Manufacturers (like Rheem, Bradford White, State and AO Smith) recommend flushing the heater yearly. Water heater maintenance like this helps reduce the sediment accumulation and calcification build up on the inside of the tank. All water heaters (Natural Gas, Propane and Electric) accumulate sediment/calcification over the years.
Proper maintenance will increase the longevity of your water heater. It will also help to maintain its normal parameters of operation and efficiency. Yearly flushing allows the sediment and calcification particles to pass through the drain since they are still small. We offer a yearly maintenance protection plan where we flush the heater with a plumbing inspection. We also offer 10% off all future service work after being signed up.
Over the years of no maintenance, this sediment and calcification can begin to solidify. This can make it very difficult or nearly impossible to drain when needed. Also, when not refilled properly, it can send particles through the waterlines of the home clogging fixtures. This build up (when not treated) begins to take up volume inside your heater as well. This creates an insulated layer of sediment between the burner and/or element decreasing the heating capacity/efficiency. This reduces the amount of hot water that can be produced as well. When this happens, water heater replacement tends to be the only option.
Proper Water Heater Maintenance Procedure:
- Turn water to the water heater off.
- Turn gas valve on water heater to “pilot” or switch off the breaker in the electrical panel (if no disconnect is present).
- Open a faucet in the home on Hot Water Only (if possible, on the level above, otherwise any faucet will work).
- Attach a hose to the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater and run the other end to a drain, sump pump or to daylight.
- Open the drain valve allowing the water heater to gravity drain (This process could take up to an hour depending on the size of your water heater).
- After the draining is complete, turn off the drain valve.
- Partially open up the water supply valve (no more than half way).
- Once water begins to come out of the open faucet from step (3), turn off the faucet.
- Turn Gas Valve back to “On” or to the desired temperature for natural gas/propane models. Turn the breaker in the electrical panel back to on for electric models (Do Not Have power on for an electric water heater while no water is in the tank or the elements will blow and need to be replaced. This is called “Dry Firing”).
- Wait about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the equipment, for it to reach the desired temperature setting.