How and When to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

April 16, 2018

Your hot water heater can last for ten years or more if it is well maintained. One of the mainstays of maintaining your hot water heater if it is a tank model is to drain and flush it routinely. This can remove the buildup of magnesium and calcium deposits that can impact the effectiveness and longevity of your water heater.

When Should You Drain and Flush Your Hot Water Heater?

Typically, hot water heater tanks should be drained and flushed for maintenance once per year during the lifetime of the appliance. However, there are indications that you may need to perform this service sooner. If you notice your water is no longer getting as hot, or your hot water runs out quicker, it may be time for a flush. Also, if you hear odd noises in your water heater tank, it can be an indication of high mineral content that needs to be drained.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

If you want to attempt to flush your hot water heater yourself, it can be done as a DIY project. Start by finding your owner’s manual and checking the instructions for your model. Although each model may be slightly different, the general steps are usually similar. Remember to be careful; there are often hot pipes and components on and near your water heater, so wearing protective gloves is a good idea to avoid burns.

  • Turn off gas or electricity. Your owner’s manual should point out where to turn off the fuel or power for your model.
  • Turn off the water. You should have a water valve for your hot water heater. Shut it off completely before you begin.
  • Turn on a faucet. At a nearby sink or tub, turn on the hot water. This will allow the water to drain easier.
  • Connect a drain hose to the tank. You will need to connect a drain hose (a garden hose can work) to the drain nozzle on the tank. This should empty into a drain or outside.
  • Open the drain valve. Refer to your owner’s manual and open the drain valve to release the water from inside the tank. Be careful – the water coming out will be hot.
  • Flush your tank. Once the tank is completely drained, you want to flush out any remaining sediment. Turn on the water valve and allow it to flow through the tank and out the hose for a few minutes until the water coming out is clear. When it is finished, close the drain valve and remove the hose.
  • Fill up your tank. Turn the water valve back on to fill the hot water heater tank. Open all the hot water spigots in your home to allow any air bubbles to be removed, then shut them off again.
  • Turn the power back on. Finally, turn on the gas or electricity again so your hot water heater can begin heating the fresh water inside.

Flushing your hot water heater is not difficult but can be time consuming, and it does not always fix issues that you are experiencing with obtaining hot water. Having a plumber perform a flush and inspection annually on your hot water heater can save you the inconvenience of doing it yourself and identify any other issues.

At Show Plumbing, we offer hot water heater maintenance service, repairs and replacements for our customers in Cypress and North Houston. Contact our office at 281.860.2000 if you need water heater maintenance, repairs or replacement.