Many homeowners take their storage-tank water heater for granted. It sits in the basement, or a utility closet, quietly doing its work year after year, and the only time you think about it is when it stops working, or worse, fails in a dramatic flood of water. However, these simple devices do need minimal maintenance, including flushing sediment from the tank at least once a year. This not only will extend the life of your water heater, but will also allow it to heat water for your household more efficiently.
As time passes, sediment will accumulate in a standard water heater’s storage tank. Depending on what type of water is supplied to your home, this may occur more or less quickly. Harder, mineral- or iron-filled water tends to leave more sediment in the tank. The sediment will reduce the water heater’s efficiency and can accelerate corrosion and tank failure.
How to Flush the Tank
For the most part, all storage water heaters require the same process for flushing out the tank, though there will be minor differences depending on the model on whether the water is heated by gas or electricity. Consult the owner’s manual before flushing the tank to make sure you’ve got the process correct for your particular water heater.
To drain the tank, cut off the electricity or turn the gas model’s dial to “pilot.” Open the pressure relief valve. Shut off the cold water intake, the pipe that brings tap water into the tank. Hook up a garden hose to the drain valve and place the other end of the hose in a working household drain or outside and away from the house. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely. The departing water should take the sediment with it. Reverse the process to end this task.
If you have any doubts about your ability to complete this and other maintenance tasks, contact a trained professional.
For more advice on maintaining HVAC and other systems, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve been serving the Greater Cleveland area for 80 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.
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