Do you ever ask yourself, “How often should I flush my water heater?”. There are a lot of little tasks involved with keeping your home in good condition. The roof will need to be inspected and small damages repaired, the foundation should be watched closely, and of course, your landscaping needs constant trimming. The appliances inside your home also need to be maintained, and it’s not just about emptying the dryer lint and changing out your HVAC filters. The water heater, in particular, is one of the most independent appliances in your home because it hardly ever needs maintenance or even any attention paid to it to do its job serving hot water to the rest of the house. However, a water heater is not entirely maintenance-free.
While your water heater can last for many years reliably, the one task every homeowner should remember is to flush the water heater. Read on to answer the question, “How often should I flush my water heater?”.
Why Water Heaters Need Flushing
Water flows through your water heater constantly from either the city water main or a well on your property. This water has been filtered, sometimes treated, and tested to ensure that it is safe to drink, but it’s not 100% H2O. All tap water has a certain amount of dissolved minerals and microscopic particles that are often deposited on the pipes the water flows through, and when heated they can settle at the bottom of your water heater in a layered mass known as sediment. This is just like what happens when you scoop ocean water into a toy bucket at the beach. The sand settles to the bottom.
However, this sediment is not good for your water heater, and it tends to settle right on top of the heating elements, heating and cooling again and again until it forms a more solid mass. The sediment first makes it harder for the heating element to heat your water, thus wasting energy, and can eventually damage the water heater itself. Too much loose sediment can also escape and begin filling your pipes and even flowing out the taps.
Flushing a Water Heater
The flushing process is straightforward in principle but sometimes complicated in practice. Mostly, you turn off the intake valve and the water heater itself. Then a professional will empty the remaining water through a hose into an approved drain. This flush will remove most of the still-loose sediment naturally. After that, your local plumber will open up the heater and clean any residue or caked-on sediment off of the heating elements and out of your heater tank. They will then carefully close up and switch your water heater back on to fill and heat water as usual.
How Often to Flush Your Water Heater
Fortunately, there is not very much sediment in any single gallon or the full tank of water so it takes a little while before your water heater will need to be flushed after the first installation and then after each flushing. Unless the water in your home is particularly hard or you often see sediment coming out of the tap itself (a risk with high-sediment water or un-flushed heaters), it’s generally safe to schedule your water heater flushing for once a year.
We hope you now know the answer to the question, “How often should I flush my water heater?”. It’s not uncommon for your local plumbing service to call you up annually for a friendly reminder that heater flushing needs to occur to make your water heater last a good long life. If you’d like more information about how to properly care for your water heater or to schedule a professional water heater flushing for your home, contact Kew Forest Plumbing today.