Flushing: Even Your Water Heater Needs It

16 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Did you know that your water heater can fill up with more than just water? It's true. Over time, your water heater will fill up with contaminants such as silt, rust and scale deposits. Once the deposits get too deep, they can solidify and cause an interruption in the way your water heater works. The build-up can also cause your water heater to rupture. This is particularly true if the scale deposits get so big that they begin to burst inside the tank. To protect your water heater, here are some reasons why you should be flushing your water heater tank, as well as some simple instruction for how to do it.

Reduce Noise

When your water heater starts filling up with sediment and scale, you'll start hearing unusual noises from the tank. One sound you'll hear will be a very distinctive popping sound, much like popcorn popping inside the tank. That popping means that the heat is causing the scale to break away from the tank. The popping is actually the scale deposits hitting the glass tank inside the water heater. You can reduce the noises – and the chances of rupture – by flushing your tank.

Remove Sediment

In addition to scale deposits, your tank will also fill with dirt and rust. Most of the dirt and rust will settle to the bottom of the tank. However, some of the dirt will float around in the tank and come out when you turn the hot water faucets on in your home. When that happens, you'll begin noticing dirt and debris floating in your water. Flushing the tank will remove all that dirt and rust so that the water flowing into your home will be clean.

Restore Efficiency

When your water heater is filled with contaminants, it has to work even harder to heat the water for your home. You might start noticing that it takes longer to heat water once the tank is empty, or that you don't get as much hot water from your tank. That's because the excess sediment limits the space for water inside the tank. By flushing your tank at least twice a year, you can restore efficiency and increase the amount of hot water your tank can provide.

How to Flush

Flushing your water heater is a simple procedure. The only equipment you'll need will be a garden hose and a bucket.


  1. Turn the gas or electric off to your water heater.
  2. Turn off the cold water supply to your water heater.
  3. Place a bucket under the water release valve located on the front of your water heater.
  4. Turn the hot water on inside your home to prevent air build-up in the lines.
  5. Attach the garden hose to the water valve.
  6. Extend the garden hose out into the yard.
  7. Open the drain valve to allow the water to drain from the tank.
  8. Once the tank is empty, turn the cold water back on and allow the water to flush through the tank.
  9. Turn the water valve off and remove the garden hose.
  10. Turn the hot water off in your home.
  11. Turn the power back on to your water heater.
  12. Allow the tank to refill before use.
  13. Repeat at least twice a year.

You depend on your water heater. Keep it running properly – and prevent problems – by flushing the tank at least twice a year. 

For water heater maintenance, contact a company such as Brother's Plumbing.