As a water heater ages various deposits such as calcium, minerals, and sediment accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Sediment build up will cause damage that has a negative impact on the performance and efficiency of the unit.
The best thing you can do for your water heater, ensuring optimal performance and extending its service life, is to perform an annual water heater flush. Doing this will also have positive benefits on your whole plumbing system and will help to mitigate problems that can occur overtime and keep your water flowing as it should.
How often should I perform a water heater flush?
A common industry recommendation is to have your water heater flushed at least once per year. NOTE: Remember to check with your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
Water heaters are typically a low maintenance appliance. Don’t let minor repairs and routine maintenance turn into expensive disasters later due to neglect or simply because you aren’t sure what needs to be done or when you should do it.
Flushing your water heater
Today I want to provide information to you about natural gas and electric water heater maintenance. I recommend the following steps on how to properly drain your water heater. If you are at all unsure about completing any part of this maintenance procedure,
I recommend that you call a licensed plumber to have your annual water heater
Here are the steps:
1.Turn off the power source to your water heater.
For gas water heaters, turn off the gas supply to the water heater.
For electric water heaters, locate your main electrical panel and find the breaker that is designated for your water heater. turn this breaker off. I also recommend using a “breaker lockout device”. This is a safety device designed to prevent the breaker from being accidently switched back on while maintenance/service is being performed.
NOTE: Before you drain your water heater, shutting off the power source is important to prevent damage to the water heater or its components. Likewise, if you restore power to the water heater before the tank has been refilled, damage to the water heater and/or its components can also occur.
- Allow the water heater to cool down for a while
The water in your tank is very hot, so as a safety precaution, it’s a good idea to let the water inside the tank cool down before you drain it. Cooling down the water will take a while, so to speed up this process simply turn on the hot water all the way at one of your faucets. Doing this will release any hot water left sitting in your tank. Once the water has cooled down, turn the faucets back off.
- Shut off your water heater “inlet” valve.
After you’ve completed the “cool down” step, you’ll see two water pipes connected to the top of your water heater. One is a hot water “outlet” that supplies hot water to your home. The other is your cold water return or “inlet” pipe. It brings cold water back into the tank so that it can be heated and released through the outlet for use within your home. Turn the cold water valve off.
- Turn the hot water on from a faucet within the home. This will allow the tank to drain easier and prevent a vacuum from forming.
- Attach one end of a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Direct the other end to a nearby drain or into a bucket
- Open the drain valve and allow the water to flow from the tank until it is empty; you will have to empty a bucket several times during this process.
- Open the cold-water supply and flush the tank to remove any sediment. Allow it to drain. Do this a few times until the water runs clear.
- Close the drain valve and remove the hose. Refill your water heater tank by opening the cold-water supply valve.
NOTE: before moving on to step nine, be sure to completely refill the tank or you will cause damage to the water heater and/or its components.
- Restore power by turning the breaker or the water heater gas valve back on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it was helpful.
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