How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater: Benefits and Risks

If you have been wondering, “How often should you flush your water heater?” you’re in the right place. Learn more about water heater repair here.

It can be easy to forget about your water heater after installation. That is, until the water pressure or shower temperature in your home changes suddenly. Fortunately, there are simple maintenance steps to take to help your water heater run longer.

Water heaters should have regularly scheduled inspections and flushes to ensure that the heater is in working order. The manufacturer’s manual can help homeowners determine a regular schedule. Homeowners should hire professional plumbers to handle the maintenance.

Professional plumbers make flushing your water heater a hassle-free experience. Some aspects of the draining and flushing process can be dangerous without proper training. A professional plumbing team has the training and expertise to maintain your water heater safely.

Plumbers Answer the Question of How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater

So, how often should you flush your water heater? The frequency of the water heater flushing service depends on a few key factors, including:

  • Amount of sediment in your water source
  • Number of people in your home
  • Frequency of hot water usage

If your water source has high sediment and your home has no filtering system, the water heater tank may need to be flushed more often. High sediment may also occur more frequently in homes that rely on well water. Some municipal sources can have abnormally high sediment levels as well.

Other than sediment levels, the number of people and frequency of use impact the service interval for water heater flushing. There are a few generalized guidelines to help homeowners determine how often to flush their water heater. These guidelines are as follows:

  • One- to two-person households = two inspections per year and one flush per year
  • Two- to five-person households = three inspections per year and one flush every eight months
  • Six- or more person household = three inspections per year and two flushes per year

When there are more people in the household, the water usage goes up. The increase in use will pull more water from the source, bringing along any sediment. The sediment accumulates and settles in the bottom of the tank until you perform a flush.

14 Steps to Drain and Flush a Water Heater

Now that you know the answer to “how often should you flush your water heater,” you might wonder how to go about flushing your water heater. We’ve put together a general guide on the steps to draining and flushing a water heater.

  1. Turn off the water heater using the main power knob.
  2. Turn off the fuel source (gas or electric) to the water heater.
  3. Allow the water heater and water tank to cool for maximized safety.
  4. Turn off the cold water supply line to the water heater.
  5. Turn on the hot water of a nearby faucet to allow the tank to drain more easily. (Skipping this step may result in prolonged draining time.)
  6. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve of the water heater.
  7. Position the other end of the hose to a nearby drain or outside the house.
  8. Begin to drain your water heater by opening the drain valve (water in the tank may still retain heat, use caution while draining the tank).
  9. Allow the water to drain from the water heater tank fully.
  10. When the water tank runs empty, reopen the cold water supply to allow fresh water into the tank to rinse away remaining sediment until water runs clear from the hose.
  11. Once the cold water from the drain hose is clear, close the drain valve, close the hot water faucet, and remove the garden hose from the drain valve. Use caution while moving the hose after removal, as any remaining water can spill.
  12. Allow the water heater to fill with water from the cold water supply line.
  13. Restore gas or electricity to the water heater.
  14. Turn the water heater on and set it to the desired temperature.

The draining and flushing process takes time to complete. The tank should cool for at least an hour or more before beginning the draining and flushing process. The size of your water tank will determine how long the draining and flushing phases last.

Large water heater tanks (30 gallons or more) or multiple water heater systems will take longer to drain and flush than single, small water heater systems. Some water heater systems may need repeated flushing to ensure the complete removal of sediment.

You should speak with an experienced local plumber if you feel unsure about the location or operation of water heater fuel sources or water supply lines. You can also hire reliable plumbers at Core Plumbing, who can perform the draining and flushing for you.

Why Should You Flush Your Water Heater Regularly

The draining and flushing process is a part of responsible water heater maintenance. Regular water heater maintenance helps to remove the sediment that gathers at the bottom of the tank. Some of the risks of ignoring water heater maintenance can include:

  • Poor energy efficiency drives up utility bills
  • Evidence of sediment in water from faucets
  • Sediment clogs that change water pressure or cause pipes to burst
  • Water heater failure leading to a costly replacement

Remember to create a regular maintenance schedule to ensure the water heater operates properly for the longest possible time. By investing in routine maintenance, homeowners can prevent costly repairs and untimely replacements.

Water Heater Maintenance Services in San Diego

If you still have concerns about the question of “how often should you flush your water heater,” talk to a professional plumber for more in-depth guidance.

Core Plumbing offers San Diego water heater repair and maintenance services. Make an appointment to flush your water heater with a Core Plumbing technician by calling (858) 538-6025.