Sediment problems are unavoidable with storage-tank water heaters. At high temperatures, minerals naturally present in water form into sediment and slowly settle at the bottom of the tank. If you’re not flushing the tank annually, this sediment buildup can block the electric element or gas burner and decrease your water heater’s energy efficiency. Over time, a severe accumulation can reduce the unit’s capacity, clog the drain valve, block your home’s plumbing lines and even cause a premature water heater failure.
How to Flush a Storage-Tank Water Heater
Flushing out your water heater’s storage tank can be done by following these steps:
- If you have an electric model, shut off the circuit breaker in your home’s electrical panel. With a gas unit, put the burner on “pilot.”
- Shut off the cold water supply to the tank. For safety reasons, wait a few hours until the water in the tank cools down.
- Place a bucket under the unit’s pressure relief valve and test it. If no water or air comes out, you’ll know the valve is working properly. Attach one end of your garden hose to the tank’s drain valve. Put the other end in a floor drain, laundry tub or bathtub.
- Turn on a nearby hot water faucet, then open the heater’s drain valve and let the tank empty. If the valve clogs up with sediment, turn the unit’s cold water supply on then off again to boost the water pressure.
- Once the tank is empty, close the valve and turn on the cold water supply long enough to partially refill the tank. Repeat the above filling and draining process until the expelled water runs clear.
- Close the drain valve and turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank. When water starts to flow from your open faucet, close it. Finally, turn on the electricity or gas so the water heater is operational again.
For expert advice about flushing sediment out of the water heater in your Grand Traverse County home, contact the pros at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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