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, seagle.

Heating water causes the minerals to separate and fall to the bottom of the tank. Usually this sediment build-up is made of calcium carbonate. One sign of sediment build-up is a sulfur (or rotten-egg) smell around your water heater.
With gas water heaters, sediment problems may cause the entire heater to become noisy while on.

In electric water heaters, sediment can cover the lower heating element, which causes a significant drop in the amount of hot water the water heater can produce. Removing the heating element, and soaking it in an acid de-scaler solution (ie: CLR etc) can remove the calcium buildup, and prevent failure of the element due to local overheating.
You might also install a low-watt density heating element in the tank. The low-watt density heating element has twice the surface area as a normal heating element; this means the low-watt element doesn’t have to use the high temperatures that a normal element does to achieve the same water temperature in the tank.

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Old 29-12-2010, 19:07   #4
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Old 30-12-2010, 15:20   #5

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+1 for the above, there are several ways to perform routine maintenance by draining, and flushing the water heater once or twice a year...

same for your house heater... there is a little drain valve on the bottom, so, just turn the water off, and hook a hose up to the hose bib, and drain, flush, repeat. and good to go

not sure on marine heaters though.. Do they have a drain fitting?

Also, can you flush them with CLR or some other de-mineral product?
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