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Why Your Water Heater Needs to be Flushed


Water heaters are probably one of the most forgotten about plumbing fixtures in a home, and yet they are a staple in any home. They provide heated water safely and effectively as easily as turning on a tap. They are typically out of sight—located in quiet corners of the house like the basement where nobody visits often, and they do their jobs pretty silently.

There’s a downside, however, to this quiet operation. When problems do arise they don’t always attract attention, and they can spread until they’re fairly extensive. In many cases, what could be a simple repair job becomes an unplanned replacement, driving up the costs and adding time as well as expense to the operation.

Can Problems Be Prevented?

Yes, many of the worst water heater problems can be prevented with one very important Carmel Valley, CA water heater service—water heater maintenance. Routine maintenance from a trained plumber will help ensure that it stays in good shape for the years to come, working as efficiently and effectively as possible. There is one maintenance task that is especially important, and that task is flushing the water tank, which gets rid of sediment that has settled in the tank.

Why Is Sediment a Problem?

This is actually one of the most common issues with tank water heaters—the gradual buildup of sediment on the bottom of the tank. While not as large of a problem as it is in other parts of the country, our soil can leave many minerals in the water, like calcium and magnesium, which is harmless to ingest, but can be harsh on the plumbing fixtures throughout your home, including your water heater. These minerals are what form to make the sediment that becomes a problem.

The reason it’s a problem is that the sediment forms an insulating barrier between the heat source below the tank and the water that it is intended to warm. Not only will this force the water heater to work harder to do its job—increasing your bills in the meantime—but the heat intended for the water will disperse along the bottom of the tank. This adds to the stress on the tank bottom considerably and can cause damages if not dealt with.

Can I Flush the Tank on My Own?

There are many maintenance tasks that must be performed by a professional, for safety reasons and to keep your warranty up to date. If need be between appointments, however, you could flush the tank on your own, if you have the right tools. Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Turn off the gas and electricity to the water heater! (This is the most important step)
  2. Open up a hot water tap in either your tub or shower, allowing it to run for about 10 minutes, as this reduces the amount of hot water present in the tank.
  3. Shut off water to the tank, leaving the shower or tub tap open to prevent a vacuum from forming.
  4. Open the drain valve in the water heater and attach a garden hose to it. Connect the other end to a drain or similar receptacle to hold the water.
  5. Open the pressure valve at the top of the water tank to start the flow of water.
  6. Wait until all the water is drained, then turn the water back on.
  7. Close the pressure valve, close the drain valve, turn off your bath or shower tap, and then you can go ahead and turn the gas and electricity back on.

For expert water heater services in the San Diego area, contact the team at Paws Plumbing, Inc. See what happens when you “Hire Paws Plumbing!”