Any appliance — from one as simple as a toaster to one as complex as your hot water heater — needs maintenance to work properly. One of the most important aspects of hot water heater maintenance is periodically draining its tank to clear it of sediment. Based on our experience as a Sacramento plumbing company, we can tell you how to flush your hot water heater, and when to do it.
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Why Does My Water Tank Need Cleaning?
In a way, having to clean your hot water tank seems counterintuitive. It’s only water… isn’t it? Well, it is, and isn’t. Besides H2O, your water supply also contains the chemicals used to purify it, and numerous dissolved minerals and other solids. Those minerals are safe — even necessary — for humans, but they can wreak havoc on your plumbing, especially when there’s heat involved.
“Hard water” merely refers to a higher-than-average concentration of those minerals. If you have hard water, you’re likely to notice a scaly buildup on plumbing fixtures. It’s also building up in appliances that rely on your water supply, from your coffee maker to your hot water heater. As it accumulates, it causes clogs, damage, and a loss of efficiency. Luckily, there’s a solution.
How Do I Know My Water Heater Needs a Flush?
Hard water deposits don’t happen overnight. However, over a period of months, they accumulate to a point where they cause problems. How do you know if your hot water heater needs a helping hand?
- You’re noticing that hot water runs out faster than it used to
- You see that your water flow is slower, especially from sinks and shower heads
- You fill a glass with hot water and notice a cloudy appearance, followed by particulate matter that settles out
- There’s visible sediment coming from your water heater’s drain valve
- The drain valve ceases working at all
How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater?
Experts generally recommend that you drain and remove the sediment from your water heater at least once a year. This helps to ensure the greatest supply of hot water to your home, and also prevents the sediment from corroding the water heater’s components.
My Hot Water Heater Doesn’t Have a Tank. Does it Need Flushing?
The internal workings of hybrid and tankless water heaters are a bit different. However, these also need maintenance. If your home has this type of water heater, Ace Plumbing can help you keep it in good working order.
How Is a Water Heater Tank Flushed?
While flushing a hot water heater tank isn’t terribly complex, it is a multi-step process.
- Turn off power and fuel to the water heater
- Run water from a faucet to lower water levels and decrease temperature
- Open the drain valve to release the remaining water
- Fill and repeat; this helps to clear sediment from the tank
- Close the valve, refill the tank, then resume access to power and fuel
If you’re inexperienced, it’s easy to forget one or more steps, which can in turn harm the water heater or to the person servicing it; you also run the risk of damaging fragile components. Our advice is to call Ace Plumbing for routine hot water heater maintenance in Sacramento. We’ve done this often enough, and on a wide enough range of water heater types and brands, that we can ensure it’s done properly and safely the first time.
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A plumbing maintenance task doesn’t need to be complex to be important. While it’s simple, flushing your hot water heater tank annually ensures that you have enough hot water exactly when you need it, and a lower chance of hot water heater repair. The help you need is as close as your next call to Ace Plumbing!