Flushing a hot water heater is a necessity, especially if you are living in a hard water environment. Usually, water heaters last around seven to fifteen years, but any heater can shut down for good if it is not flushed properly and regularly.
Water heaters should be flushed once or twice every year to get rid of all the minerals deposited at the bottom.
Flushing your water heater tank might seem like an extra task or an avoidable one. However, cleaning up the heater once every six months extends its life and improves the performance at the same time.
How To Flush A Hot Water Heater
If you are dealing with an electrical heater, then locate the breaker box first. Through the fuse box, you can turn off the electrical power that is heating the water.
If you have a gas water heater at your home, find the thermostat and use it to turn off the gas supply.
The thermostat is a small box that has three setting: Pilot, Off, and On. To turn off the thermostat, you need to turn the dial to the Pilot setting before flushing a hot water heater.
You will need to give the hot water a few hours to cool down. This is important, as the hot water can cause damage to the pipe you will use to release it.
The main water supply to the heater needs to be shut off as well. It is pointless trying to drain a tank that just keeps on filling up.
Locate the main pipe that is supplying your water heater with the cold water. The cold water pipe is usually present at the top of the heater.
You might come across two kinds of valves while flushing the water heater tank; ball valves and gate valves. Ball valves require a 90-degree rotation to shut off the pipe completely, but gate valves require many turns before reaching a stop.
Turn on the hot water faucet to release any air bubbles during the drainage process. This step must be performed because the air pressure inside the heater can block the water drainage otherwise.
Flushing the heater might not prove to be a beneficial process if air bubbles are present in the tank. Make sure you get them all out.
Attach a garden hose to the drain valve which is present at the bottom of the heater tank.
If the drain valve is not immediately visible, then it might be present under a removable cover. You can either collect the water in a bucket or extend the hose to release the water into your garage or garden.
Keep in mind, the water may still be a bit hot. You should test the temperature before releasing it into your garden. Hot water could damage your plants.
The water coming out of heater in draining process will still be a bit hot, even after allowing it to cool for a few hours. Make sure to release the water safely otherwise it can cause damage to your property or family members. Take safety measures and then open the valve and start draining the water heater.
Initially, the water will be rusty orange in color. Keep filling and emptying the tank until the water gets clear. When you don’t see any particles of sediment build-up in the water, remove the hose and close off the valve.
Don’t forget the most important part: re-opening the main water supply to the heater and then turning the thermostat back on again.
Reasons For Flushing A Water Heater Unit
As mentioned above, flushing out a water heater might seem like a burdensome task, but it is important since you can get additional years of service form the water heater this way.
When your water heater has had years of scale build-up, it will make popping, banging, and cracking noises. When people skip the regular maintenance of heaters, water cannot percolate easily which contributes to the noise. If this is ignored for a longer period, the water heater might also stop working.
By flushing a water tank regularly or yearly it can help you save money. Instead of calling a professional plumber and having him replace your dead water heater, you can drain out all the sediment build-up.
The more sediment is accumulated at the bottom of the gas water heaters or at the electrodes of the electric heaters, the more difficult it becomes to heat the water to the desired temperature. The sedimentation can be removed and your water heater will perform at it maximum capacity.
In short, flushing a hot water heater saves money, cuts your energy bills in half and provides hot water whenever you like. There is an alternative to doing this manually, self-cleaning water heaters cut down the frequency at which you have to flush the system.