The Importance and Timing of Flushing Your Water Heater

The Importance and Timing of Flushing Your Water Heater
crawfordmech July 25, 2016

If you are like most people, you probably take your water heater for granted as long as it produces hot water for your shower and kitchen sink. You may be surprised to learn that your water heater needs routine maintenance to keep it operating at peak performance. One of the tasks required is flushing it regularly to get rid of sediment. Here’s what you need to know.

Why flush a water heater?

Sediment from your water collects in the water heater and settles to the bottom of the tank. This is especially true if you have hard water. Calcium and magnesium, two common elements found in hard water, also bind together to form scale, which is a sticky, white substance that can clog pipes and line the inside of your water heater. This makes it more difficult for your water heater to operate efficiently and may decrease the water flow from your water heater.

How do you flush the water heater?

Most people call in a plumber to flush the water heater, but you can do it yourself if you are up to the task. You need to turn off the water heater and the water supply to the tank. Attach a hose to the drain on your water heater and drain out all the water from the tank. This will remove most of the sediment in the water tank. Turn off the faucet and remove the hose. Turn the water supply back on to refill the water tank with clean water. Turn the water heater on when the tank has refilled. Your plumber can go a step further and clean the inside of the tank, check the rods and other vital elements, and alert you if there is a potential problem.

How often do you need to flush a water heater?

Water heaters typically require flushing once a year to keep them performing well. However, the amount of mineral deposits in your water also affects how often you need to flush the heater. Homes with extremely hard water may need the water heater flushed more often, while those with relatively few mineral deposits in the water may be able to go a bit longer.

How can you tell if your water heater needs to be flushed?

There are several indicators that your water heater needs to be flushed. Watch for these signs:

  • Increased Heating Time: If you water heater seems to be taking longer to reheat a tank of water, the problem may be mineral deposits and scale inside the water heater. Because the sediment settles in the bottom of the tank, the heating element must work harder to heat the water, as it must heat the sediment, too.
  • Noisy Water Heater: When sediment settles in the bottom of the water heater, your heater struggles to heat the water. Sometimes the water beneath the sediment boils and causes the sediment to rattle as your water heater works to heat the water in the tank. If your water heater is getting noisy, it may be due to too much sediment in the bottom of the tank.
  • Decreased Water Pressure: Hard water deposits can narrow or block the pipes leading away from your water heater and cause a decrease in water pressure.
  • Sediment in Hot Water: If your water heater is neglected for a long period it can collect so much sediment that you will see it in the water that comes out of the faucet.

To schedule a routine water heater flush, contact us at Crawford Mechanical Services today. We can flush and clean your water heater and alert you any potential problems. We also provide 24-hour emergency plumbing services