Hot water tanks are one of the most common ways that homeowners choose to heat their water. These large tanks hold water and heat it before allowing it to flow throughout the home's piping system. However, maintenance is still needed, as these tanks can corrode and fall into disrepair without regular maintenance. One form of this maintenance involves flushing the water heater itself.
Why You Need To Flush the Tank
Water heaters collect water from your municipal water provider, and that water will almost certainly have some form of mineral content. This mineral content is not harmful by itself, but it can very easily collect in the bottom of the tank. This means that the heating (usually coming from the bottom of the tank) will become uneven over time, and the tank might have to work harder to heat the water, raising your bill. Additionally, the sediment build-up can affect the pipes themselves and cause a clog in the long-run. You can either hire a plumber to flush your tank yearly (or more) or flush the tank yourself.
How to Flush Your Water Heater
Flushing your water heater is something you can generally do at home. You need to check the instructions and warnings for your specific water heater, but many of the guidelines are fairly similar. You will need to shut off your water and your tank's heat and connect a garden hose to the tank and some storage container so that the water will not splash everywhere (it's usually extremely hot). Once connected, you will need to open up the faucets and the valves so that the water starts to drain out. Once drained, you can then turn the water back on while continuing to drain the water until it's clear. Then, close the valve and let the water fill the tank until the faucets leak clear water. Finally, close the faucets and turn the heat (and pilot light) back on.
Other Maintenance Concerns
You should check your water heater for maintenance concerns beyond flushing. For example, the anode rod allows itself to rust inside the water tank so that the stainless steel reservoir can remain intact, as the ions within the water looking to balance themselves will just corrode the rod instead of the tank. These need to be replaced regularly. Additionally, the pipes connecting to the water heater tank are at risk of corrosion themselves and should be checked for leaks.
When maintaining your water heater, it is important to flush the tank. This involves turning off the water and the heat and draining the water, then running extra water until it runs clear through the hose you use. Finally, you should also check the anode rod and the pipes for corrosion. If you need help maintaining your water heater, contact a plumber.