How To Remove Calcium Buildup In Water Heater?

To remove calcium buildup in a water heater, drain the tank and use a descaling solution to dissolve the deposits. Water heaters often accumulate calcium deposits, which can decrease efficiency and affect the lifespan of the appliance.

These deposits form when hard water minerals, like calcium and magnesium, settle and solidify on the interior surfaces of the tank. If left unaddressed, the buildup can lead to reduced heating capacity and higher energy consumption. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to tackle this issue.

By draining the tank and using a descaling solution, you can effectively dissolve and remove the calcium deposits, restoring the efficiency and longevity of your water heater. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to remove calcium buildup and ensure the optimal performance of your water heater.

How To Remove Calcium Buildup In Water Heater?


Understanding Calcium Buildup In Water Heaters

Calcium buildup in water heaters is a common issue that many homeowners face. Over time, the minerals present in hard water, especially calcium and magnesium, can accumulate inside the water heater tank. This can cause various problems that affect the performance and efficiency of the water heater.

In this section, we will delve deeper into what calcium buildup is, why it occurs, the effects it has on water heaters, and how to identify if your water heater has calcium buildup.

What Is Calcium Buildup And Why Does It Occur?

  • Calcium buildup, also known as limescale, is the accumulation of calcium carbonate and other minerals on the surfaces of the water heater tank and heating elements.
  • It occurs when hard water is heated, causing the minerals present in the water to precipitate and stick to the inner surfaces of the tank and components.
  • Calcium buildup is more common in areas with hard water, which contains higher levels of minerals.

The Effects Of Calcium Buildup On Water Heaters

  • Decreased efficiency: The presence of calcium buildup insulates the heating elements, reducing their ability to transfer heat efficiently. This can lead to longer heating times and increased energy consumption.
  • Reduced lifespan: Calcium buildup can corrode the tank and other components, shortening the overall lifespan of the water heater.
  • Poor water flow: The accumulation of minerals can block pipes and restrict water flow, leading to low water pressure and reduced performance.
  • Unpleasant taste and odor: As calcium buildup affects the heating elements, it can cause a metallic taste or strange odor in the water.
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How To Identify If Your Water Heater Has Calcium Buildup

  • Visual inspection: Check for any visible signs of mineral deposits, such as white or yellowish scaling on the outside of the water heater tank or heating elements.
  • Poor performance: If you notice a decrease in hot water production or it takes longer for the water to heat up, it could indicate the presence of calcium buildup.
  • Unusual noises: A popping or knocking sound coming from the water heater may suggest calcium buildup, as it disrupts the heating process.
  • Fluctuating water temperature: If the water temperature from your water heater fluctuates or is inconsistent, it could be due to calcium buildup affecting the heating elements.

Remember, calcium buildup can cause various problems in water heaters, so it’s important to address the issue promptly. In the next section, we will discuss effective methods to remove calcium buildup and prevent its recurrence. Stay tuned!

Diy Methods To Remove Calcium Buildup

Flushing the water heater:

  • To begin removing calcium buildup from your water heater, follow these steps:
  • Step 1: Turn off the water heater and allow it to cool down.
  • Step 2: Shut off the water and gas supply to the heater.
  • Step 3: Connect a hose to the drain valve of the heater and position the other end in a drain or bucket.
  • Step 4: Open the drain valve, allowing the water and calcium deposits to flush out.
  • Step 5: Once the flushing is complete, close the drain valve, remove the hose, and restore the water and gas supply.

Vinegar soak:

  • Another effective diy method is using vinegar to dissolve calcium buildup:
  • Step 1: Turn off the water heater and allow it to cool down completely.
  • Step 2: Shut off the water and gas supply to the heater.
  • Step 3: Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a bucket.
  • Step 4: Connect a hose to the drain valve and place the other end in the bucket containing the vinegar solution.
  • Step 5: Open the drain valve and pour the vinegar solution into the water heater.
  • Step 6: Let the vinegar solution sit in the water heater for several hours or overnight.
  • Step 7: Close the drain valve, remove the hose, and turn on the water and gas supply.

Using a descaler product:

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  • If you prefer a ready-made solution, using a descaler product is a convenient option:
  • Step 1: Select and purchase a descaler product specifically designed for removing calcium buildup in water heaters.
  • Step 2: Turn off the water heater and allow it to cool down.
  • Step 3: Shut off the water and gas supply to the heater.
  • Step 4: Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on how to use the descaler product.
  • Step 5: Once the recommended time has passed, flush out the descaler solution according to the instructions provided.
  • Step 6: Close the drain valve, remove the hose, and turn on the water and gas supply, ensuring that the water heater is ready for normal operation.

By following these diy methods, you can effectively remove calcium buildup from your water heater, ensuring its optimal performance and longevity.

Preventing Calcium Buildup In Water Heaters

Regular Maintenance And Cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to prevent calcium buildup in water heaters. By following these steps, you can ensure the longevity and efficiency of your water heater:

  • Schedule regular flushing of the water heater: Flushing your water heater once or twice a year helps remove sediment and mineral deposits that can lead to calcium buildup. This process involves draining the tank to remove any accumulated debris and sediment.
  • Use a water softener to prevent calcium buildup: Installing a water softener can significantly reduce the formation of calcium deposits. Water softeners work by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions, preventing scale buildup in the water heater.
  • Install a sediment filter in the water supply line: Sediment filters can help trap particles before they reach your water heater. By removing sediment and debris from the incoming water, you can minimize the chances of calcium buildup.
  • Consider using a water conditioner or anti-scalant: Water conditioners and anti-scalants are chemical additives that can help prevent the formation of calcium deposits. These additives alter the properties of the water, making it less likely for minerals to adhere to the surfaces of the water heater.

Adjusting The Water Heater Temperature

Properly adjusting the temperature of your water heater can also play a role in preventing calcium buildup. Follow these steps to optimize the temperature settings:

  • Determine the recommended temperature setting for your water heater: Different water heaters have different recommended temperature settings. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult a professional to determine the optimal temperature range for your specific model.
  • Adjust the temperature to prevent excessive mineral buildup: Lowering the water heater temperature can reduce the rate at which minerals, including calcium, precipitate out of the water. By setting the temperature within the recommended range, you can minimize the risk of calcium buildup.
  • Monitor and adjust the temperature as needed: Regularly check the water heater temperature and make adjustments if necessary. Factors such as the hardness of your water and your usage patterns might require periodic changes to maintain an optimal temperature.
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Consulting A Professional

In some cases, calcium buildup may be severe or persistent, requiring professional assistance. Follow these steps when considering professional help:

  • If diy methods do not work or if you are unsure, consult a professional plumber: A professional plumber has the expertise to assess the extent of the calcium buildup and determine the best course of action. They can also advise on proper maintenance practices.
  • A professional can assess the extent of the calcium buildup and recommend the best solution: Sometimes, calcium buildup may require more advanced solutions, such as descaling treatments or the replacement of specific components. A professional will be able to provide the most appropriate advice based on your situation.
  • Follow the plumber’s advice for maintenance and prevention of future calcium buildup: Once the issue is addressed, diligently follow the plumber’s instructions for maintenance and prevention. Proper care and regular inspections are vital to ensure the long-term health of your water heater and to minimize calcium buildup in the future.


Removing calcium buildup in your water heater is crucial for maintaining its efficiency and prolonging its lifespan. By following the steps outlined you can effectively remove and prevent calcium deposits from causing damage to your appliance. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank, descaling with vinegar or citric acid, and using a water softener, will help alleviate calcium buildup and keep your water heater running smoothly.

Remember to disconnect power before performing any maintenance and consult a professional if you are unsure or uncomfortable with diy methods. With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your water heater continues to provide hot water efficiently for years to come.

So, don’t neglect the importance of removing calcium buildup and keep your water heater in top shape.


I am a mechanical engineer and love doing research on different home and outdoor heating options. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy blogging about my findings and helping others to find the best heating options for their needs.