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Thread: Greenish sludgy stuff in water heater tank

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  1. #1

    Default Greenish sludgy stuff in water heater tank

    Hi all, Great forum, lot's of knowledgeble info floating around. It has helped me a great deal in my homeowner maintenance quests.
    Well, today I drained the tank to replace the gas control valve. While I had the tank drained, I decided to replace the anode rod. Of course, I shut off the natural gas, water supply, and electric before I got started.

    After draining the water tank, I removed the anode rod. All that was left was a bare wire. Glad I decided to check it.

    After removing the gas valve, which also threads into the tank for the thermistor, I noticed quite a bit of greenish sludge in the tank. It had the consistency of whipped cream, light and flluffy. There appears to be quite a lot of it in the tank. It even was all over the thermistor probe.

    What's is this stuff and how do I remove it?

  2. #2
    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
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    Sounds like sediment. Most times it is not rock hard material but soft and almost slimy. Bluish green color. Need to flush the tank.
    I just post cuz I like to see my avatar.

  3. #3

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    Thanks, A Wet-N-Dry Vacuum and numerous flushes pretty much cleaned it out.

    After cleaning, I aimed a flashlight down the anode-rod-hole to illuminate the bottom of the tank as I looked in through hole at the bottom. Lo and behold, the old anode rod (or what was left of it) is lying on the bottom. I guess it dislodged from the wire-core as it aged. I tried to remove it but it was too difficult, (since I was working through the 1" hole)

    Is this old anode rod ok to just lie on the bottom of the tank? I hope so.

    Anyway, I installed the gas valve/thermostat, the new anode rod, and re-installed the blower. Reconnected the gas line, turned on the gas, and did a few snoop checks. Everything checked out, and I'm back in business.

  4. #4
    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
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    One of these might have done the trick:


    Good luck to ya.
    I just post cuz I like to see my avatar.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That sounds like what an old anode rod looks like before it becomes a bare wire. You probably scraped it off while removing the anode rod. A gas heater control does not have a thermistor, it has an Invar rod. But if you went to the trouble of completely disassembling the water heater, you would have been better off just replacing it.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking funky--- nasty stuff

    I have seen lots of the stuff you are talking about...

    I have always wondered about it...

    considering that this sludge has to boil and bubble to be able to heat the water....it sort of makes a stew.....

    it makes me wonder if these sediments or heavy metals
    that boil in the bottom of the heater could cause different skin diseases????

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