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Do I Need to Do A Flush and Fill on My Water Heater?

Water heater
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It’s important to understand that your water heater requires maintenance in order to operate at its peak functional level. Like changing your car’s oil, your water heater needs a scheduled flush and fill in order to ensure its prolonged efficiency and longevity.  Whether you have a gas or electric water heater or a tankless water heater, this service is necessary for all types of water heaters. Without it, your water heater accumulates a buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank, which diminishes the capacity of the water tank, as the burner is unable to penetrate the layer of buildup and adequately heat the water. The heater will then require more time to warm up, which will increase your energy costs and diminish its functionality.

How Often Does my Water Heater Require a Flush and Fill?

For most water heaters, once annually is usually enough to keep the sediment build up at bay. However it largely depends on where you live and the type of water you use in your home. If you live in a hard-water area or use well water or municipal water with an above average content of sediment, the flush and fill process may need to be repeated more frequently. The process will ensure your heater’s continued efficiency and make sure your showers stay hot. After a consultation, your plumbing technician will be able to tell you how often your water heater requires a flush and fill.

What Happens if You Don’t Flush Your Water Heater?

In addition to decreased energy efficiency, by not draining the sediment, other serious problems can quickly arise. Sediment can come out of your faucets, and sometimes insects can build nests in your piping. It can also affect water pressure leading to burst pipes, and eventually causing your tank to completely stop working.

Minerals like magnesium, lime and calcium are usually the cause of sediment buildup and reduced heating effectiveness. Other things like sand and grit from municipal water lines can also settle in the bottom of your tank. If your water heater makes a popping or rumbling sound, this usually means there is an excessive sediment buildup. The sound is caused by steam bubbles percolating, which in turn create hot spots that damage the tank. On an electric water heater, sediment buildup can cause the lower heating elements to fail. Having a flush and fill procedure performed therefore can extend your hot water heater life span and help you defer the cost of replacement.

How the Process Works

If you have never flushed your water heater or do not do it regularly, there may be a very large sediment buildup. As soon as the drain valve is opened, there is likely to be a clog from all the sediment, which will prevent you from closing the valve. The sediment will need to be drained.

The process of draining the sediment yourself, without any plumbing background or experience, can be a very arduous and time-consuming task. To avoid the laundry list of required tools and the complicated process, get the flush and fill done by a professional.

A service technician will attach a hose to your tank and empty it into an appropriate drain, then fill the tank back up. In the process, the sediment will be cleared out from the tank leaving you with a cleared surface. The process will also include an inspection of the rods, ventilation and other parts. Leave it to the professionals at Art Plumbing, AC and Electric to take care of your water heater needs.


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