• Howard Gallagher

How To Flush A Water Heater


Your water heater is one of the most vital systems in your home. Proper Maintenance can keep your water heater lasting for years. Flushing your water heater is essential as mineral deposits can build up over time. This can stop the drain valve from functioning. Depending on your model, you should aim to flush your unit every one to three years.


In many cases if the unit isn’t properly maintained it would need to be replaced. Mineral deposits in water can be avoided .All water has some level of mineral deposits. In Utah and several western states the land has a lot of calcium deposits which gets into the water supply as hard water. Hard water can clog pipes and leave residue on your dishes. For your water heater, hard water can lead to leaks and clogging of the drain valve. Learn how draining can save you money and extend the life of your unit. You will need a few tools such as a wet vacuum,bucket,pliers,pipe wrench,a hose,rags, bucket, and screwdriver. Here are practical tips on how to flush a water heater.


1.Disconnect the heating element

Whether your unit is gas or electric turn off the gas valve or circuit breaker that powers it. Turn off the drain valve by turning it clockwise. The thermostat of the unit is usually located at the bottom of the tank. If you have an older model then you may have to relight the pilot light. If it is an electric model locate your home’s breaker box and turn off the switch that gives power to your water heater.


2. Turn the cold water valve off

Typically the cold water valve is on top of the unit. Rotate the water shut-off valve clockwise.


3. Turn on the Hot water faucet in a sink or tub

This is to prevent water entrapment in the pipes. Until the flushing process is over keep the faucet on.


4. Attach a hose to the drain valve

The drain valve is located at the bottom of the heater. Open the drain valve. The water will flow through the unit.


5. Place the hose to a bucket or drain to discharge the water

It is important that the other end of the hose leads to a drain or bucket. A wet vacuum or a portable pump may be an option if your unit is in the basement.


6. Open the drain valve to allow the water to exit the heater

Open the water heater’s drain valve. The increased water pressure should push deposits away from the valve.


7. Start Flushing

Turn the drain valve off and turn off the hot water faucet. Drain the unit. Turn on the cold water faucet leading into your unit. The water will initially come out as brown. As you continue to flush the water will slowly turn clear.In some cases your unit will be full of sediment and you need to drain the unit completely.


8. Once done close the drain valve

Close the drain valve and remove the hose. Turn off the hot water faucet in the home.


9. Turn the water supply back on and let the tank fill

Once the unit is full. Slowly reopen the pressure –relief valve to remove excess air. Close water heater drain. Open the hot water faucet on the bathtub.


10. Wait until the hot water line begins running It usually takes 20 minutes. Congrats your water heater has been flushed.


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