I've been hearing some strange noises in my basement lately. Last year I ran some hot and cold lines out from the main house to a detached garage in the back yard (40–50 feet from the house) that I converted to a studio. We've had guests staying there from time to time, and I never noticed anything at first, but lately there have been sounds coming from near the [electric] hot water tank when the studio shower is turned on or off – a similar noise to when water is sucked into a bathtub drain. I've noticed this sound when other faucets in the main house are used, but not as pronounced as when faucets in the detached structure are manipulated.
Can anyone recommend what I might need to do to make it stop? My first instinct is to flush the hot water tank and descale it.
Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
Descale it, not going to happen.
When's the last time you have drained out the solids in the bottom of that tank?
Every manufacture suggest at least every 6 months.
The scale collected at the bottom of an electric hot water heater won't make any noise. However, the scale that accumulates on the hottest parts of the heater, which will be the heating elements, can make a hissing noise. Fixing the problem would involve draining the heater and scraping the accumulated scale off the heating elements, or simply replacing the heating elements with new ones.
This PDF file from the A. O. Smith Company explains how you can dissolve the scale accumulated at the bottom of your tank style water heater:
If that link doesn't work, simply Google "4800r9" without the quotes and you should find it.
Basically, the procedure is to drain your water heater and connect a hose to the drain valve. The other end of the hose goes to a transparent plastic jug that contains a mild acid. You simply raise the jug so that the acid flows into the water heater, and after a minute or two, lower the jug so the acid flows back into the jug.
The scale being dissolved will be calcium and magnesium carbonate, so carbon dioxide bubbles will be released as the acid dissolves the scale. Those bubbles will cause the acid to foam up. You just keep raising the jug for a few minutes at a time so the acid flows into the heater and subsequently drains out again until there's no more foam on the acid. That indicates there's no more scale inside the water heater.
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