Having hot water in your home is a necessity. As a homeowner, it’s important to understand the necessary maintenance tasks that you need to perform with your water heater to ensure that it stays in good working condition. One of the most significant tasks that you’ll need to undertake is draining your water heater.

Why Does It Need to Be Flushed?

The whole concept behind draining or flushing out your water heater is to remove unwanted mineral deposits and sediment debris. As water flows through your water heater, it will drop some of this sediment. If left unchecked, sediment will continue to build up and eventually block the free flow of water throughout your water heater. These mineral deposits at the bottom of a tanked water heater will actually cause the tank itself to prematurely corrode.

What Type of Water Heater Do You Have?

There are two different styles of water heaters that you may have in your home. It’s necessary to determine the specific style of water heater you have as that is going to affect how it gets flushed. The two styles of water heaters are tanked and tankless.

When most people think about a water heater, they picture the tank-style version. These can range in size, but all of them have a cylindrical tank where the water enters and is stored until a faucet in your home needs to use it. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, consist of a small box that has various piping running in and out of it. Tankless water heaters will produce hot water on demand, so there’s no need for it to have a tank to store the hot water.

How to Drain a Tank Style Water Heater

With tank-style water heaters being the most prominent in the United States, we’re going to start by explaining how to properly drain this style. The first thing that your plumbing professional will do is shut off the water supply to the water heater. They’ll do this by locating a valve at the top of the tank and turning it until it reaches the off position.

Next, they will shut off the power to your water heater so that it doesn’t burn out the heating element while they’re trying to flush it. There are different ways to shut off the power to water heaters, depending on the fuel type. If your water heater runs on gas, then they’ll turn off the gas supply while they’re flushing the unit. If your water heater runs on electricity, then they’ll want to turn off the circuit breaker connected to your water heater while they’re servicing it.

It’s important to note that the water inside of your hot water heater is going to be extremely hot. It’s recommended that it sits a few hours or overnight to help allow the water to cool down so that it’s safe to work with. Once the water has cooled down, your plumbing professional will attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your tank. They will use a garden hose that goes into a floor drain or is run outside.

Before they actually drain your tank, they will turn on the hot water tap at one of your sinks. It’s recommended to use a sink tap that is on the floor above where your water heater is. By opening this tap, they’ll allow a place for the air pressure in the water to alleviate, which allows your tank to drain faster. Once a hot water tap is opened, they will go ahead and open the drain valve. This is located at the bottom of the water heater.

They will pay close attention to the color and contaminants inside of the water that is coming out of your tank. When there’s a lot of sediment in it, the water will be cloudy and may even contain some pieces of debris. Once all the water inside of the tank has been flushed out, they’ll turn the water supply back on at the top of your water heater. They’ll proceed to flush the tank until they see fresh, clean water coming out of it.

Once there is clean water coming out of your tank, your plumbing professional will close the drain valve at the bottom of it and allow your tank to fill back up with water. Once your tank is filled back up, it’s time to turn the power supply back on and let it warm up. They will close the faucet tap that they had open to alleviate the pressure during the draining process.

How to Drain a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are becoming the newest innovation for homeowners to get on-demand hot water without the need for large equipment. However, tankless water heaters are more intricate than the original tank-style water heaters.

For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you have a professional flush your tankless water heater as they have the appropriate knowledge and equipment to do the job correctly. Attempting to flush a tankless water heater on your own is not recommended as it could lead to damage to your system and actually void its warranty.

How Often Does Your Water Heater Need to Be Flushed?

It’s recommended to flush your water heater at least once every year. This will help to remove any buildup sediment to ensure the longevity of your water heater. It’s important to note that hard water can drastically increase the amount of sediment that gets stuck in your water heater. If you live in a region of the country that has hard water, you’ll want to have your water heater flushed more often to help remove that excess sentiment.

Top Benefits of Flushing Your Water Heater

There are many different benefits that homeowners can gain from flushing their water heater on a regular basis. First and foremost, draining your water heater helps remove scale deposits that can prematurely wear out your water heater. If you’ve ever heard your water heater crackle, bang, or pop, then there is scale buildup on the inside of it that is making it operate in such a noisy manner. When it gets flushed out, they’ll remove that scale buildup which will reduce its operating noise.

When scale buildup happens at the bottom of your water heater, it creates a barrier that makes it harder for your heating element to transfer heat to the water inside of your tank. Removing that sediment will help remove that barrier and allow your water heater to heat up more quickly. When your water heater is able to work optimally, it helps reduce its operating cost and puts more money back into your pocket.

Lastly, most water heater warranties do not cover any damage due to scale buildup. By flushing your water heater on a regular basis, you can prevent that from damaging your system and ensure that, when there’s a problem, it’s caused by another component that’s covered under warranty.

Reliable Plumbing Services

BWS Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides a wide range of reliable plumbing services to the entire Twin Cities community. We’re also available for all of your heating and cooling repair, installation, and maintenance needs. Call our office in Eden Prairie, MN, today to get help from one of our highly experienced professionals.

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