How to Solve the Sediment Problem in Your Water Heater

Water contains a variety of components— such as silt—and many water sources are truly mineral-laden. When water has a high mineral concentration, it’s referred to as hard water. Meanwhile, it is known as soft water when it has a low mineral level.

Over time, minerals in the water settle in your water heater’s tank. The sediment lands to the bottom or clings to the tank’s walls. It can even create a thick layer in and around the tank.

Below you will find ways to detect and fix sediment issues in your water heater’s tank.

How Do You Know Sediment Is Building Up in Your Water Heater?

You might have noticed your water heater producing cracking, popping, and banging noises. It can sound so outlandish that you’re afraid it’ll blow up. While such a dire situation is unlikely, you should not overlook a noisy water heater because it’s a sign that you have sediment buildup.

Why Sediment Buildup in Your Water Tank Is Not Good

You may be wondering what the source of the cracking and popping noise is. Water sediment isn’t as fine as sand. Rather, it tends to stay together in huge chunks. As a result, the fragments heat up and blast away from the tank’s edges, settling at the bottom.

Your water heater tank’s sides and bottom are quite hot. This causes the sediment to heat up and explode, resulting in loud sounds.

How Do You Remove Sediment From Your Water Heater?

Obviously, you need to remove the sediment from your water heater to make it quiet again. Draining and cleaning the tank might sometimes provide a remedy, and most homeowners can complete this task on their own. 

The procedure is fairly simple, but you need to have basic knowledge of your water system’s parts and how they work first before managing your water heater problem.

The Basic Steps to Draining Your Tank

1. Close the gas valve or electrical power if you have an electric heater.

2. Turn off the water valve in the tank that allows water to enter.

3. Connect a hose to the tank’s drain valve, which is located near the bottom. You should place the other end of the hose in a bucket outdoors or at a drain outlet lower than the drain valve’s level. (Note: When you let the water out, it will be hot.)

4. Open a hot water faucet someplace else in your house to relieve pressure in your tank.

5. Carefully open the drain valve (the water will be heated). Only 3 or 4 liters are required to rinse off the silt.

6. Close the drain valve, reactivate the water supply, and turn on the gas valve. If necessary, relight the pilot.

What to Do If There Are Large Chunks of Sediments

You have to consider that large chunks of sediment will most likely not fit through the drain valve. The technique provided above may be rendered impossible if sediment clogs your drain valve.

However, this little hack might help. After attaching the hose and opening it, try gently standing on it a few feet away from the drain valve. This can push the blockage out by forcing air or water back into the valve. If you’re still having problems, call a professional plumber for assistance with your sediment issue.

Extremely hard water may necessitate frequent draining or flushing of your water heater in some circumstances. This can be aggravating as hard water can harm other plumbing fixtures and appliances in your home.


There you have it. If your water heater is making cracking and popping noises because of silt, it’s best to empty the sediment every few months to try and solve the problem. If you think you’re not skilled enough to do this by yourself, call your plumber for assistance with water heater maintenance. They may end up recommending a water test and installing a water softener to lower the mineral content in your water and alleviate your sediment problem.

If you need water heater repair and replacement in California, don’t hesitate to contact Candu Plumbing & Rooter. We are a professional plumbing service with trained and experienced plumbers ready to serve you any time. Book an appointment with us today!