Flushing your hot water heater every can extend the life of your hot water heater! (If you have extremely hard water, flushing more often may be beneficial.)
Flushing your hot water heater improves the efficiency and the lifespan. Sediment can accumulate and calcify, but regular flushing can prevent the sediment from causing problems, such as less hot water, higher energy bills, burst or leaking hot water heater, and water damage to the home. Sediment can cause uneven heating and eventually cause leaks on natural gas hot water heaters. Scaling can burn out the lower heating element on electric hot water heaters.
Steps to Flushing Your Hot Water Heater
1. Turn off the hot heater. (A ‘vacation setting’ on a natural gas water heater may be used for this.) The power or the natural gas should be turned off. (Note: Prior to turning off the natural gas hot water heater, it should be determined whether the pilot light needs to be re-lit manually or has an electric igniter.)
2. Turn off the cold water supply to your water heater. (Older homes may not have a local valve and water may have to be turned off at the main supply.)
3. Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. The other end of the hose should drain to a safe location (not at the foundation of the home, not under crawlspace, not on tender shrubs or plants, etc.)
4. Open all of the hot water faucets. This will allow the water to drain from the tank faster.
5. Open the hot water heater’s drain valve to allow the tank to drain. Monitor the outflow for sediment. If no water comes out, it is possible that the drain valve is clogged. In this case, open the TPRV to let pressure off the tank and use a wet/dry vacuum to suck the blockage from the drain valve to get the water flowing.
6. After the hot water tank empties, turn the cold water supply on to flush remaining sediment from bottom of tank. Monitor water outflow for sediment and continue flushing until water runs clear.