How To Clean Sediment Out Of A Water Line

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If there’s one thing plumbers hate, it’s sediment. Sediment in your water line will cause your boiler to act out, increase the chances of clogging, and even change the flavor of your water. Most people assume they can’t actually do anything about sediment buildup but this isn’t very true. It’s possible to lean your sediment out of your water line and reduce the impact it has on plumbing.

To clean sediment out of your water line, remove any aerators in your faucets and then turn multiple lines on at full force. The force of the water will push out most sediment, particularly if you have a clog. If that doesn’t work, turn other water lines on. Professional cleanings are also available.

Cleaning sediment out of a water line is a must if you want to make sure that your plumbing stays strong and remains usable for years to come. This guide will tell you what you need to know about removing your sediment.

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How Can You Tell If You Need To Get Rid Of Sediment From Your Water Lines?

Most of the time, sediment won’t build-up to the point that you need to go out of your way to clean your water lines. However, there are some signs that you might be overdue for a cleaning. You should clean them out if any of the following sentences are true:

  • You’ve had the water run yellow or brown. This isn’t always a sediment issue, but it is a sign that you should flush out your line if at all possible. Yellow and brown water can be indicative of a sewage leak, a bad boiler, or excess sediment. It also could be a sign of a disturbance in your plumbing.
  • The plumbing has been a little sluggish lately. Has water been draining rather slowly? Does it take ages to make your bathtub water-free? This suggests that you might have a clog or a sediment buildup. You will need to rule out buildup before you call a plumber to snake your drain.
  • The water tastes funny. While this could be due to a bad water treatment center, certain types of sediment can also cause foul-tasting water. Some types of sediment may also impart a strange smell to the water. For example, if you have sulfur sediment in your plumbing, you might get a whiff of rotten eggs when you drink water.
  • You can’t help but notice that the water pressure hasn’t been its best. Draggy water pressure that keeps getting worse is a clear sign of sediment buildup.

Should You Call A Professional To Clean Sediment Out Of Your Water Line?

In most situations, getting rid of sediment is a simple process. However, there are going to be moments where you may need to call a professional. You should consider it if your pipes are severely clogged, or if you are concerned that you have worse problems than simple sediment issues.

If you feel like the sediment issue is primarily a hot water problem, then you might want to call a plumber. Rinsing out hot water from a line that goes through the boiler can be difficult and may also pose a risk to the boiler if done incorrectly.

How Often Do You Need To Clean Sediment Out Of Your Water Line?

There’s no real set schedule for a sediment cleaning, simply because different municipalities will have different levels of sediment in the water systems. This is part of the reason why water tastes different everywhere you go. It’s a good idea to try to do a clean out once every 18 to 24 months at the very least.

If you live in an area that’s known for having high water sediment, then you should consider doing it more frequently. Moreover, if you are concerned that sediment is harming your boiler, hot water lines, or other property, you should consider doing a more thorough cleaning. Asking a local plumber for advice usually helps.

The Easiest Way To Clean Sediment Out Of Your Water Line

Water will always get sediment in it, even if you use a water softener. Thankfully, cleaning out your water lines is relatively easy as long as you don’t have *too* much sediment stuck in there. Here’s how to do it:

  • Look for any water filters attached to your faucets. If you have a filter attached to your kitchen faucet, place a towel over the drain to prevent it from falling in, then remove the filter. Place the filters and water aerators aside, making sure that you remember how they go back in.
  • If you have aerators, flush them out with water. Sometimes, the sediment clogs are all in faucet aerators. To get rid of the grit here, just flush out the aerators with water. Set them aside on a paper towel to dry.
  • Remove any towels from drain areas, and turn on a minimum of three faucets at full blast on cold. Sure, you could do this with warm water, but that’s more expensive and can overload the boiler.
  • Wait for 20 to 25 minutes as the water shoots through your faucets. Your water should run clean sooner rather than later. Continue to run until the water runs clear.
  • If you still notice buildup, then open up a couple more water lines. Sometimes, you might even need to turn on your outside garden hose to get the water lines freed up.
  • Once the water runs clean, replace the water filters (and aerators) on your sink. This will conclude your sediment cleaning. If you feel like it’s time to replace your water filter with a new one, do so at this point. It’ll help delay the next time you’ll need to flush out your lines.

Does Having Sediment In Your Water Line Harm Your Plumbing?

One of the reasons why people choose to do sediment cleanouts is because of the effect sediment has on your plumbing. In small amounts, it won’t harm your plumbing. In larger amounts, you may experience clogs, a foul taste in your water, as well as a higher chance of having plumbing failure.

Homes that are older in age (such as historic homes) are more prone to leaks, pipe bursts, and other plumbing problems as a result of sediment buildup. If you have a historic home, you should make a point of asking a plumber what will be necessary to maintain your plumbing properly.

How Much Does A Professional Sediment Flush Cost?

For the most part, getting sediment out of your water lines isn’t something a plumber usually does…unless it’s getting rid of sediment in a boiler. A professional boiler flush will cost between $100 and $200 per session, and is generally advised as the only way to clean out a boiler.

If you need to have your water lines made sediment-free by a professional, expect to pay between $50 to $200 per session. This is the general price they’ll ask for an inspection, and many plumbers might add it as a free service alongside your inspection. With that said, you shouldn’t have to go this route for a cold water cleaning.

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Related Questions

What are the best pipes for a new water line?

Most people agree that copper piping is the best material for water lines. Copper is one of the most resilient metals, and won’t make a huge impact on the taste of the water. They also resist corrosion, don’t have temperature-related problems, and have ample anti-microbial properties that make them ideal for drinking water.

Is sediment in water safe?

For the most part, you shouldn’t get concerned about water contaminated by sediment. Most sediment is totally safe for humans, especially when it comes to the small quantities you typically will find in water. If you are still concerned about your health when it comes to your water, it’s best to get a high-grade water filter for your faucets—like the ones from Brita.

Why do I get sediment in my pipes?

Sediment can happen for a wide variety of reasons. The most common deals with rust in iron pipes. When rust forms, it will most likely get swept up into the water lines as sediment. Sediment can also happen from dust leaks as well as mishaps with water filtration systems. Thankfully, it’s possible to deep clean your water lines and remove any sediment in them.

Is there any way to prevent sediment buildup in my pipes?

To a point, sediment buildup is unavoidable. It will happen, even in areas that are known for pristine water sources. However, there are things you can do to slow down the buildup in your pipes. Regularly flushing out your boiler, installing a sediment filter in your plumbing, and keeping your plumbing well-maintained can all help reduce the buildup that you experience.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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