Water Heater Maintenance: Why Flushing Your Water Heater is Crucial

At Bakersfield Plumbing Company, we’ve been proudly serving Bakersfield, CA since 1910. With over a century of experience, we understand the importance of regular maintenance for your plumbing systems, particularly your water heater. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why water heater flushing is essential, how often it should be done, and the benefits of keeping your water heater in top shape.

Why Flushing Your Water Heater is Important

  1. Prevent Sediment Buildup: Over time, minerals like calcium and magnesium found in hard water can settle at the bottom of your water heater tank, forming a layer of sediment. This sediment buildup can reduce the efficiency of your water heater, leading to higher energy bills and potentially shortening the lifespan of the unit. Regularly flushing your water heater helps remove these deposits, ensuring your water heater runs efficiently.
  2. Improve Heating Efficiency: Sediment acts as an insulating layer between the heating elements and the water, making it harder for the heater to warm up the water. By flushing out the sediment, you allow the heating elements to work more effectively, resulting in faster water heating and reduced energy consumption.
  3. Extend Water Heater Lifespan: Consistent maintenance, including flushing, can significantly extend the life of your water heater. Sediment buildup can cause the tank to overheat and potentially fail prematurely. Regular flushing helps prevent these issues, allowing your water heater to operate smoothly for many years.
  4. Reduce Noise: If you’ve ever heard popping or rumbling noises coming from your water heater, it’s likely due to sediment buildup. As the sediment heats up and moves around, it can create these sounds. Flushing the tank can help eliminate these noises, ensuring quiet operation.

How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater?

The frequency of flushing your water heater depends on the hardness of your water and the manufacturer’s recommendations. In general, it’s a good idea to flush your water heater at least once a year. However, if you have particularly hard water, you may need to flush it more frequently, such as every six months.

Steps to Flush Your Water Heater

Flushing your water heater is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s important to follow the correct steps to avoid any damage:

  1. Turn Off the Power and Water Supply: For electric water heaters, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. For gas water heaters, set the thermostat to the “pilot” setting. Then, turn off the cold water supply valve.
  2. Connect a Hose to the Drain Valve: Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose in a suitable drainage location, such as a floor drain or outside.
  3. Drain the Tank: Open the drain valve and allow the water to flow out. Be cautious as the water will be very hot. Once the tank is empty, close the drain valve.
  4. Flush the Tank: Turn the cold water supply back on for a few minutes to flush out any remaining sediment. Allow the water to flow until it runs clear. Then, close the drain valve and disconnect the hose.
  5. Refill and Restart: Close the drain valve and turn the cold water supply back on to refill the tank. Once the tank is full, turn the power back on for electric heaters or reset the thermostat for gas heaters.

Knowing When to Flush Your Water Heater

In addition to the recommended annual maintenance, there are signs that indicate your water heater may need flushing sooner:

  • Reduced Hot Water Supply: If you notice a decrease in the amount of hot water, it may be due to sediment buildup reducing the tank’s capacity.
  • Strange Noises: Popping, banging, or rumbling sounds are a clear indication that sediment is present and the tank needs flushing.
  • Discolored Water: If the hot water from your taps appears rusty or has a metallic taste, it could be a sign that sediment or corrosion is affecting your water heater.
  • Increased Energy Bills: A sudden spike in your energy bills may be due to your water heater working harder to heat the water through a layer of sediment.

Regular water heater maintenance, particularly flushing, is essential for ensuring the efficiency, longevity, and reliability of your unit. At Bakersfield Plumbing Company, we recommend scheduling an annual water heater flush to keep your system in optimal condition. If you’re unsure about how to perform this maintenance or prefer to have a professional handle it, our experienced plumbers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your water heater maintenance and experience the difference of over a century of plumbing expertise.

Remember, a well-maintained water heater not only provides consistent hot water but also saves you money in the long run by improving efficiency and extending the unit’s lifespan. Don’t wait until problems arise—take proactive steps to care for your water heater today!


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Bakersfield Plumbing Company

4625 District Blvd, Bakersfield, CA 93313