The water heater in your home serves an important purpose by keeping your water heating. Many homeowners do not take the time to think about their water heater maintenance until their hot water heater stops working. If your water heater no longer works, you may find yourself in the cold, literally. Not only will you be unable to heat your water, but if your home’s heating system uses water, you may be left without heat, wishing you had performed the regular home maintenance that is recommended to keep your hot water tap flowing and your water spigot giving you the water temps you want!
There are some DIY things you can do to extend the lifespan of your hot water tank, and prevent sediment from building in the bottom of the tank and causing a clog in the water flow. The steps for flushing a hot water heater is the same whether it is a gas water heater or an electric water heater, regardless of what provides energy to the heating element, all hot water tanks should have the water heater tank drain and flush performed regularly as part of your home maintenance. Water heater maintenance will be different if your home has a tankless water heater.
Steps to Flush Your Hot Water Heater
It is recommended that you clean your hot water heater every six months to two years to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits and sediment buildup that can prevent it from functioning properly, clogging water lines or water drains. Not only will this allow you to rest easy knowing you will have heat in the morning, but it can even extend the lifespan of the machine. Luckily, flushing a hot water heater can be done without the help of a plumber, and when done regularly can prevent the need for that plumber to provide water heater repair or replacement!
When you flush a hot water heater, you must:
- Turn off the power to the water heater before doing any work – shutting it off at the circuit breaker is one way to ensure the electric power is cut at the source. For gas water heaters, find pipe to goes to your thermostat and pilot light and turn that gas valve to the off position
- Shut off the cold water supply water line to the heater, the end of the hose is located near the top of the tank
- Open a hot water faucet in a nearby sink or tub
- Attach a garden hose to the drain located at the bottom of the water heater and run the end of the hose to a place where it won’t damage anything to let the water drain, such as a floor drain
- Open draincock or pressure relief valve, to allow the water to leave the heater
- After a few minutes, fill a bucket with the water leaving the hose to see if there is remaining sediment at the bottom
- If there is sediment, flush cold water through the machine until the water runs clear and free of sediment
- Close the drain cock/ pressure release valve and remove the hose
- Turn on the water supply and let the tank fill up with water
- Close the water heater drain off after excess air has escaped
- Turn on the hot water supply and wait for hot water to run off the sink or tub spigot
Once this has been completed, you can use your faucets and hot water normally and you can now be assured that your hot water heater can stay running throughout the winter season.
If you have any questions about your hot water heater and whether or not it needs to be cleaned, contact your neighborhood plumbers at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. While this kind of home maintenance is possible to be DIY, when a professional plumber from A-1 performs this work it will carry a warranty and peace of mind knowing it was done right. This way your home maintenance project doesn’t turn into a home improvement project down the line!