How to Flush a Gas or Electric Storage or Tank-Type Water Heater
It doesn’t matter if you have an electric or gas hot water system. At some point you’ll need to flush it. You can simply find a professional firm that deals with hot water systems to do this for you. However, it is useful to know how to flush your tank type water heater yourself; you never know when it may be useful.
Why Flushing Is Important
In every water system, there will be some debris from inside the water pipes. This will settle to the bottom of your tank along with minerals in the water and other sediment caused by the mixing of water, plastic and metal.
If you leave these in your tank they will affect the performance of your water heater and can even get into the pipes; causing blockages and a host of other issues.
Flushing at least once a year reduces the likelihood of issues.
Drain The Tank
You need to drain the tank I order to flush it However you are dealing with hot water so the first thing you need to do is turn the tank off. This means switching off the electricity or gas to your tank.
It is essential that you turn this off first; if you don’t and you drain the water you could burn out the heating element causing additional damage.
This will also prevent you from accidentally electrocuting or gassing yourself.
It is a good idea to turn the thermostat down to zero at the same time.
You’ll then need to switch off the water supply to your tank. There will be a cold water pipe going into the tank at or near the top which should have a valve on it. Turn this off!
Now you can drain the tank; there should be a valve on the bottom of it that you can connect to a hose pipe and send the water down your bath or shower drain. Alternatively simply turn on one of your hot taps and allow the water to drain out. Ideally do both.
This water will be hot but you may wish to capture it and reuse it elsewhere!
You’ll also need to open the pressure release valve; this will allow air into the tank and help push the water out; it can take a while for all the water to drain out.
The water coming out of the tank will appear cloudy, this is because you are taking it from the bottom of the tank and the sediment is coming with it. Keep draining the tank until the water runs clear; this will have removed the majority of the sediment.
You’ll now be able to turn the cold water back on and allow it to enter the tank. It will immediately exit the open spigot valve at the bottom.
Allow this to run for several minutes to ensure that all the sediment has gone.
Putting It Back Together
You can now shut off the spigot and remove the hosepipe. You’ll also need to close the hot water tap and the pressure relief valve.
Leave the cold water tap open and the tank will start to fill. Again, this will take some time. Once it is filled you’ll need to reopen the pressure relief valve; this will allow excess air out and ensure the tank is filled properly.
You can now return the thermostat to its original position and then turn the electricity or gas back on.
That’s it; all done!