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7 Steps to Flush Your Water Heater

A water heater is a very vital household appliance that provides hot water when needed. You should take good care of your water heater if you want it to run optimally. Over time, mineral deposits accumulate and form a thick coating at the base of the tank. This diminishes the heat transfer from the heating element to the water in that tank. The water heater will thus take longer to heat your water, resulting in higher energy bills. Eventually, the unit will rust and break down. Therefore, you should ensure that you flush your water heater regularly to get rid of the gunk and deposits. Follow the guide below to flush your water heater safely.

1. Turn Off the Water Heater

Start by shutting off the water heater. If you use a gas water heater, look for the thermostat, a red knob at the bottom of the tank. Turn it to the pilot position. For those with an electric water heater, locate the circuit breaker or fuse box, usually found in the basement, the garage or outside the house. Disable the circuit that powers the water heater. Turn the main power off if you aren’t sure which circuit breaker connects to the water heater. If you find small metallic tubes after opening the box, it means that you have fuses instead. In this case, unscrew the fuse powering the water heater or cut power to the entire house.

2. Stop the Water Supply

Cut the cold water supply to the tank by turning the valve at the top of the water heater clockwise. Turn this lever-like valve until it’s perpendicular to the pipe. If you skip this step, water will continually flow into the tank and drain.

3. Allow the Water to Cool and Turn on a Hot Water Tap

Give the water tank enough time to cool, around two to three hours. To avoid burns, you don’t want to drain scalding water. Also, open a hot water faucet in your bathtub or sink and leave it running throughout the entire flushing process. This way, you will prevent the formation of a vacuum in the pipes.

4. Connect a Garden Hose to the Drain Cock

Next, identify where you want to drain your water and attach a standard garden hose to the tank’s drain valve at the side of the tank. Ensure that you fit the hose tightly to avoid water leaks. You can choose to drain the water into a container, sewer line or basement drain. If you allow the water to cool overnight, you can use a bucket to drain it and reuse it for other purposes like watering plants. While draining water that’s still hot, you need to be extra careful with the materials you use. Low-quality containers or hoses can soften, causing leaks.

5. Turn on the Spigot and Drain Cock

Extend the hose to a place where it can safely discharge the water, and turn on the drain faucet. Open the pressure relief valve pump to allow the water to flow out more easily. Remember to put a container underneath the drainage pipe to collect the water. Be very careful with the hot water, especially if you didn’t let it cool long enough.

Fill a bucket with the draining water, let it stand undisturbed for a few minutes and observe if it has some sediment at the bottom. If the water appears clean, then your tank is in good shape. However, if the tank produces darker water with a lot of sediment, this signifies a potential problem. The inside part of the tank could be very damaged, and you might need to call a professional to assess the issue and recommend the best possible course of action.

6. Flush the Tank

If the water draining out of the tank is still unclear, turn on the cold water spigot leading into the tank to rinse out any remaining sediment. Leave it open until the tank discharges clean water. This may take some time. Turn off the cold water valve once you fully drain the tank.

7. Finish and Refill the Water Heater

Once the water becomes clear, close the drain cock or turn off the drainage tap and disconnect the hose. Remember to close the pressure relief pump if you opened it as well as the hot water faucet you turned on initially. Next, turn the cold water supply back on and let the tank fill up. Check for leaks, and if any are found, fix them immediately. Once the tank is full, open the pressure relief valve to let out excess air. Reopening the hot water faucet in the sink or tub can also help get rid of the air in the system. At this point, only cold water should come out of the faucet. After all the air escapes, shut off the pipe or pressure relief valve.

Turn the water supply back on, and once the hot water pipes begin to run at full volume, restore the power supply to the water heater. If you turned off the thermostat, you need to light the pilot again. For an electric heater, you only need to flip the breaker back on. Give the water heater about ten to twenty minutes to heat the water. Turn on a hot water spigot and test the water coming out of the tank to see if it’s adequately hot.

Expert Assistance in Flushing Your Water Heater

Ensure that you flush the tank of your water heater every one to three years, depending on the water conditions in your area. This will help control mineral deposits and ensure that your water heater runs efficiently for years to come. Flush your water heater if you notice that it doesn’t produce hot water for long enough. Once the sediments accumulate in the tank, they reduce the space available for water, and you might begin to notice a shortage. Another warning sign that you need to flush your tank is when you notice a change in water temperature. The presence of dirt and sediment affects the heater’s functionality. The sediment may also clog the pipes, which lowers the water pressure. Also, flush your water heater if it takes longer to heat the water or if you hear rumbling noises or smell an unusual odor from the water.

The water heater flushing process requires great concentration, and when done incorrectly, there’s a risk of damaging the valves and heating elements. This can result in expensive repairs. If you aren’t used to handling such tasks, seek professional assistance. Also, if you restore the water heater after flushing and it fails to work, call in plumbers immediately to troubleshoot and fix the issue.

Get in touch with Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing whenever you need professional assistance with your water heater. We also provide plumbing installation and repair. In addition, we furnish a full range of heating, cooling and indoor air quality installation, repair and maintenance to residents of Tucson, AZ, and the nearby areas. Besides that, you can rely on us for duct cleaning and energy audits. Call today to request any of our services.