Overpressurizing and Calcification?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by RVBraq, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. RVBraq

    RVBraq New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2019
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Hi guys,

    I've been in my house for about a year now. Ever since we've been in the house, our water heater has made popping and cracking noise when it heats up. The water heater was installed about 2.5 years ago. After some investigating we noticed some significant calcium deposits on the bottom. We went ahead and cleaned it out as best we can but the amount of sediment built up was astounding, especially given that it's fairly new. We never could get everything out but figured some cleaning was better than none. The knocking lessened at first but returned to the usual levels a month or two later. We also started noticing the pressure valve leaking while it was heating - not a lot but enough to notice.


    We just replaced the T&P valve and it continues to leak when it heats up. I took some pictures inside the tank while I was replacing the valve and wondering if anyone knows what the heck is going on inside this thing. Is this just a ton of sediment build up?


    I had the water analyzed - not particularly hard, so that isnt the issue. Any ideas? Were leaning towards replacing it but rather figure out what caused this in the first place. We have a rheem classic 40 gallon


    See pics attached from inside the heater, at the top of the tank, where the pressure relief valve goes


    https://imgur.com/fFerEsB


    https://imgur.com/b1RCruj


    Https://imgur.com/UzpJ7RX
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You have hard water. A water softener would improve the water for your use, and would prevent formation of those deposits. I am not going to say that it would make your WH last longer, because those deposits have some protective aspects. The deposits do make heat transfer from the gas heat to the water less efficient.

    That is the easy one. You probably have a check valve (one way valve) on your water coming in. Cities are putting those in place these days. When you use hot water, new cooler water is drawn into the WH. As that water heats, it it expands. When it gets to about 150 psi, the temperature and pressure (T+P) relief valve releases water. That is not desirable.

    The best solution is a thermal expansion tank. This has a diaphragm that separates an air chamber from the water. This air compresses as the water expands, and limits the pressure rise. This device should be sized with enough volume, based on the temperature rise that you heat water to over the incoming water temperature, and the size of the WH.

    The air is pre-charged to about the maximum pressure that the water comes in at. Typically you can take the pressure you measure during normal waking hours, and add a couple of PSI. The bigger your tank is, the less critical that is.

    The tank should normally be empty of water, so there is space for the heated water to expand into. Knock on your tank to know what it sounds like when the tank is empty. If the tank retains water later, replace the tank and set the air precharge again.
     
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  4. RVBraq

    RVBraq New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2019
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Thanks for the response Reach. I'll look into the expansion tank. Is there any possibility a bad anode rod would contribute to the sheer amount of sediment build up or is that mostly a result of the hard water?
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    An anode rod could shed some solids. I would not call that a bad anode rod, but more of an anode rod that was consumed. I think it more likely that the water is the source of the greater volume of solids.

    If you are going to try to clean out your WH, you are in a small minority. The drain line screws into a 3/4 NPT hole. Some drain valves give more access to run volume out, and even a straight line access for some kind of spray wand.
    I replaced my plastic drain valve with several parts: nipple, full
    flow drain valve, GHT adapter. There is now available a brass full
    flow drain valve, which I would have used instead.
    Drain Valves:
    Rheem AP12231C-1 Overall Length (in.): 6-1/8
    Rheem SP12231B Overall Length (in.): 3-3/4
    Rheem AP12231B-1 Overall Length (in.): 3-3/4​
    Wand: Camco 40103 25.5 inches long.


    Here are a couple of threads you may find of interest:
    https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/lookie-at-this-little-beauty-i-took-out-today.75622/
    https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/proper-gas-hot-water-tank-flushing.62015/
     
  6. phog

    phog Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    It's not out of the ordinary for water heaters to make some minor noises as they heat up, some do straight from the factory and some never do.

    But the lack of expansion tank is likely to be contributing to the noises as well, as Reach rightly points out. Just understand that you may only get a diminishing of noise rather than a completely silent system after installing the expansion tank. (It will definitely 100% fix the T+P valve leakage)

    Regardless it is strongly recommended that you have the expansion tank installed sooner than later. The expansion/contraction caused by pressure cycling is diminishing the life of the water heater tank, every pressure cycle adds a little bit more metal fatigue and eventually you'll get premature leaks. Pay now or pay later.

    Expansion tanks are relatively inexpensive (on the order of $50 + cost of fittings). And within the capability of a homeowner to install if you're handy with a pipe cutter and soldering torch. Or just pay a plumber, a typical installation might include 1-1.5 hours of labor charges + parts + base service visit charge.
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    If they used screw-on flex connectors to your WH, you may only need a T and couple of wrenches, and maybe some straps to hold up the new ET.
     
    phog likes this.
  8. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    you need a water softener
     

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