Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

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Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

Any homeowner will reckon with the fact that water heaters are valuable gadgets in the home.

These are the ones that will provide water for the kitchens, bathrooms and scores of other uses.

But the question any homeowner may want to be answered is, will vinegar damage a hot water heater? No. Vinegar will not damage a hot water heater.

Under normal circumstances, the use of vinegar may not damage your water heater since it is made of stainless steel.

However, this needs to be done with extra carefulness. Read on to know more.

The use of a compromised water heater can cost you thousands of dollars in repair bills. It can also negatively impact the health of family members at home.

There are many forms of maintaining a hot water heater, and the use of vinegar has gained momentum over the years.

However, a water heater will only provide such services if it is well maintained. Without proper maintenance of water heaters, they are vulnerable to rust and leaks.

These can occasion significant damage and hazards to any home. Many people believe that flooding is the only risk related to water heaters.

Unfortunately, other serious dangers accompany poor uses of water heaters. 

A slow leak can see your utility bill triple due to the wasted water that continues to fill the tank.

The water heater will also continue heating the new water, and that means more electric power wastage.

Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

The resultant effect on your bills will be frustrating. Therefore it is important to ensure that the functioning of your water heater is perfect.

What Causes Water Heaters To Fail?

The leading cause of hot water failures is an excess accumulation of minerals found in the water. These prevent the hot water heater from functioning well.

The accumulated minerals make the inner wall resistant hence reducing its performance. 

An accumulation of lime and calcium in the inner walls of the water heater reduces its efficiency. As a consequence, its ability to heat the water well is greatly reduced.

Can I Use Vinegar To Clean A Water Heater?

When the pipes in your water heater get clogged, the water heater cannot dispense its functions well. Consequently, your monthly bill will rise.

As a consequence, you will need to be extra careful when you are using a water heater. You might be asking, how do I clean my water heater with vinegar? Read on to know more.

A straightforward answer to this question would be yes. Cleaning a water heater is extremely crucial.

Vinegar is the most widely used substance for cleaning water heaters.

There are two ways of cleaning a hot water heater with vinegar. These are; spot cleaning and deep cleaning.

Both types of cleaning have different requirements and procedures.

First, if you go for a spot cleaning, there are several things you need to do.

The first thing you will need to do is mix a reasonable quantity of water with an equal amount of vinegar.

After this, you will need to spray the mixture in your water tank. After this, rub the tank with a piece of clean cloth but do not rinse.

On the other hand, you may want to clean your hot water heater deep.

In this case, there will be a need to have all the water in the tank emptied and then the tank half-filled with vinegar.

Wait for thirty minutes, and then pour the vinegar out. After this, scrape the sides of the water tank to ensure that all buildup in the tank is removed.

After doing this, it will be time to wipe and rinse the tank.

Although vinegar is an acid, it is very weak that you can even take it without any harm to your body. Vinegar has been consumed by humanity for ages without any side effect.

However, this is not the case when it comes to minerals.

Vinegar is strong enough to deal with mineral deposits in your water heater and remove them, restoring the proper functionality of your water heater.

It dissolves the mineral buildup in the water heater within a short time. You can use vinegar once every year to clean mineral buildup in your water heater.

However, if you use hard water always, you will need to repeat the procedure several times a year.

What Other Chemicals Can I Use To Clean My Water Heater?

Without much regard to the kind of water heater you might have,

There will be an occasional buildup of minerals that need to be removed before they tamper with the proper functioning of your water heater.

Although mineral buildup is the most significant cause of poor water heater functionality, there are other buildups in the tank.

Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

Indeed, bacteria can start growing inside the wall of the tank. To prevent this chemical and mineral buildup, you need to clean the water heater regularly.

After you turn off the water heater, you can add the chemicals of your choice; as per the recommended list of chemicals that can be used, you wash a water heater.

Apart from vinegar, you can opt to use lye. The widespread use of lye in cleaning many things does not leave out your water tank.

Once put into the tank, lye will dissolve all the salts that have settled at the bottom of the tank.

The only precaution to be taken is to ensure that you use pure lye only to eradicate the possibility of some chemicals interacting inside the tank with adverse results.

Have the tank drained and add a cup of lye. After adding a few water gallons, let it sit for a few hours.

After this, you will need to drain the tank and put some vinegar and water to neutralize the dangerous lye and make it safe.

You can drain and repeat the process and then refill your tank.

On the other hand, you can also use hydrogen peroxide if there is a smell in your tank. A rotten eggs’ smell means that there are bacteria in your tank.

To kill these bacteria, you will need to use a household chemical, hydrogen peroxide. This should be the diluted one that you can buy in a drug store.

You will need to drain some water from the heater to ensure that you have room for a pint or two of hydrogen peroxide.

After this, pour hydrogen peroxide, which kills bacteria.

Note that hydrogen peroxide will be harmful to human beings as it will be neutralized by the water.

Will My Water Heater Damage My Carpet?

The vulnerability of carpets to long term exposure to water is great. Indeed, long term exposure to water dramatically reduces the lifespan of your carpet.

This is not the same as the clean water that may spill on your carpet and evaporate in a day or two.

Such water may not cause any damage due to the short time it takes to evaporate and the fact that it is clean.

On the other hand, a leaking water heater is a continual source of water that does not cease and therefore cannot dry. This means that your carpet will be continually wet.

If this condition is not rectified within a short time, the part of the carpet in contact with the water will be damaged.

This will call for a replacement that would have been avoided if the leak was addressed or avoided in the first place.

Sadly, replacing the carpet does not solve the problem, and it may be a continual process that will translate into great losses with time.

The only thing to do is first to repair the water heater leaks to ensure that there is no more water leakage.

What Happens When A Water Heater Bursts?

Water heaters made of glass and oil can easily burst under certain conditions. The heat on a glass and oil-water heater is applied on the outside on naked steel.

This is at the bottom of the tank. Therefore, the scale builds on the glass lining found inside the tank.

Continued scale buildup increases the vulnerability to steam explosions.

If the scale is substantially great, the steam inside the tank will make the glass explode. As known to many, steam is very powerful, and its force can hardly strike in a single direction.

Indeed, the steam will spread in all directions. Regardless of the type of water heater in your home, you need to eradicate the possibility of scale forming in the tank.

Although when a water tank bursts, it causes an annoying spill on the floor, there can be more damage than that.

When the water spills, it can easily seep into floorboards, get under carpets, get into cracks in the baseboard, and more.

Additionally, if the water gets under the flooring, it will warp the wood and cause great damage. Indeed, the warped wood or timber will need to be replaced.

Again, if water gets behind the walls, the wooden studs and the support system may be warped as well. This will call for a costly replacement.

Additionally, whatever comes into contact with the water, like the drywall, will be damaged.

Other items in the house can also be damaged by the water. However, the greatest danger presented by water heater leakage is mold.

How Does A Water Heater Cause Mold?

A poorly maintained water heater can release water to undesired places and surfaces.

The continued presence of undesired water on the wrong surfaces will increase the moisture content of the air.

This presents a perfect breeding environment for mold. Mold, a living organism, clings to dry walls and wood. Its growth is very robust and tremendous.

If the mold is not checked on time, it will damage your walls within a short time.

Additionally, it can destroy the support system of your house and the flooring as well.

The worst-case scenario is when mold releases allergens to the air that cause allergies when breathed in the home.

This is occasioned by the properties contained in the mold, which are released in the atmosphere as it grows.

Spotting Water Heater Damage

For you to be able to spot and also address water damage is to ensure that you do regular inspections on your water heater unit.

Once you schedule a check every month, it will be easy to notice any potential problems with your water heater and address them in good time.

As you inspect the water heater unit, pay keen attention to any dripping water. Be more cautious if the water is dripping from the connections to the unit.

In addition to this, ensure that you monitor any buildup of rust on your water heater as well as the pipes connecting to the unit.

Will Vinegar Damage A Hot Water Heater? 

Lastly, notice and address any likelihood of high water pressure. You will have to ensure that the water pressure doesn’t go beyond 80 psi as it may cause bursting.


When it comes to cleaning a water heater, vinegar is the most widely used.

The reason behind this is that vinegar comes as the safest substance that can remove mineral buildup and restore the function of your water heater.

When you use vinegar to clean your water heater, there is nothing to fear about damaging your water heater.

However, it is good to ensure that you take due caution when performing the procedure. Without due diligence, it may not be possible to realize the desired results.

Understandably, your water heater unit requires regular maintenance. If you carry out routine maintenance, you will prevent leakage.

Without any leaks to your walls and carpet, you will have eliminated the possibility of incurring unnecessary costs in flooring and carpeting.

But if you have already discovered damage that has been caused by your water heater,

have the water checked and call a qualified professional to assess the damage on your flooring and walls for repair.


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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