Flushing a water heater isn’t on anyone’s list of fun things to do, but there are some real benefits in doing this home maintenance chore annually. Learn how to flush a water heater in about 30 minutes for a more efficient system!
Flushing the hot water heater removes sediment that has accumulated within the tank of your water heater. If sediments and minerals are left to build up they can cause your water heater to run less efficiently or worst yet fail. This can increase your energy bill, decrease the lifespan of your water heater, and cause unfortunate surprises down the road.
By flushing your water heater once ever 1-2 years, you can get rid of the sediment in your tank and start fresh. This will help reduce the workload on your tank and keep your system running smoother on less energy! This is one of the easiest chores you can cross off your list, and you’ll only need four common household items to get the job done.
Materials Needed for flushing your water heater
- Hose – garden hose will work very well or a washing machine supply line
- Bucket, outdoors, or drain (a place for the water to go when drained from the tank)
- Pliers and or screwdriver
How to Flush a Water Heater
This maintenance task is very simple–Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you through it.
1. Cut the heater off.
Electric heaters will need to be cut off before the flushing process begins. The safest way to cut off the power is to find the breaker and switch it to the off position. Some heaters have a switch at the heater that can be used to turn the heater off.
Gas heaters will need to have the gas cut off or have the heater put in a mode that shuts off the burners (Vacation or Pilot). The safest way is to cut off the gas supply to the water heater.
2. Turn on a hot water faucet.
Let the hot water run until it is no longer hot. This is done to prevent anyone from getting burnt with hot water as the tank is being flushed. Leave the faucet on as this will speed up the draining of the tank later.
3. Connect the hose.
The water heater will have a drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater, find it and connect your hose. Now run the other end of the hose to a drain, outside, or into buckets.
4. Turn off the cold water supply.
By turning off the cold water supply the tank will be drained of all the water and any sediment that is in the tank once the drain valve has been opened.
5. Drain the tank.
Open the drain valve on the water heater. I use a screwdriver in this tutorial, but I could have used my hand and turned the faucet or pliers if the drain valve wasn’t moved with the other methods. Open hot water faucets will allow air into the tank allowing the tank to drain more quickly. Water should begin flowing from the hose.
Catching the water in a bucket or pan will make it possible to identify any sediment that is being flushed from the tank. Once the tank has completely drained, it’s a good practice to open the cold water supply valve for a minute or two and continue draining the water heater until there is no more sediment draining from the tank. Close the drain valve when the water is running clear of sediment.
6. Finishing up.
Allow the tank to fill completely before restoring power to the water heater. Remove the hose and dry up any water that might have spilled during this process. Once the tank has filled, you can now close the hot water faucet. Restore the electric power or the gas supply to the water heater and double-check the drain valve for leaks. Congratulations you can mark this task as complete!
Other Home Maintenance Projects
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