The benefits of a self-cleaning hot water heater include a reduction in sediment buildup and active leak prevention. Self-cleaning hot water heaters also help to maintain the available water tank storage space over the life of the appliance.
In a self-cleaning hot water heater, the dip tube supplies cold tap water into the bottom of the tank, and it has an attachment that creates a whirlpool effect on incoming water. The water turbulence prevents sediment from settling and gathering, and the loosened sediment flushes out with the hot water, which prevents buildup on the tank’s glass-lined walls and bottom. Without the self-cleaning element, sediment builds up in the water heater’s tank, reducing the available storage space for hot water. Sediment also wears away at the tank’s lining, welds and connections, which causes rust and leaks.
Sediment also accumulates on the heating elements, which makes them less effective in maintaining the water’s temperature. The underperforming heating elements need more electricity to heat the water, which can lead to higher energy costs.
Corrosion from lime scale and sediments is the main reason hot water heaters fail and need replacing. Draining and flushing the tank once a year helps prevent sediment buildup and extends the life of hot water heaters without a self-cleaning feature. Installing a water softener can also reduce buildup caused by hard water.