You may have heard that a water heater is on its last days if it begins to dispense sediment in the water through your faucets and if it does not produce the same amount of hot water as it once did. This could very well be the case, but it could also be caused by a buildup of sediment in the bottom of your hot water tank. To determine if your hot water heater is in need of replacement, you can flush the tank and monitor it for productivity and efficiency. Here, you will learn how to flush your hot water tank to begin monitoring it.
Gather the needed supplies:
- Garden hose or bucket
- Towels for emergency clean up
Cut the Power
Begin by turning off the power or gas to the water heater. You must stop the heating elements from heating while you empty the tank. Failure to do so could cause the heating elements to burn out during the flushing process.
Connect the Hose
At the bottom of your water heater, you will see a spigot. Connect a garden hose to the spigot. Be sure that the hose is threaded onto the spigot properly so that water does not shoot out at the connection and make a big mess.
Note: If you do not have a garden hose, you will be placing a bucket at the spigot to catch the water that will be drained out of the tank. This method of flushing your tank will take significantly longer and will likely make a much larger mess, so if you can borrow a hose, do it.
Run the Hose
Run the hose outside of your home, into a sink or down a floor drain. If you are draining the tank outside, be sure do to it in an area where it will not run back into the side of your house and seep in through the foundation. Also, be sure that children and pets are kept away from the area to prevent scalding burns.
Flush the Tank
Open the drain nozzle and let the water flow out of the tank. Allow the in-going water to continue to flow into the tank. This will help to break up the sediment that is left in the tank after the water has drained. Go to the end of the hose and watch for the water to run clear. Do not stop flushing the tank until you no longer see sediment or rust colored water flowing from the hose.
Fill the Tank
Once the water flows clear, close the drain and allow the hot water tank to fill. Once the tank has filled, turn on the electricity and/or restore the gas. Light the pilot and wait for the water to heat.
Monitor the productivity of the water tank for the next couple of weeks. If you do not see any improvement, contact your local water heater installation company to learn about having it replaced.