How to flush hot water heater properly and what are the benefits. Why is flushing important for your heater? Step-by-step instructions with a video. How to use vinegar and chlorine to clean and remove deposits.
Low water pressure, flow, efficiency and performance, or even worse, shorter heater’s life, are problems that occur due to the sediment build-up inside the heater’s tank. The lime-scale buildup is number one reason why flushing is recommended by the manufacturers and experts, and that it should be done regularly - at least once a year.
Flushing a water heater is an easy DIY project that doesn't require any special skills or tools.
You don't have to be an electrician or gas technician to flush the hot water heater. Just use the recommended tools, follow the guide and be careful when dealing with the hot water, due to scalding.
Flushing a water heater should be done as recommended by the manufacturers. Sediment deposits at the bottom of the heater's tank are the problem as it will affect the normal operation and increase the heating costs.
This is especially important for gas heaters, as deposits can form between the heat source (combustion chamber and gas burner) and water, creating something like insulation, so less heat is transferred to water.
Also, sediments can create hot spots that can damage the tank and cause the elements to fail or leak. You might even see the residues coming out of the tap.
If you haven’t flushed a tank for a long time and planning to drain water using the drain valve, you might get a surprise. Once you open the drain valve, the debris could clog the valve and prevent it from closing. This will force you to replace the element as it would be tough to perform maintenance and service. If the plastic valve was used, you might have to break it into pieces to remove it. Replace it with the durable brass-type valve.
Most of the newer models, either from Rheem, AO Smith or Bradford White manufacturers utilize self-cleaning systems to reduce the risk of the buildup, but still, regular flushing is recommended.
Sometimes it is needed to flush the hot water heater several times.
Sometimes it is needed to flush the hot water heater several times. During the flushing, you will see white particles coming out through the drain valve or even brown water... this is normal. Flush the hot water heater often, at least once or twice a year or based on the quality of the incoming water.
If you live in the area where water is very hard you might have to do the flushing more often. Installing a water softener is a good idea to prevent mineral build-up, while deliming solution, such as phosphoric acid at a food-grade level, will dissolve the sediments so it can be flushed away from the heater.
We also do flushing if water is discolored or contains chlorine odor after chlorination procedure, which was used to eliminate various bacteria accumulated in the heater.
If the water heater is heavily covered with the deposits, while flushing, the drain valve might get clogged and not close fully, leading to leaks. This might require you to replace the element, especially if it is plastic. The new, brass drain valve is stronger and can last longer.
Flushing a water heater with chlorine is the procedure we use to eliminate bacteria that is found in water heating systems. What indicates that there are bacteria, is the rotten egg odor and discolored water.
Here is the procedure for chlorination:
If you live in the area where water is very hard you might have to flush it more often. Installing a water softener is a good idea to prevent mineral build-up, while a deliming solution, such as phosphoric acid at a food-grade level, will dissolve the sediments so it can be flushed away from the heater.
You can also flush the tank if hot water is discolored or contains chlorine odor after chlorination procedure, which was used to eliminate various bacteria accumulated in the heater.
As it can be seen, water heater flushing is not a big deal, and it is beneficial. This is a DIY project and doesn’t require any special skills. So don’t worry, it doesn’t have any downsides, just the benefits.