Water quality can affect the insides of your plumbing system, and your water heater is no exception. Here are some of the ways that water quality can affect your water heater.
1. Acidic water
Water tends to corrode the insides of water heater tanks since the tanks are made out of metal. If your water heater is well-maintained, it has a sacrificial anode rod that draws the water's corrosive power away from the tank's walls. Water that's extremely acidic can corrode metal faster, which could mean the anode rod needs to be replaced more often.
This anode rod is easily replaceable, whereas if your tank springs a leak, you'll typically need a whole new water heater. So if you have soft water or acidic water, be sure to replace the anode rod often.
2. Hard water
Hard water (water that has a lot of minerals in it) can affect how quickly sediment builds up in the bottom of your water heater tank. The minerals tend to settle out of hot water more quickly than out of cold water, so quite a lot of sediment can build up in the tank over time. Sediment buildup can cause problems such as unevenly heated water.
Good water heater maintenance includes flushing sediment out of the tank every so often. If you know you have hard water, you may want to increase the frequency of this service. Your plumber can help you decide how often the tank needs to be flushed.
3. Softened water
If you decide to put in a water softener to avoid the sediment buildup from hard water, you should be aware that softened water can affect your hot water heater as well. Because the common ion exchange type of softener adds sodium ions to the water, the water becomes more conducive to metal corrosion.
So softened water can have much the same effect that acidic water has; it can make your water heater tank and anode rod corrode faster.
4. Water with iron bacteria
Some water sources naturally contain iron bacteria. These bacteria may thrive in your plumbing system, especially in the warm water part of the system. Although these bacteria won't keep your water heater from functioning, they can make it very smelly. If your water heater (or your hot water) starts to smell of sulfur, you may need to have it treated for bacteria.
Water heaters can produce hot water reliably for years if well cared for. Knowing how different types of water and different water quality factors can affect your water heater can help you ensure that the heater stays in good shape. Talk to your plumber today about whether your water quality could mean that your water heater needs more maintenance and care.
For more information, contact a water heater service.