Flushing Hot Water Heater

Flushing Hot Water Heater

Flushing or draining hot water once a year is advised for the system. This process should not be neglected so to have a reliable and efficient water heater. Why flush or drain? The main reason is because of the sediment and corrosion build up in the bottom of the tank. It should be flushed every now and then to maintain the efficiency of the water heater.

What is sediment?
Sediment is the debris or particles or any solid material from your tap that goes in to your water tank. It could be a sand, minerals, calcium carbonate or other grit from your main water system. Most municipal or main water system is not filtered, so this minerals or any solid material will go along in the flow to your tap. Sediment itself is not a problem. The problem starts when large sediment build up in the water tank.

Problems of sediment in the system
Sediment accumulations will increase everyday and eventually settle in the bottom of tank. This action will cause several problem in the water heating system. The following are some ideas:

  • It can interfere the function of the drain valve. Sediment can clog drain valve itself. When this happens, it will affect your regular flushing. Also it can drift to recirculation line and jam the checkvalves. Eventually, it will affect the efficiency of the water heater.
  • It will increase the minerals in the hot water. It is necessary to keep the sediment low in the bottom of the tank to avoid water contamination. Sediment contains minerals, salt, chlorine and others unhealthy compounds. When water is heating, this minerals will be dissolved in greater quantities. This will increase the chemical compound in your hot water. This is why some people advise not to drink it.
  • It will lower the heating element. The sediment that has built up in the bottom of the tank will become insulation between the burner and the water. This will result to slow heating and overworked the system.
  • It may overheat the tank. Since sediment will form insulation between the burner and the tank, it can also result to overheating the tank itself. It will weaken the steel and may damage the glass lining. It will affect the longevity of the water tank.
  • It will be breeding place for bacteria. Sediment can also become a breeding place of bacteria. The rotten egg smell in the water is caused by the bacteria that settles in the sediment.
  • It will cause noise. One more problem of the sediment is the loud noise it creates. When the accumulation of sediment is large, it will create a rumbling and annoying sound.
  • It will affect the efficiency of the system. Considering the problems discussed above, definitely it will affect the efficiency of the water heater.

How to flush?
There are several steps how to do the flushing. Follow the procedure below:

  • First, turn off the power source. If you want to make use of the water in the tank, you can turn off the water heater ahead of time to let the water cool. You can turn it off before bed and do the draining in the morning.
  • Next, connect the garden hose to the drain valve located at the base of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose to a safe place. If you are draining hot water, make sure not to harm yourself, plant or pets. It is better to tie the end of the hose to avoid extra movement. If you are draining cold water, you can save it for other purpose.
  • Third, after few minutes of draining, save some water in a bucket or clear container to check the sediment. If the water is not clean and notice some solid particles in the bottom, continue draining until it becomes clear. After draining and you still notice solid particles and discoloration, turn on the water supply back to add more water in the tank. Then drain again until it is all clear. Sometimes it takes an hour or more to do this process especially when you have not done it regularly.
  • Then, when the water is clean and clear for your satisfaction, you can turn off the drain valve. Then take the water hose off and turn on the water supply back to fill the tank. You can turn on the circuit breaker back and make sure the pilot light is on.

Draining the water heater is not hard but not so easy too. Yet, it is a work that need to be done especially if we want to save. It is easier to do the regular draining than early replacement. If you need this job to be done for you and any other help for your water heater, call us!