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How Often Should You Drain Your Water Heater

Can Sediment Affect My Plumbing Pipes Or Water

Does a Water Heater Really Need to be Drained and Flushed?

The short answer is yes! The sediment or crusty material on the bottom of your tank can break free and end up getting lodged in the pipes that feed water to the rest of your home. This can slow the flow of water through your pipes and faucets. It can even risk plugging the drain valve on your hot water tank making it impossible to drain it without a significant plumbing repair.

Checking Your T& p Valve

At times, this valve can run into issues. It can become stuck, oras discussed aboveinterior scaling can block it. To ensure its working properly, you should test the T& P valve every year. Put a bucket below the discharge pipe and flip the valve open. You should have water come through the valve, down the pipe, and into the bucket.

If not, theres something wrong with your valve, and you need to call in a plumbing professional right away.

How To Do A Water Heater Flush Safely

Your water heater is what provides all the essential hot water to your house when you need it. The times you realize how important it truly is can often be when it isnt working or is backed up. To make sure your water heater is working properly, you have to make sure to flush it out to ensure it works at its best capacity.

To help you understand the basics of water heater flushing, we will first look at why it is so important and how often you should go about doing it. We will then walk you through a general guideline for flushing your own water heater so it can perform efficiently.

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Additional Water Heater Maintenance Tasks

When you flush a hot water heater tank, it is a good time to perform extra maintenance tasks that will help prolong the units life and ensure its efficiency:

Give your water heater the attention it deserves to prolong its life and save energy. When you encounter a problem that you cant repair on your own, hear unusual noises from the tank or simply want an expert to perform maintenance services for you, get in touch with AAA Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment.

HVAC Services, Repair, Sales & InstallationPhone: 503-284-2173Portland: 5017 Northeast Grand Ave, Portland OR 97211Beaverton: 7762 SW Nimbus Avenue, Unit H10, Beaverton, OR 97008© 2023 AAA Heating and Cooling, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Why Should I Flush My Water Tank

How to Flush a Water Heater

Most hot water tanks have a significant holding tank that ensures there’s plenty of hot water available when it’s needed. However, because water is sitting in the tank continuously over time, naturally occurring minerals in the water, as well as sand and grit flushed from municipal water lines, can settle in the bottom of the tank.

The sediment build-up can potentially make it harder for your hot water tank to do its job. This puts your water heater at risk of failing sooner than it should. Hot water tanks should have a life span of 10-12 years at least, but not annually draining the sediment can reduce that life span significantly.

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What Happens If You Dont Flush Your Water Heater

The longer your water heater goes without a drain-and-flush, the more sediment and minerals will accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Eventually, this causes scaling. Ever noticed that hard, mineral buildup on your sink faucets and shower heads? Thats scale: accumulated mineralization. Have enough of that in your water heaters tank, and you could start running into some significant issues:

-Reduced Efficiency: As scaling collects at the bottom of the tank, your water heater will become less effective at heating the water in the tank. -Corrosion: If your water heater goes long enough without a proper flush, you could also have corrosion attacking the tank itself, weakening its structural integrity. -Safety: As well discuss in the section below, your water heater has a crucial pressure-relief valve that prevents pressure from building up in the tank. Scaling can block this valve.

Heres the bottom-line: you need to be draining and flushing your water heater regularly. But, thats just the start.

How Often Should You Drain Or Flush Your Hot Water Heater

Not sure how often you should flush or dump your hot water heater? Heres what you should know. Most water heaters should be drained once a year, or more frequently depending on the circumstances. In contrast, if you reside in a region with hard water , it is recommended that you do it every six months or so. The majority of the time, however, a yearly cleaning will assist to extend the life of your water heater and guarantee that hot water is distributed throughout your home.

/ E+ / Getty Images / Hispanolistic / Hispanolistic

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Turn Off The Power To The Water Heater

It’s important to shut off the power to your water heater before draining it, or you could potentially burn out the heating elements. If you have an electric water heater, shut the power off from your home’s electrical panel. The correct fuse or circuit breaker should be labeled as being connected to the water heater.

If it’s a gas water heater, the DIY Network says you can turn the water heater’s thermostat to “pilot” for this step. Or, The Family Handyman says to shut off the gas supply to the heater. Check your owner’s manual and follow the instructions provided for your specific water heater.

How Frequently Should You Do A Hot Water Heater Flush

How Long Does It Take to Drain a Water Heater

Considering how essential your water heater is, you shouldnt put off flushing out your system for too long. Every water heater has a different lifespan but making sure you do regular water heater cleanouts will help it reach its intended lifespan. On average, you should look to flush your heater every few years. If you want to ensure the best performance for your unit, flushing it once a year would be ideal and these next steps will show you how easy that can be.

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How Frequently Should You Flush A Water Heater

There are no clear guidelines on how often you should flush a water heater. Some experts recommend flushing the hot water tank at least once annually, while others advise doing so every four to six months.

Despite the differing views, experts agree that all water heaters must undergo regular flushing. The activity is crucial to remove sediments and mineral deposits from the water heaters interior chambers. Failure to flush hot water heater periodically can undermine the appliances full functionality.

Use These Tips To Drain A Water Heater Properly

Most water heater maintenance instructions recommend that you drain a water heater every six to twelve months, depending on how much use it gets. The reason for this is that it will aid in the removal of any sediment or buildup that may have accumulated on the bottom of the water heater tank as a result of the presence of minerals and other particles in the water. As a result of the accumulation, the water heater will have to work harder to heat the water, consuming more energy and increasing its operating costs.

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A Water Heater Flush Is Key To Your Water Heaters Effectiveness And Efficiency

Your Western New York homes water heater is one of the most crucial aspects of your homes plumbing and is the difference between you taking an ice cold shower or not. Water heaters are used every day as part of your daily routine for things like showering, doing laundry, and cleaning the dishes. It is common for water heaters to wear out or breakdown, due to their frequent use. A water heater flush is key to your water heaters effectiveness and efficiency. There is no denying the value of flushing your water heater, but just how often should you flush your water heater?

What is a water heater?

As the name implies, a water heater does just that it heats water. You use this water to shower, wash your hands, cook and clean. A water heater takes cold water from a water supply pipe and heats it up to create warmer water. The heater then pumps the water throughout your home when you open a tap or use an appliance that needs hot water. Water heaters are used to warm water thats clean and safe for consumption.

What is a water heater flush?

Over time, sediment and corrosion can begin to collect inside the water heater tank, typically at the bottom. This matter is brought in from the tap but is typically not discharged when hot water is sent to the faucets in your Western New York home. When enough buildup has been collected, it can start to negatively impact the water heaters efficiency and performance.

How often should you flush your water heater?

How Do I Prevent Sediment In My Water Heater

How Often Should you Flush Your Water Heater?

The best way to get rid of the gunk is to do a mini flush. It is possible to prevent future problems by having your water heater flushed through the drain valve. Its important to prevent rust, and also improve the efficiency of water heaters. If you do not have a mini flush, you will need to add a small amount of distilled water to the water in your tank.

You can do this by adding a few drops of tap water into your aquarium. If you are not sure how much water you should add, check with your local water supplier to make sure it is not too much or too little. It is also a good idea to use distilled or RO water. RO water has a higher concentration of dissolved minerals and is less likely to cause algae growth.

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Why Drain A Water Heater

Your water heater is likely tucked in a corner or closet quietly supplying your household with hot water. If fact, you might not even think about your water heater until you notice it isnt heating your water anymore.

Giving your water heater a little attention every so often can add years to its service life. In fact, draining your tank should be a top priority if you want your water heater to last.

With normal use, sediment builds at the bottom of the tank. If the sediment isnt flushed out, it will:

  • Lower Efficiency The water heater will need to work harder in order to deliver hot water. This will not only increase your utility costs, but also place more wear-and-tear on the unit and its components, and ultimately reduce its service life.
  • Tank Corrosion The sediment at the bottom of the tank will eventually cause the tank to corrode from the inside. If the water heater develops a leak from the tank, there is no way to repair it. Your only option is to purchase a new water heater.
  • Clogs The valves within the tank of the water heater may clog. This can eventually lead to leaks and other damage. An important safety device is the T& P valve that prevents too much pressure from building within the tank. Its not uncommon for the T& P valve to develop scale build-up or become clogged with sediment. Flushing your tank and your T& P valve will help ensure the valve is properly working. In addition, the drain valve can also clog and develop leaks.

How To Flush Sediment Out Of A Water Heater


Every homeowner knows how important it is to clean and maintain your systems and appliances. However, many homeowners don’t know that flushing a water heater every year can remove a build-up of sediment from the bottom of the tank. Flushing sediment can improve a water heater’s lifespan and efficiency. Sediment can create a barrier between the heating elements of the water heater and the water, making it harder to heat your home’s showers, dishwasher, and laundry. By flushing sediment out of your water heater, you can save money and heat your water faster.

Learn how ahow a water heater worksto better understand how to flush your tank.

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Checking Your T P Valve

This valve may experience difficulties from time to time. It can become stuck, or, as previously described, internal scaling can cause it to become blocked. You should check the T P valve once a year to verify that it is in proper operating order. Place a bucket beneath the discharge pipe and turn the valve to the open position. Make sure you have water flowing through the valve and down into the pipe and into the bucket. If this is not the case, there is something wrong with your valve, and you should contact a plumbing specialist immediately.

What Is The Purpose Of Draining Your Water Heater

Why You Should Drain Your Water Heater Every Year!

Calcium and magnesium ions, together referred to as hardness minerals, are found in tap water. As water travels in and out of your water heater, the minerals in the water settle to the bottom of the tank of your appliance. As a result of the accumulation of minerals in your water heaters heating elements and the real water contained within the device, the heat transmission process between the two becomes slowed or completely stopped. This has the potential to significantly reduce the efficiency of your water heater.

This is an important preventative maintenance activity that will significantly increase the efficiency and lifetime of a water heater.

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Lifespan Of Gas And Electric Water Heaters

On average, electric water heaters last a few years longer than gas ones do:

Electric Water Heaters: 10-15 Years Gas Water Heaters: 8-12 Years

This lifespan difference doesnt necessarily mean that electric water heaters are the better buy! If you already have a gas line in your home, youre typically better off with a gas water heater because natural gas is often far cheaper than electricity. In most parts of the country, youll pay less to run a gas water heater than an electric onea principle that also applies, for what its worth, to gas and electric furnaces.

When Should You Drain A Water Heater And How Often

If your circumstance necessitates frequent flushing, it is critical that you do it from the beginning of the installation. Depending on the quality of your water, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment every one to three years. In the event that you decide to drain your water heater after a few years without doing any prior maintenance, you may cause more harm than good. As the heavily encrusted sediments release, the inner tank will become weak and corrosive, increasing the likelihood that your water heater may rust early as a result of corrosion.

Because the method is more complicated than that for electric water heaters, we recommend that you consult with a skilled professional.

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Turning The Water Heater Back On

  • 1Close the drain valve and pressure relief valve. Turn the valve to close the drain where the hose is connected. Make sure its fully closed. Then, close the pressure relief valve on the water heater and tighten the nut on top if you loosened it.XResearch source
  • Its important that the valves are closed tight so they dont leak when you turn the water heater back on and allow it to fill up.
  • 2Disconnect the garden hose from the drain valve. Unscrew the garden hose from where its connected to the drain valve. Bring it outside and dump out any water contained inside of it so it doesnt develop mold or mildew that can damage it.XResearch source
  • Wrap up the hose and store it when youre finished using it.
  • 3Flip the breaker to turn the electricity back on. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power back on by flipping the breaker that controls the electricity to it. Close the circuit breaker box up when youre finished.XResearch source
  • If power isnt immediately restored to the water heater, try flipping the breaker off and back on again.
  • 4Turn the pilot light to the On position if its a gas water heater. To turn a gas water heater back on, you need to restore the flow of gas into the water heater. Flip the pilot light switch back into the on position.XResearch source

    Tip:Relight the pilot light if it was extinguished by turning the valve to the Pilot position and using the ignitor switch on the valve or a long lighter if there isnt an igniter.

  • Instructions To Flush A Water Heater

    How To Drain A Water Heater
  • Turn off the gas if you have a gas water heater or shut off the electric breaker if you have an electrical one.
  • Next, allow the water heater to cool down for 1-2 hours
  • Shut off the water supply to the water heater
  • Turn on the hot water from a nearby faucet to prevent a vacuum as the water drains.
  • Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom 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 . The water can be very hot at this stage unless you let the water heater sufficiently cool down, so be careful!
  • 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.
  • Close the drain valve
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