When you have a water heater that has a storage tank, you have to expect sediment to accumulate inside it over time. When your storage tank is full of sediment, the efficiency of your hot water system is going to take a hit. If you have a gas burner, the accumulated sediment will insulate the water and therefore slow down the heating of the water. When sediment gathers at the bottom of the tank as it typically does, the bottom of the tank could overheat and weaken the steel as well as damage its glass lining.
Needless to say, all these shorten the life of your hot water system, which is why you need to flush it once a year. If you’re going to do it yourself, you can follow these easy steps to flushing your water heater.
1. If you have one of those electric hot water systems, turn off the circuit breaker, and if it’s gas-powered, turn it off at the source. Let it cool for about an hour before proceeding.
2. Find the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Get a garden hose and hook it up to that valve while bringing the other end of the outside or anywhere you can safely drain all the water.
3. Close the cold water inlet valve which you can find at the top of the tank.
4. Start emptying the tank by opening the drain valve, and when all water has been flushed, shut it off.
5. Open the cold water inlet valve and let cold water flow into the tank and partly fill it. Close the valve on top, open the drain valve and let the water flow out. Shut off the drain when done.
6. Now you can refill the tank, but you have to bleed off excess air at the same time. To do this, find the hot water faucet closest to you and open it. While doing this, fill the tank from the cold water inlet until the hot water tap disperses water.
7. For gas hot water systems, re-light the pilot light. For electric hot water systems, turn the circuit breaker back on.
Remember, however, that these steps may not be appropriate for all water heater brands. If your hot water system remains functioning at less than a hundred percent even after you followed the above easy steps to flushing your water heater, your only other real option is to get the services of a professional plumber who can flush your water heater efficiently and effectively while checking it out for other possible problems at the same time.