How To Clean a Hot Water Heater with CLR

Don’t be surprised when you see your water heater with so many mineral deposits. Every time water is passing through it, the water leaves mineral stains. Overtime, these stains build up, covering the heater. This should not be a problem if the mineral deposit is completely safe. But it is not. It can post harm to your health and the environment. Cleaning it with a CLR solution will be a very effective way to remove the mineral deposits. The only problem is you have to use this solution rightly.

CLR or Calcium Lime Rust is a strong cleaning agent that dissolves stains like iron oxide deposits. Below are the steps to follow when cleaning a hot water heater with CLR:

  • Turn off heater. Disconnect the heater’s power supply by turning it off at the device’s breaker box. You don’t want someone to switch it on while you are cleaning the heater, so, better mask it off. The water inlet pipe should also be disconnected.
  • Drain water. Attach a hose to the heater’s drain valve. The other end of the hose should be in a basin, which will collect the hot water. Unscrew the line for water supply before you open the valve. The hot water should be draining by now. Wait until all the water is drained before you close the drain valve.
  • Pour the CLR. Slowly pour the CLR cleaner into the heater’s inlet pipe. Pour one cup of this solution at a time to prevent overflowing. Keep on pouring until the inlet pipe is almost full.
  • Wait until the CLR is neutralized. It will take about five hours for the CLR to clean up the mineral deposits. Better be sure by checking it from time to time. After about three hours, dip a plastic bag in the CLR solution. The plastic will inflate if CLR is still working in the inlet pipe. CLR is already neutralized if the plastic bag did not inflate.
  • Rinse. Reconnect the inlet pipe and then open the drain valve. Rinse the heater by running some water through the heater over and over again. Do this for about 10 minutes. Close the drain valve after rinsing.
  • Check faucets. Turn the faucet on and start filling the heater. Soapy water should be exiting the faucet. Let the water flow freely until it is free of bubbles. Check other hot water faucets, too. Turn on all the faucets for hot water. Let the water to freely run through these faucets until there is no more gargling.
  • Turn on. The heater can now be used normally. But before turning it on, make sure that the outlet and inlet connections are well secured.

It is normal to see some bubbles after several days of cleaning the heater. Don’t worry when this happens because CLR has been neutralized when you turned on the heater again.

Experts recommend cleaning of water heaters every month. CLR can still be used but you are free to choose other cleaning solutions. The important thing is that the water passing through the heater is always safe.


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