A Homeowners Guide To Flushing A Water Heater

1 April 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


No appliance failure strikes fear into the heart of the average citizen quite like a water heater that doesn't work. After all, who likes the idea of having to forsake their daily hot shower? Luckily, if your water heater isn't heating the way it should, the solution may be within your grasp. This article will teach you how to improve your heater's performance by flushing the tank.

How Flushing Helps

Most water isn't pure. Rather, it contains minute amounts of such minerals as magnesium and calcium. Normally these minerals don't cause problems for plumbing. Yet when subjected to the intense heat of a water tank, they tend to develop into a layer of sediment--known as scale--at the bottom of the tank.

Scale has a negative effect on the ability of your heater to perform efficiently. If the layer gets thick enough, the heater may not work at all. That's because the sediment ends up absorbing all of the heat that should be going to the water. Flushing your water heater removes the scale, thus restoring proper functioning.

Prepping The Tank

It doesn't take much to flush a tank, supply-wise. If you're lucky enough to a have a floor drain nearby, you might not need anything more than a simple garden hose. Otherwise, you'll want to grab one or two five-gallon buckets, in order to transport water from the tank to an appropriate drainage site.

Where prep work is concerned, the most important thing is shutting off the heater's power. If you have an electric heater, accomplish this by disengaging the correct switch o the circuit breaker. If you have a gas water heater, simply ensure that it's thermostat is set to either "off" or "pilot."

Once you've taken care of the power, close the cold water supply valve. That way fresh water won't fill the tank during the flush. Before moving on to the next step, give the water in the tank several hours to cool to room temperature.

The Flush

Turn on the hot water faucets on the ground floor of your home. This helps to keep vacuums from developing in the water lines--and thus to facilitate speedy draining.

Attach your garden hose to your heater's drain valve. Position the other end either so that it leads into the floor drain, or into your bucket. Open up the drain valve. At this point, the water should begin flowing out of the tank. If you're using a bucket, be prepared to close the drain valve as necessary in order to empty the bucket.

Once the tank has drained completely, your task is done. All of that unwanted sediment should have drained away with the water. Simply close the drain valve, turn your water supply valve on once more, and restore power to the heater. Congratulations, you did it!

For a plumbing and heating contractor, contact a company such as Able Plumbing-Pumps & Well Service.