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How to Flush Your Water Heater

Performing annual maintenance on a tank-style water heater by flushing it will extend its life and can prevent an expensive disaster from happening in your home. 

Water heaters are one of the most essential appliances in your home. They’re a big investment, and most of our clients want to make sure they protect their investment for as long as possible. Performing annual maintenance on a tank-style water heater by flushing it will extend its life and can prevent an expensive disaster from happening in your home. 

Flushing your water heater is easy and will remove the damaging sediment that can accumulate in the bottom of the tank after prolonged use. This sediment can block or clog your water heater's pressure relief valve (that prevents bursting) and can cause corrosion. Sediment can also make your water heater less effective by reducing its hot water output over time as well as making it less energy efficient. 

Below is a simple guide to teach you how to flush your water heater:

Step 1: Turn off Gas or Electricity

If you have a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the "off" position. If your water heater is electric, turn the electricity to the water heater off. 

You must turn off an electric water heater completely before flushing or you will risk burning out the heating element. 

Step 2: Shut off the Water

Shut off your water heater's water supply. 

It’s important to wait for the water inside the water heater to cool before flushing as it can remain scalding hot. Start this step at night after everyone in your household has no need for hot water. If you’re not worried about the temperature of the water, go right to step 3. 

Step 3: Open a Faucet

Open a hot water faucet somewhere in your house. If you want to drain your water heater faster, find the tub faucet as it likely has the highest flow rate in your home. 

Step 4: Connect a Hose to the Drain Valve

For this step, you will need a hose that you will connect to the drain valve on your water heater. Then you will run the hose to a drain, either in your house or outside. A typical garden hose will be sufficient.

Step 5: Open the Drain Valve

Now that you have your hose all hooked up and positioned to a drain, open the drain valve on your water heater and allow the tank to completely drain. 

Step 6: Turn Water Supply Back on and Flush

After your water heater tank is completely empty, turn the cold water source back on. Then, allow water to run through the heater and out of the drain valve for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. 

You will know your water heater is successfully flushed when the water runs clear out of the hose. 

Step 7: Refill the Tank

Now that your water heater is flushed and all the sediment has been removed, it’s time to refill it. You should close the drain valve and remove the hose. Then, with the cold water source still on, allow the tank to refill. You will know the tank is full when water begins to come out of the hot water faucet you have left open. 

Congratulations! Now your water heater is successfully flushed and ready to perform at maximum efficiency again. Following these simple steps will help you get the most out of your water heater year after year. 

If you have any questions about how to perform this maintenance, just give us a call. Our expert technicians are standing by ready to answer your questions. 

If you’d rather watch a video, here’s our CEO, Ray, demonstrating how to perform annual maintenance on a tank-style water heater:


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