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Identifying a Dirty Gas Water Heater Tank

Your access to clean, hot water in your home relies on a properly functioning water heater. In order to provide you with that clean, hot water, your water heater's tank must be clean. A dirty water heater tank can cause dirty, rusty, or odorous water throughout your home.

How do gas water tanks get dirty?

Over time, your gas water heater can get dirty in one of two ways. First, sediment or minerals may buildup in your tank and leave behind grime or dirt. Second, your water tank may corrode and become rusty. It may be unpleasant, but both of these causes are normal.

How to check for a dirty water heater tank

  • Run the hot water out of one of the faucets in your home, and inspect its appearance. Is it discolored, dirty, or rusty? This could be an issue with your hot water heater tank.

  • Try running the cold water out of the same faucet tap and inspect its appearance. Does the cold water also appear dirty, discolored, or rusty? If it does, then this issue is likely unrelated to your hot water heater and may instead be an issue with another part of your plumbing system, such as your supply lines or pipes.

  • Once you've confirmed that it's only the hot water that appears dirty, run the faucet again and inspect it more closely. Would you describe its appearance as more dirty/discolored or rusty?

    If you would describe it as rusty, you've likely got a corroded water tank on your hands. If you would describe it as dirty or discolored, you likely have mineral, sediment, or dirt buildup in your hot water heater tank. You'll need to flush out the tank to drain the sedmiment.

If this didn't get to the bottom of the issue, check out other causes of hot water heater leaks.

What To Do If Your Water Tank is Dirty?

The process required to fix a dirty water heater tank depends on the type of "dirty" you are dealing with. If your tank has sediment or mineral buildup, all it needs is a good water heater tank flushing!

However, if you have a corroded water tank on your hands, this is a much bigger issue that will require a part or system replacement. You can reach out to a Remote Assist expert for a virtual diagnosis to see what the best option is for you.

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

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