water heater maintenance

How Often Is Water Heater Maintenance Needed?

The big question is, “How often is water heater maintenance needed” Most homeowners don’t know how important it is to maintain their water heater. Our water heaters usually sit in the corner of our garage until something goes wrong, and only then do we jump into action. Why wait until something goes wrong? Performing maintenance on your water heater by draining it and clearing the sediment will promote efficiency and extend the longevity of the appliance.

Why Do I Need To Clean My Tank?

Sediment brought on by hard water, which California is notorious for, builds up in the storage tank, causing the deposit to collect at the bottom. A loose definition of hard water is calcium and magnesium cations and carbonate and bicarbonate anions. While in our drinking water, calcium and magnesium could have some health benefits; but in our water heaters storage tank, the minerals can build up and decrease their efficiency.

How Often Do I Need To Flush My Water Heater?

To ensure the best supply of hot water to your home, the recommendation for flushing a water heater is once a year. Another common question is, “Can the average homeowner complete the procedure?” Someone with basic do-it-yourselfer skills can flush a water heater. 

How To Flush A Water Heater

There are two basic types of water heaters: gas and electric. And while there are two varieties, these directions are geared toward natural gas. 

1. Turn the thermostat knob to “off”; it’s usually found toward the bottom of the tank.

2. Turn off the gas to your water heater. The gas valve is on the pipe leading to the pilot and thermostat.

3. Locate your cold water supply and turn it off. You can find it near the top of your heater.

4. Open your hot water in your bathtub or sink and leave it open during the whole flushing process.

5. Open the pressure relief valve. While this is not mandatory, it can help the water flow easily. Additionally, you’re checking your pressure relief valve in the process killing two birds with one stone. Have a bucket handy for underneath the drainage pipe of your pressure relief valve because the water may rush out and will probably be hot.

6. Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot and take special care by pointing the hose outside or in a bucket.

7. Now it’s time to turn on your spigot and to let the water drain. Continue draining until you water runs clear.

8. Turn your cold water valve on and start flushing the water tank until the water exiting is clear.

When the flush is complete…

  • When the flush is complete, turn off the drainage spigot and remove the hose.
  • Make sure you close your pressure relief valve.
  • The open hot water valve that was left open on your sink or tub now turn to “off.”
  • Now turn the cold water on that’s leading to your heater.
  • When the storage tank is full, open the pressure relief valve to release any pressure.
  • Turn the hot water faucet on to release any air out of the pipes. Once the air is released, turn the water off.
  • Turn your gas back on.
  • Relight your pilot light. The directions are posted on your heater.
  • If your heater is electric, then turn it back on.
  • Wait for 30 minutes and check your hot water by turning on a faucet.

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