Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Water from Water Heaters

Many of us have been lead to believe that we have a drinking water source within our home water heaters. This may or may not be true!

I have experience with drawing water from my water heater and it wasn’t pleasant. Water heaters collect minerals and they settle at the bottom of the tank in large amounts, this is the same place/level your hose bib valve is located. Water heaters need at least annual maintenance of draining and flushing the water from them to remove the collection of settled mineral deposits.

My experience was when I drained the water for use. It was cloudy and loaded with flakes from mineral deposits that needed to be filtered before use. Depending if you have an aluminum anode inside, some of the water may have a jelly like slim that comes out. Don’t drink it or try to filter this slim as it will plug your filter.

Another issue was the plastic hose drain valve would not completely shut-off after it was opened so a typical brass bib had to be installed. This replacement valve may be difficult to buy during an emergency. There are also cases when the plastic valve simply breaks off trying to open it.

Bottom line; if you are depending on your water heater for a drinking water source you may want to consider the following:
• Replace the plastic hose drain valve with a brass valve.
• Raise your water heater off the floor high enough so a pitcher will fit under the valve for filling.
• If you can’t raise the water heater off the floor then make up in advance, a short length (about 2 feet) of dedicated use garden hose to allow easy filling of a water pitcher.
• Drain and flush the water heater every six months.
• Remember to turn off the electric or gas before draining or servicing.

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