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How to Flush a Water Heater

How to Flush a Water Heater

Flushing your water heater prevents the buildup of minerals in your tank and sediment in your pipes, helps it function more efficiently, and increases its lifespan.

A water heater is one of the most essential appliances in any home. They provide us with hot water so that we can shower, bathe, and wash our hands. They are also essential for doing laundry and cooking. Our lives benefit so much from our water heaters that it can be easy to take them for granted. However, when a water heater stops working properly, the situation can swiftly become a crisis.

Flushing your water heater regularly is one way of helping it function efficiently. The flushing process prevents the buildup of minerals within the tank and sediment within your pipes. Knowing how and why to flush your water heater safely can help things run smoothly throughout the year.

Why Should I Flush My Water Heater?

Flushing your water heater periodically will keep it clean and allow it to operate efficiently. As sediment builds up inside the tank, the water cannot flow easily through the heating element. Over time, this buildup can reduce the efficiency of the unit. It can eventually cause the heater to fail.

Furthermore, sediment buildup can corrode the heater’s internal parts, leading to cracks and leaks. If you notice any signs of corrosion, call a plumber immediately.

How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater? 

Units with smaller tanks require flushing just once a year. If you have a large tank, you should aim to flush it once every six months. Consult with the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how often your heater needs flushing.

Regardless of the size of your tank, you should try to flush your water heater before winter. Cold weather allows the amount of calcium and magnesium ions in the water to increase, making the water harder than it is in the warmer months. Hard water does not heat as effectively, so your heater will not work as efficiently. You will require more energy to heat the same amount of water, leading to higher bills.

Before You Begin a Water Heater Flush

Flushing your water heater requires you to take several safety precautions.

  • Make sure your home has been properly ventilated and that you are wearing protective clothing and equipment.
  • Disconnect the gas line. If you fail to do so, you might cause an explosion.
  • Disconnect electrical wires to prevent electrocution.
  • Use a pressure washer, which can help remove buildup.
  • Follow the directions carefully to avoid damaging your heater or injuring yourself.

Flushing Your Water Heater

Follow these steps to flush your water heater:

  1. Turn off the power supply before beginning the flush procedure.
  2. Remove the drain cover. You will find it near the bottom of the tank. Be careful of the cover’s sharp edges.
  3. Unplug the electrical cord that connects the unit to the wall outlet. 
  4. Disconnect the gas line connected to the water heater.
  5. You can turn on a tap to run the hot water out of the tank, so you don’t burn yourself. It’s not necessary, but it is safer. After the water tank is filled with cold water, close the water supply valve at the top of the tank.
  6. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the base of the water heater. Put the other end out into an area that won’t be harmed by the water runoff.
  7. Turn on a hot water faucet nearby to prevent trapping water in the tank.
  8. Open the drain valve. This step will let water drain from the tank.
  9. After about 20 minutes, place a bucket under the end of the garden hose until it is full. Let the bucket sit completely still for about a minute. Check to see if the water is clear or cloudy. If sediment remains, continue to drain the tank.
  10. Repeat step 8 until no sediment remains and the water from the tank is clear.
  11. Close the drain valve and disconnect the hose.
  12. Replace the drain cover.
  13. Open the water supply valve to refill the tank.
  14. When the water running through the open tap returns to full pressure, it’s safe to reconnect the power supply and turn off the open tap.

This process should take 20 minutes to an hour from start to finish, but you might end up taking slightly longer when doing it for the first time.

We are the Austin Plumbing Contractors for All Your Needs

Some people find the prospect of flushing a water heater overwhelming. Others have physical limitations that prevent them from performing this vital task themselves. If you need a professional to flush your heater or for any of your plumbing needs, you can call on the team at Indigo Home & Facility Services.

In addition to water heater flushing, our contractors offer plumbing services such as:

Our team offers competitive prices. We dedicate ourselves to completing each project to your satisfaction. Our family-owned plumbing company strives to maintain a reputation of excellence throughout Central Texas. We are located in Austin, TX, but we also serve the following areas:

  • Round Rock
  • Rollingwood
  • Leander
  • Westlake

Call us now at (512) 608-4999 to book an appointment with one of our professionals.