Flushing Your Water Heater: Spring Cleaning Your Plumbing System

It's time for spring and summer maintenance on your home, and that means flushing out your water heater. It's not as difficult as it sounds, and in fact, flushing your water heater will make the water heater last longer and improve function. The buildup of sediment in your water heater can cause the drain valve to stop working, and mineral build up at the bottom of your water heater can cause your hot water taps to rust.

Flushing Your Water Heater Step by Step

1. Turn it off. If your water heater is powered by electricity, shut it off. If it is gas powered, put the gas on the lowest possible setting.

2. Generally found at the top of the heater, the cold water tap needs to be turned off.

3. At the bottom of the heater, use a garden hose attached to the drain valve to remove water from the tank.

4.  To help the water heater drain more quickly, turn on the hot water taps throughout the house.

5. Without using too much muscle so you don't destroy the drain valve, open it up and allow the water to drain. It will take time, especially if the drain has a lot of sediment in it.

6. Once the water heater is empty, make sure to re-close the drain valve. Now it is safe to turn back on the cold water. Allow the water heater to fill up 50%, and then turn the cold water tap off again.

7. Open up the drain valve again, allowing the cold water you just put in the tank to drain out. If the water is free from sediment, you are ready to move on to step eight. If the water is still dirty, go back to step six and try again.

8. Now that the water is clear, shut the drain valve, open the cold water tap and let it flow until the water heater is full.

9. Turn your water heater back on either by switching the electricity back on, or turning the gas to where it was before.

You are now finished with flushing out your water heater. You have cleaned your system, and improved the efficiency of your water heating unit. If you are too nervous to complete this task on your own, call in one or several professional plumbers that will get the job done quickly for you. Keep your water heater running smoothly with a yearly spring cleaning.