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How to Flush your Hot Water Heater

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Remove Sediment from Your Water Heater Before It Can Cause Damage

When you own a water heater, it is crucial that you remove sediment from the heater before it can cause damage. Sediment build-up happens over time, and if untreated, will result in the failure of your water heater. Fortunately, there are preventive measures that can be taken to limit the damage caused by the build-up of sediment.


Gas Water Heaters
Your gas operated water heater will operate at maximum efficiency when initially installed. However, as sediment starts to form, the efficiency of the water heater will decrease. Sediment normally forms on the heat exchanger, thermostat and heat transfer surface within the water heater, thereby negatively impacting on the effectiveness of the water heater.

It is possible to remove excess sediment from the inside of the water heater by flushing the system.Unfortunately, flushing can’t remove all of the sediment, and the efficiency of the water heater will not be fully-restored. The efficiency of the gas water heater will begin to deteriorate as new sediment builds on top of the old sediment, thereby reducing the life cycle of the gas water heater.

Electric Water Heaters

In contrast with a gas operated water heater, full efficiency can be restored in an electric water heater. By regularly flushing the system, the potential damage that can be caused by sediment build-up will be negated. Furthermore, replacing the bottom element when it fails will restore the electric water heater to full efficiency. Typical signs of sediment damage to an electric water heater are an increase in energy consumption, lower water temperature and an increase in the time required to heat-up water.

Sediment build-up impacts negatively on the efficient operation of a gas or electrical water heater. The efficiency of a gas operated water heater can’t be restored fully, and it will eventually need to be replaced. Electric water heaters can be restored to full efficiency, but requires the replacement of the bottom element. It is possible to extend the life cycle of a water heater by flushing the system at least once every year.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

  • Turn the Knob on Your Hot Water Heater’s Thermostat to “Off”
  • Turn Off Gas (Or Electric Power Supply) to Hot Water Heater.
  • Turn Off the Cold Water Supply to Hot Water Heater.
  • Turn on the Hot Water in a Sink or Tub & Leave it on while flushing out the tank to ensure a vacuum doesn’t form in the lines.
  • Open the Pressure Relief Valve (Use Caution as you could get burned!)
  • Let the Water in the Tank Cool
  • Connect Garden Hose to Drainage Spigot.
  • Turn on Spigot and Drain.
  • Flush.

If you’d like step by step photos of this process to ensure you’re doing it correctly, we recommend this helpful tutorial from The Art of Manliness.

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