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How Do I Flush My Water Heater?

tightening up pipework

Do you need to drain your water heater? Yes, all water heaters, including tankless models, must be emptied at least once a year to remove built-up sediment. And as hard water is a pervasive problem in and around Sarasota, FL, you should do it more often.

Fortunately, draining a water heater is a relatively simple DIY task you can complete in under an hour using tools you probably already have, including:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Hammer
  • Bucket
    • Hacksaw
    • Plumber’s tape
    • Knee pads
    • Rags
    • Shop vacuum

While the task is easy to ignore (out of sight, out of mind!), flushing a water heater extends its life and keeps it running like new.

If you’d rather leave the work to a professional plumber, call ABC Southwest Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 941-225-2182 or contact us online to schedule services today!

Step-by-Step Guide to Flushing Your Water Heater

If it’s been years since you flushed your water heater, you might be surprised to see how much sediment has accumulated at the bottom. A typical warning sign of excessive sediment buildup is a rumbling or popping noise caused by steam bubbles percolating in the debris. And no matter which type of water heater you have, sediment can cause significant issues that could lead to expensive water heater repairs:

  • In gas water heaters, it creates damaging “hot spots” that can cause early failure.
  • Electric water heaters can cause the heating element to fail.
  • Clogs can prevent regular heating activity and uneven hot water distribution in tankless units.

Okay, it’s time to flush the water heater!

Step 1: Turn off the heater and the water supply

To turn off a gas water heater, locate the thermostat near the tank’s bottom and turn the knob on top to “off.” You’ll also want to turn off the gas supply by turning the valve on the gas pipe that leads to the pilot light to “off.”

For an electric heater, flip the breaker that supplies power to the water heater to “off.”

Wait for the water heater to cool down.

Step 2: Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drainage spigot

Before attaching the hose, turn on the hot water in one of your sinks and leave it running during the flushing process. This prevents a vacuum from forming while you drain the tank.

Now, place one end of the hose into the bucket, a floor drain, or directly outside the house. Attach the hose’s other end to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Open the valve, and water will flow out of the tank. Continue letting it flow until the water runs clear.

Step 3: Turn the water supply back on

Keep the drain valve open and turn the cold water back on. This removes any lingering sediment. Again, wait for the water to run clear.

Step 4: Return the water heater to service

Close the drain valve and detach the garden hose. If the cold water supply valve is on, the tank will start refilling, and you can turn off the hot water tap you opened earlier.

Turn the gas back on or flip the breaker and check the valve for leaks. If all looks good, the job’s complete!

**Note: Before getting started, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if there are any special considerations with your water heater. For instance, some tanks must always be full. If you detect any issues or the tank won’t drain, call ABC Southwest, and one of our technicians will inspect your unit.

Call us at 941-225-2182 or contact us online to schedule services today!

Why Choose ABC Southwest?

Draining your water heater reduces noise, enhances efficiency, extends the unit’s life span, and can help you save money on your utility bills.

ABC Southwest provides homeowners in Sarasota, FL, and the surrounding areas with the efficient and friendly plumbing services they need to live comfortably. All our technicians receive advanced training and certification to keep informed on the industry’s latest tools, technologies, and techniques. We schedule appointments around your schedule, arrive on time, and treat your home with the respect it deserves.

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