Water heater manufacturers and plumbers around the world recommend, at minimum, a yearly flushing. 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 while helping to maintain its normal parameters of operation and efficiency. Flushing a water heater yearly after the date of install allows the sediment and calcification particles to pass through the drain valve and hose while they are still small.
Over the years of no maintenance this sediment and calcification can begin to solidify inside of the tank making it very difficult or nearly impossible to drain and when not refilled properly, can send particles through the waterlines of the home clogging fixtures such as showers and faucets. This build up (when not treated) begins to take up volume inside your heater, reducing the amount of hot water that can be produced as well as creating an insulated layer of sediment between the burner and/or element decreasing the heating capacity/efficiency.
Proper Flushing Procedure:
- Turn water to the water heater off.
- Turn gas valve on water heater to “pilot” or switch of the breaker in the electrical panel (if no disconnect is present) for the water heater.
- Open a faucet in the home on Hot Water Only (if possible, on the level above the water heater, 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 the water supply to the water heater (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 water heater, for it to reach the desired temperature setting.