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Old 02-07-2015, 07:23 PM   #1
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Water Heater flushing

The recent water heater thread has me wondering. I know you can buy a wand that you insert where the anode goes to flush debris from the tank. But I'm wondering if you couldn't simply take the anode out and connect to city water and let it rip.
Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:10 PM   #2
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The recent water heater thread has me wondering. I know you can buy a wand that you insert where the anode goes to flush debris from the tank. But I'm wondering if you couldn't simply take the anode out and connect to city water and let it rip.
Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?
Glen, I think the wand lets you direct a stream of kind of high pressure water to the back corners of the tank, which in turn flushes out a lot of crud. I know that is what happened when I last cleaned my water heater. I don't know if simply letting water flow into the tank would accomplish the same thing.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:11 PM   #3
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The recent water heater thread has me wondering. I know you can buy a wand that you insert where the anode goes to flush debris from the tank. But I'm wondering if you couldn't simply take the anode out and connect to city water and let it rip.
Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?
I don't think it would work as well at removing scale Glenn. There is no jet of higher pressure water to "scrub" the tank walls like with the wand - as in this video:

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Old 02-08-2015, 01:33 PM   #4
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The recent water heater thread has me wondering. I know you can buy a wand that you insert where the anode goes to flush debris from the tank. But I'm wondering if you couldn't simply take the anode out and connect to city water and let it rip.
Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?
Glen you can just remove the anode plug then using one of those pistol grip type garden nozzles on the jet setting shoot a half dozen or so shots into the tank, pausing to let the water run out each time. Stop when no more grey goop comes out.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:53 PM   #5
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Sounds reasonable if I'm on target.
My outdoor faucet at the front of the house is installed before the pressure reduction valve, so I get the full force.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:56 PM   #6
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Haven't watched the wand video yet.
I'm going to get around it it, just to see how anybody could make a 14 minute, 13 second video on inserting a wand and turning on the water.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:07 PM   #7
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According to the video, it's much more than just shooting water in and letting it drain. The wand allows you to reach all areas of the tank to scour the scale off the container. About half of the video was how to "sterlize" the water system using white vinegar. The wands are cheap enough, I'm getting one. YMMV
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:16 PM   #8
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Water Heater flushing

The wands are a great way to get the tank clean. I think the guy in the video only descales with vinegar once a year. He also has some good info on the anodes. I didn't know that they have different anodes depending on the chemistry of your water. Apparently if you notice the anode deteriorating too rapidly, you should change it for an Aluminum and Zinc one that lasts longer. I also like the idea of having a spare.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:22 PM   #9
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I have Amazon Prime, just bought the wand. $8.57 and as the guy in the video says, last years. I like the thumb shut off valve. A regular hose attachment may work, but cool.. I get to decide when the water comes on and cleans the hot water tank. YMMV
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:40 PM   #10
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Apparently if you notice the anode deteriorating too rapidly, you should change it for an Aluminum and Zinc one that lasts longer. I also like the idea of having a spare.
I'm still using the original anode that came with the trailer and at the rate it's going, I don't expect to have to replace it any time soon. But, we have soft water here.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:27 PM   #11
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The wands are a great way to get the tank clean. I think the guy in the video only descales with vinegar once a year. He also has some good info on the anodes. I didn't know that they have different anodes depending on the chemistry of your water. Apparently if you notice the anode deteriorating too rapidly, you should change it for an Aluminum and Zinc one that lasts longer. I also like the idea of having a spare.
To me if the anode rod is deteriorating quickly it means the water is very aggressive. Switching to aluminum just gives it a chance to attack the tank instead of the rod.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:15 PM   #12
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That's why it's called a sacrificial metal. It's supposed to corrode, instead of the tank.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:16 PM   #13
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About half of the video was how to "sterlize" the water system using white vinegar.
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I think the guy in the video only descales with vinegar once a year.
I refuse to sit through seemingly endless videos with the same information that would fit in a well-written page that can be read in a minute or two, so I don't know what he really said he was using vinegar for (sterilize, descale, both?). You're not sterilizing anything with vinegar, and I doubt it can even effectively sanitize anything; descaling makes more sense. You might want to just use CLR or a similar consumer descaling product - and rinse thoroughly afterward, of course.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:20 PM   #14
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It was for removing scale. Sanitizing is just cleaning and running the water till its clear.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:21 PM   #15
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My tankless water heater manual says use white vinegar for annual flushing.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:25 PM   #16
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That's why it's called a sacrificial metal. It's supposed to corrode, instead of the tank.
Exactly Glenn. Its supposed to last about a year. Apparently the Magnesium anodes work for most water, but the Aluminum/Zinc ones work in situations where the Magnesium doesn't last the year. I guess you don't really know which is best until you've run the unit with your local water for awhile.

I also like the idea that the zinc in the alloy anode helps remove sulfur smell from the water if you live in an area prone to it.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:37 PM   #17
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Here's mine after 6+ years. I don't know what it is made of. Came with.
Attached Thumbnails
Anode after 6 years.jpg  
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:44 PM   #18
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It was for removing scale. Sanitizing is just cleaning and running the water till its clear.
Thanks. "Sanitizing" usually means killing pathogens, not just washing them out, but I suppose if washing is thorough enough then it is making the tank sanitary.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:50 PM   #19
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I looked this up some time ago. Comes from a home brew site.

Seems to be some confusion between the 2 terms. So, in an effort to
clear it up, here are a couple of definitions to keep in mind:

Sanitize - to render sanitary, or free from elements, such as filth or
pathogens, that endanger health. This does not mean ALL possible
microorganisms, etc, but MOST. Sanitizing does not remove ALL bacteria,
microorganisms, etc.

Sterilize - to render sterile, or to make free from ALL live bacteria or
other microorganisms. Kind of a "total kill" of everything.

Something that is sterilized can also be considered sanitary, but
something that is sanitized is not sterile.

You know. Like a kayak is a canoe, but a canoe may not be a kayak.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:50 PM   #20
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Here's mine after 6+ years. I don't know what it is made of. Came with.
You can rest safe in the knowledge that Vancouver has GOOD water then Glenn. The stock anodes are the magnesium type -- which aren't supposed to last as long. Something tells me our high mineral water isn't going to give the same results.
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