How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

How often do you need to flush your water heater
How often do you need to flush your water heater

How Often Should You Get Your Water Heater Flushed?

Water heaters need regular maintenance as do other contraptions such as your car. Over time, water heaters build up inside with sediment, calcium, and minerals that settle at the bottom of the tank. By design the heating element of a water heater is at the bottom of the tank, this is because heat rises. If this heat is being insulated by sediment by sediment calcium, then your water heater has to use more energy to heat the water.

It’s proven there are no downsides to flushing a water heater. Minerals build up causes damage and it is more expensive to leave it in the tank than to just flush it out regularly.

So How Often Should You Get Your Water Heater Flushed?

It is recommended that you should have your water heater once per year. Flushing that often will help prevent the potential problems that sediment can bring over time.

What Happens If You Don’t Have It Flushed?

Not flushing, and leaving in build up in your water heater can not only cause it to use more energy but also lead to more expensive problems down the road. For example, if the sediment gets to be too much it can even make its way into your water supply and faucets.

In the long term, sediment can cause even more serious issues. Problems such as pipe bursting, loss of water pressure, or even the failure of the tank itself. These problems tend to occur sometimes within a 5-year time frame.

Does a Tankless Water Heater Need to Be Flushed?

The answer is yes, tankless water heaters don’t hold nearly as much water as traditional tanks, they can still build up minerals and require cleaning and maintenance.

Instructions to Flush a Water Heater

  1. Turn off the gas if you have a gas water heater or shut off the electric breaker if you have an electrical one.
  2. Next, allow the water heater to cool down for 1-2 hours
  3. Shut off the water supply to the water heater
  4. Turn on the hot water from a nearby faucet to prevent a vacuum as the water drains.
  5. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom and run the hose to a drain or empty bucket
  6. Drain the water heater tank by opening the drain valve and allow the water to flow until it stops (emptying the bucket each time it fills up). The water can be very hot at this stage unless you let the water heater sufficiently cool down, so be careful!
  7. Now flush the tank by reopening the cold water supply and allow this to drain. Do this a couple of times to rid of all of the sediment.
  8. Close the drain valve
  9. Fill the water heater tank by reopening the water supply valve
  10. Power up the water heater

Draining a water heater is something most homeowners can do, but can also be dangerous. If you are not comfortable with flushing your water heater yourself or want to make sure it is done properly, call a professional plumber to have your water heater flushed in no time.

South End Plumbing specializes water heater repair so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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