Why It’s Important to Flush & Clean Your Hot Water Tank

Because of the large amount of water that passes through them, hot water heaters accumulate sediment, minerals, and other small pieces of debris that can affect their performance and shorten their lifespans. The best way to keep your hot water heater operating at its best is to flush and clean it on a regular basis.

Flushing and cleaning your hot water tank is a relatively simple task that can be completed in less than one hour. It’s especially important to flush and clean your hot water tank if you live in an area with hard water, as your water carries more deposits that will settle inside the tank and ultimately reduce its efficiency and lifespan.

How Do You Flush a Hot Water Tank?

Draining, flushing, and cleaning a hot water tank can be completed by a professional, or you can do yourself. If you decide to take on the project yourself, you’ll need the following equipment for most types of hot water tanks:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Garden hose
  • Bucket

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the electricity going to the hot water tank. You should also turn off the tank’s water supply.
  2.  Attach a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve. Direct the other end of the hose to a nearby drain or bucket. If you’re emptying the tank directly into a drain, place a colander over the drain to catch the sediment.
  3. Turn on the hot water tap at a sink near the hot water tank to reduce built-up water pressure. Ideally, this tap will be one floor above the tank.
  4. With the hose still attached, open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and allow all water to empty into the bucket or nearby drain. Be careful as the water from the tank drains—it may still be hot.
  5. After all water has drained from the tank, briefly restore the tank’s water supply via the water control valve. Continue turning it off and on to stir up and remove any remaining sediment while the tank continues to drain.
  6. Close the drain valve, remove the hose, and allow the tank to fill again with cold water. Return to the nearest sink and turn on the hot water tap, turning it off once cold water begins to flow. Finally, check the valve opening to ensure it is fully closed before restoring electricity to the tank.

Contact a Professional Plumbing Service If You Run into Trouble

Not all hot water tanks are built the same, and some may require more specialized equipment or knowledge to properly flush. If you aren’t equipped to do the job yourself—or if you don’t feel comfortable attempting it—calling an experienced and professional plumbing service is a great way to make sure the job gets done safely and correctly.

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