Your water heater can easily last for over 10 years with proper and careful maintenance. Learning how to go about vinegar and hot water cleaning is among the best-kept secrets on how to achieve just that. This post gives you a comprehensive run-through on how to clean your hot water heater with vinegar no matter what its type is.
Can I use vinegar to clean my hot water heater
Yes, you can use vinegar for cleaning your hot water heater. The water heater takes on the job of heating the water in your house that you use for showering, cleaning, and cooking. Unfortunately, the water coming into your house is filled with chemicals, minerals, and sediments.
The buildups in the inner surfaces of the water heater tanks can prevent effective heating of water. Lime and calcium formations are quite notorious in water heaters and may result in clogging of pipes when not treated immediately with vinegar.
What kind of vinegar to clean water heater
You can use apple cider vinegar or food-grade white vinegar for cleaning the water heater. The acetic content of vinegar makes it a very versatile type of liquid. Vinegar is a jack of all trades that you can use not only for cooking but also as antiseptic and so much more. When used for cleaning, vinegar’s acetic acid content breaks down the organic compounds like grease and grime that make it one of the best cleaning agents.
Tankless water heater descaler vs vinegar
Which solution between tankless water heater descaler and vinegar works best may depend on specific circumstances. If your tankless water heater hasn’t been flushed for the past few years, and you happen to be living in a hard water area, a descaler may be your best option.
Vinegar, on the other hand, is best used if you do regular flushing once every year. Doing this can give you great results. Vinegar is also cheaper than a descaler, which means that even if you need to descale more often while using vinegar, you will be able to save money.
The choice between these two all boils down to the amount of lime that you need to remove from your tankless water heater, as well as your time and your money.
How much vinegar to clean hot water heater
You need to pour a minimum of four gallons of vinegar into your water heater to clean it.
How long does it take for vinegar to sterilize hot water heater
It may take 24 hours for vinegar to sterilize your water heater.
Will vinegar damage a hot water heater
Using vinegar will not damage your water heater under normal circumstances because this is made of stainless steel. But it is still important to be extra careful.
How to clean rv hot water heater with vinegar
- Turn the water supply off and drain the water heater tank completely.
- Put back the drain plug and take off the pressure-temperature relief valve.
- Prepare the vinegar and water mixture, with 1 part water and 2 parts vinegar.
- Use a funnel to pour the mixture into the tank.
- Run the water heater normally four to five times when the mixture is still inside.
- Drain the water heater afterward.
- Flush the water heater after draining the heater thoroughly to get rid of sediments.
- Remove the water completely from the unit using air pressure from the pressure-temperature valve.
- Freshwater flush can also be done.
- Flush the water for a while to get rid of the deposits.
- Replace the relief valve and drain plug.
How to clean electric hot water heater with vinegar
- Refer to the manual of your tank to know how to take off the anode rod.
- Put the funnel in the hole where you take off the anode rode. Pour not over 4 gallons of vinegar through the funnel into the water heater tank.
- Put the anode rod back and turn on the supply of cold water once again to refill the tank Allow the water infused with vinegar to sit in the tank for 24 hours. This is enough time for the acidity of the vinegar to work and get rid of the sediment.
- Proceed to the flushing and draining process to remove both the vinegar as well as the dissolved sediments from your water heater.
How to clean a tankless hot water heater with vinegar
Just because you have a tankless water heater doesn’t mean that it is no longer prone to the collection of minerals and sediment. The only difference is the fact that, as its name suggests, a tankless hot water heater doesn’t store water and instead, it heats water on demand.
This is why learning the right way of cleaning your tankless water heater using vinegar requires you to know the whole process of guiding out and pumping water into the system.
Follow these steps on how to do it properly:
- Before you start, make sure you switch off the power of your heater as well as the gas if the heater uses it.
- You can use an electrical tester that requires no contact to determine if you have already disconnected the electricity from your tankless hot water heater. It is a form of safety measure that will let you know if you incorrectly shut off a different switch in the circuit breaker. Proceed to the next steps once you are sure that the electricity has been turned off.
- Turn the water supply off leading directly to the tankless heater.
- Unlike water heaters with tanks, an important part of the process of flushing a tankless heater is introducing water into it. You will use two hoses for this. The first one will connect the unit with the pump that will push in the water, while the second one will connect to an isolation valve that catches the water once it leaves the tank.
- Pour vinegar into a 5-gallon bucket and put the pump inside together with the second hose’s open tip.
- Allow the pump to run continuously for one hour. A loop will give chance for the pump to run through the vinegar in the tankless heater. The acidity of the vinegar and the constant flow must be adequately strong for getting rid of any sediment buildup in the heater.
- You can leave the tip of the second house in the bucket that should be empty of vinegar by now. Allow cold water to run through the tank to the bucket within 5 minutes before you shut off the supply of cold water.
- Disconnect the hoses, replace the panel, reactivate the water supply valves, and restore the unit’s electricity as the final step.
How to flush tankless water heater with vinegar
- Clean the location of your tankless water heater to have enough room to work in. Switch off the unit’s electricity and gas or unplug the unit from the outlet instead.
- Close off the isolation valves to both sides of the unit then hook up the hoses to the hose bibs. These screw on similar to a garden hose. Place the hoses’ ends in the bucket for catching any water that will flow out. Turn on the valves where you connected the hoses to allow a few cups of water to come up. Take off the filter screen and run it under cold water for cleaning. Put back the filter screen and ensure that you don’t overtighten to avoid any damages.
- Empty the bucket of any water. Attach the hose from the water heater’s cold supply side to the submersible pump and put it inside the bucket. You can now pour vinegar into the bucket then turn on the pump by plugging it into the electrical outlet. The pump must start running and vinegar should come out of the water heater’s hot water hose side going back to the bucket. Allow the pump to recirculate the vinegar for 2 to 4 hours. You can wipe down the water heater and remove any dirt and spider webs in the utility room while waiting for the process to complete.
- After the pump recirculated vinegar for 2 to 4 hours, you can now unplug the pump then disconnect the hose from it to allow the vinegar to drain out of your water heater. Get rid of the vinegar but make sure you don’t dump it on your lawn if you don’t want your grass to die.
- With the hoses still in the bucket, you can slowly turn the cold water supply valve on and to approximately ¼ way to flush out the vinegar from the hoses and the water heater. Turning on the water supply fully open will only lead to a mess you need to clean up. Turn off the cold water and take off the filter screen once again to clean it under some running water. Slowly turn on the water supply once again to open it to about ¼ way. Put back the filter screen. Turn off the valve on the two hoses while water still runs out of the hoses to stop the water flow and prevent air from getting inside the water heater. You can now completely turn open the cold supply valve as well as the hot supply to your house. Check your sink and run the faucet’s hot water side to remove any trapped air in the line. You can do this for 1 minute.
- Switch on the gas supply and plug back the unit to the outlet before turning on the power. The unit might need to go through a startup procedure before it produces any hot water. You can refer to the owner’s manual to know the unit’s startup procedure. You can now fill water into the bucket halfway then run the sump pump to remove any vinegar from the pump and empty the bucket. Dry the hoses, pump, and bucket and put them inside a plastic bag to store them and keep them clean for your water heater’s next vinegar flush.
How to remove calcium buildup in water heater
- Check the water heater first to check if there are calcium deposits inside or if it is only sediment.
- Turn off the cold water supply and the heater.
- Put the water hose to the drain valve then keep away the rest of the hose where it is safe for hot water to exit.
- Open the drain valve to look for large or small white particles that indicate calcium deposits.
- Disconnect the cold water inlet pipe that can often be found on the upper part of the heater to allow air inside it.
- Close off the drain after making sure that the tank is empty.
- Pour one gallon of vinegar, tile cleaner, acidic tub, or other types of commercial lime cleaners one cup at a time into the cold water inlet pipe. Make sure to pause after every cup to prevent gas buildup.
- Drain the tank after several hours. The cleaner you used must have already dissolved most or all of the calcium deposits. Use a small plastic bag then wrap the cold water inlet pipe tightly with this to know if the cleaner is still working. Wait for a while if the bag inflates since it indicates that the cleaner is still getting rid of the deposits.
- Flush the water heater by connecting the cold water inlet pipe, turning on the heater, and opening the cold water inlet valve. Turn on the hot water faucet closest to the heater then close off the drain to allow the heater to fill. Open the drain once the water starts to come out of the faucet and allow the heater to rinse.
- Close off the drain only after the water has started to run clear with no bubbles at all. Turn on all the hot water faucets to remove any air from the heater before turning it back on.