It is an Absolute Must to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

It is an Absolute Must to Flush Your Hot Water Heater
March 15, 2012 Lorelie

Having a hot water heater, for most people, is something that is convenient to have at home.  However, many of those who own them do not actually care about its condition, unless something starts to go wrong and it stops working.  A hot water heater that suddenly gives off unusual loud noises typically indicates that you have never flushed it.  Well, don’t feel bad about it.  In fact, there are actually thousands of water heater owners who never felt the need to flush their hot water heater.  If their water heater stops working, they will just throw it out and then buy another one.  However, you need to be aware that the old hot water heater-holding tank that has rusts in it can potentially do a massive amount of damage on your home.

Below are some of the many reasons why you must flush your hot water heater.  Flushing will actually save you some precious money on energy cost.  Furthermore, the sediment that lies at the bottom of the tank displaces your hot water volume, which means that you have less available hot water (not to mention the rust, calcium scale, dirt and iron in the bottom of the tank as well).  Bacteria can also typically grow and thrive in the older tanks in which you could sometimes smell a certain type of sulfur or rotten egg odor.

After you do the first flushing, you may reconsider making some hot chocolate or hot tea straight directly from the hot water tap.  This kind of dirt that will be coming out of the bottom of the water tank can be pretty ugly.

There can be as much as eight inches of sediment that lies at the bottom of a 15-year-old hot water heater, which can be one good reason why you will not be able to have enough hot water whenever you need it.  Flushing your tank can also actually help in making the unit last longer, and by cleaning the unit on an annual basis, you will surely notice any future rusting occurring on the exterior, which indicates that it is time for you to replace the unit or else it may cause flooding in your home.

There are many ways on how to flush a hot water heater:

For electric water heaters – make sure that you turn the power off at the main service entrance box (either the fuse box or the circuit breaker).

For gas water heaters – make sure that you turn the red temperature dial to vacation.  At the top of the water heater tank, you will see the cold water inlet valve.  Turn that off.  At the bottom of the water heater tank, you will see the drain cock or hose bib.   Hook up your garden hose, take the other end outside and away from your flower beds.  If you have a floor drain present, put the end of the hose in the floor drain.  Bear in mind that the water that will come out of the water heater tank is extremely hot, so do not forget to warn others in the surrounding area.

At the top of the water heater and coming from the cold water inlet line, there is normally a flex hose that is attached to the top of the hot water heater which allows the water into the tank.  With the use of some pliers, unscrew the flex hose attachment at the top of the water heater tank and then just flop it over out of the way.  This typically relieves the water pressure building up in the water supply line and tank, which then allows the air to enter the water heater tank for easy drainage.

When the tank is drained once, refill it to about half full and then drain it one more time.  After that, you could say that you have cleaned your unit and you are ready to close it back up again.  Make sure that you have the flex hose on tight again and ensure that there are no drips at the top of the tank.  Prepare some pipe dope nearby in case any drips occur.  Also, while the tank is empty, it is wise to make sure if it is level.  If not, shim and make the tank level prior to refilling it with clean water.

If you happen to notice the presence of foul odors coming from your water such as the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs, it is highly possible that there are bacteria currently existing inside the hot water holding tank.  To eliminate such foul odor and maybe even harmful bacteria, you need to first re-hook the inlet connection line and then allow the tank to re-fill at least half full.  Afterwards, with the use of a funnel, add one gallon of bleach by pouring it in at the top of the water heater at the inlet opening.  Then, completely refill the tank and allow it to set for approximately 30 minutes.  This technique usually kills any bacteria residing in the tank.  After the 30-minute decontamination process, check each and every plumbing fixture (such as sinks, bathtubs, etc.), turn on the hot water side, and then let it run for about a good 15 minutes.  This method should effectively and easily remove most of the bleach in the tank, and after all that, you and your water heater tank are both good to go for another whole year.

If you have your water heater situated in your garage, it should be placed on a platform that is at least 18 inches off the garage floor, just in case gasoline or other highly flammable products should accidentally spill.

If you need to replace your water heater, make it a point to not but the cheapest hot water heater available in the market.   You think that by buying the cheapest hot water heater unit you will be saving lots of money from it, but in reality, it will actually cost you more in the energy consumption factor later on.  Additionally, read the “Energy Factor” on the tank labels.  It is because the higher the numbers, the better the fuel efficiency.  If your area has really hard water available, you may want to flush your system to about twice a year, or consider getting a water softener.  Water softeners could also help with not having to flush your unit very often.  Always check your T&P valve (temperature and pressure relief valve) and make sure that it is perfectly working.  Pull the level and it should let hot water to escape.  If in case the T&P valve is not working properly, do replace it as soon as possible.  It is also highly recommended that the T&P valve must be replaced about every 3 to 4 years for your safety and wellbeing.

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