Is your water heater not performing as well as it used to?
Are you noticing signs of sediment buildup or bad odors?
If so, it might be time to give your water heater some much-needed TLC. One of the best ways to ensure optimal performance and extend the lifespan of your water heater is by flushing it regularly.
In this article, we'll show you how to flush a water heater in simple, easy-to-follow steps. This guide will also cover the chlorination process to clean the heater of rotten egg odor, discolored water conditions, and bacteria.
By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your water heater running at its best. Let's get started!
Flushing your water heater is crucial for several reasons.
One of the main reasons to flush a water heater is if your hot water is rusty or brown, which is often a sign of material buildup inside the tank due to rust particles from plumbing, water softener resin, sand, clay sediments, and other earth materials. If your home plumbing is connected to the water mains constructed of steel or cast iron pipes, rust can accumulate in the tank, causing brown or rusty water.
Another important reason to perform flushing is to eliminate the rotten egg smell. This odor is actually a hydrogen sulfide odor caused by bacteria. The only way to control smelly water is by removing the bacteria, which can be achieved through this process.
Water heater flush is also necessary to remove sediment build-up. These mineral deposits are the main causes of slow and inefficient water heating, rumbling, and pounding noise. Using a softener, sediment cleaner, or delimer solution in combination with tank flushing can help prevent mineral buildup.
Regular flushing also extends the life of your water heater by keeping it in good working condition and reducing the risk of breakdowns and malfunctions.
If you're wondering how often you should flush your hot water heater, it's best to follow the manufacturer's recommendation, which is typically once every 6 months to one year. However, the frequency of flushing also depends on your local water condition. If your water is hard and contains more minerals, you may need to do it more often.
To maintain your water heater's performance and efficiency, it's recommended to drain 1 to 2 gallons from the drain valve every month as a minimum requirement. This helps remove any sediment or debris buildup that may have accumulated in the bottom of the tank. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your water heater stays in good condition and provides hot water on demand.
Here's how to flush a water heater in simple steps:
Next, use the instructions found on the unit's label to light the pilot, or resume the power. It is essential to have a tank full of water, especially on electric models, because if the heating element is exposed to air, it burns out easily.
Alternatively, you can watch this video guide.
Flushing a water heater through the drain valve provided at the bottom of the heater with the appropriate dissolver, like chlorine, is one way to control and eliminate bacteria from the heating system. Below is the proper procedure for chlorinating a heater, recommended by the Bradford White manufacturer:
Water softeners, long periods of no water movement, or using a well supply are all potential causes of the bacteria's presence. This is why shock-chlorination of the heating system is recommended. Combine the above process and flush the hot water heater often if you have a heavily infected system.
This is also an opportunity to check out some of the elements such as the anode rod and drain valve. If the anode rod has been consumed and it doesn't perform as before, replace it.
Note: You can also use vinegar, even apple cider vinegar, for flashing, in the amount of one gallon.
Most water heaters have the plastic drain valve factory-installed, so while flushing the unit, debris can clog the valve and cause leaking due to improper seating. Replace it with the ball valve.
Knowing how to flush a water heater is an essential maintenance task that every homeowner should know. It helps to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the heating system, prevent potential hazards, and provide clean and safe hot water for your household. By following the simple steps outlined above and flushing your water heater regularly, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements while extending the lifespan of your unit.
Flushing and draining a water heater serve different purposes. Draining removes sediment buildup, whereas flushing removes bacteria and mineral deposits. Therefore, it is best to both flush and drain a water heater regularly for optimal performance and longevity. Draining can be done annually, while flushing is recommended twice a year.
Yes, tankless water heaters also need to be flushed periodically to remove mineral buildup and debris that can affect their performance and efficiency. The frequency of flushing depends on the hardness of the water and the manufacturer's recommendation, but typically it is recommended to flush the system every 6-12 months.
No, flushing your water heater is a routine maintenance task that is actually beneficial for your plumbing system. However, if you notice any leaks or other issues during the process, it's important to address them promptly to prevent damage.