Over time sediment such as rust, calcium, and other debris can build up in your water tank and cause it to wear out faster than normal. The sediment also displaces the water in your tank and reduces the amount of hot water you'll have available for taking showers and cleaning dishes. The sediment also increases your utility costs since it takes more energy to heat up the sediment than it does to heat up water. Many plumbers recommend that you flush your how water tank out at least once a year, especially in areas where there is a lot of hard water. Here is how you can flush out your hot water tank.
You Will Need
- Garden Hose
- Five-Gallon Buckets
You need to shut off the hot tank before you flush it out. Turn the power off at the circuit breaker or fuse box if it's an electric hot water tank. If it is a gas one, turn the thermostat until it is in the "pilot" position. You should also shut off the gas going to the tank – the shut-off valve should be located on the gas line near the tank. For an extra measure of safety, allow the water to cool inside the tank to protect you from getting scalded as the water drains out of the tank.
Shut-off the cold water supply at the top of the tank by turning the ball valve handle until it is perpendicular to the pipe, or if it's a gate valve, until you twist the handle clockwise until it stops. Open a hot water faucet in your kitchen or bathroom to allow air into the pipes to help prevent a vacuum from developing in the tank (this would cause the water to flow out very slowly).
Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. If you have a floor drain in your basement, put the open end of the hose in it so the water flows directly into it. Otherwise, you might have to fill five-gallon buckets up one at a time and carry it outside to pour the water out (you can also pour it into a toilet or utility sink).
Turn the cold water valve back on to flush out any sediment that might be sitting at the bottom of the tank. When the water starts to run clear, remove the hose and close the drain valve. Leave the cold water valve in the open position so the tank fills up with water. Remove the garden hose from the drain valve. Once the tank is full, turn the power or gas back on (you'll also have to relight the pilot if it's a gas tank) and allow the water to heat up. For assistance, talk to a water heater repair specialist.Share