Your water heater needs regular maintenance as does other machines such as your car. Over time, water heaters collect things such as sediment, calcium, and minerals that settles at the bottom of the tank. The heating element of a water heater is at the bottom of the tank. If this heat is being blocked by sediment and other materials, then your water heater has to work harder to heat the water.
There are really no downsides to flushing a water heater. Sediment build up causes damage and it is more expensive to leave it than to just flush it out regularly.
How Often Should I get My Water Heater Flushed?
It is recommended that you flush your water heater at least once per year. Doing so will help to prevent the potential problems that sediment can bring over time.
What Happens if I don’t Flush My Water Heater?
Leaving sediment build up in your water heater can not only cause it to work harder, but also lead to some serious problems. For example, if the sediment gets to be too much, you can start to see it come out of your faucets.
Over the long term, sediment can cause even more serious issues. Things such as pipe bursting, loss of water pressure, or even the break-down of the tank itself. These problems tend to occur after the course of two to five years.
Do I Need to Flush a Tankless Water Heater?
Yes. Even though tankless water heaters don’t hold as much water as traditional tanks, they can still build up sediment and require cleaning and maintenance.
How do I Flush My Water Heater?
- Turn off gas if you have a gas water heater or electricity if you have an electrical one.
- Allow the water heater to cool down for a while
- Shut off water supply
- Turn on the hot water from a nearby faucet to prevent a vacuum from forming and allowing the tank to drain easier.
- Attach a hose to the drain valve and run the hose to a drain or empty bucket
- Drain the water heater tank by opening the drain valve and allow the water to flow until it stops, you may have to empty a bucket several times during this process. The water can be very hot at this stage unless you let the water heater sufficiently cool down, be careful!
- 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.
- Close the drain valve
- Fill the water heater tank by reopening the water supply valve
- Power up the water heater
Draining a water heater is doable at home, but can also be dangerous. If you are uncomfortable with flushing your water heater yourself or want to make sure it is done right, call a professional technician to have your water heater flushed in no time.