We live in a desert community, and that means that hard water is a problem that every homeowner needs to deal with. Arizona drinking water often carries high amounts of calcium carbonate in it, and while that’s not actively harmful (the body can absorb it), it can be awfully hard on your plumbing system. This includes the water heater, which can suffer from sediment build-up and similar issues that can cause a great deal of damage if you let it. The good news is that you can take a simple step to minimize the issue with your water heater: flushing it periodically to remove the sediment. The process is simple and straightforward, and can be accomplished in just a few minutes.
What Kinds of Problems Does Sediment Cause?
When sediment settles on the bottom of the water tank, it forms an insulating barrier between the water and the heat source. This forces the system to use more fuel to heat up your water, driving up your monthly energy costs accordingly. In the worst cases, it can lead to water that isn’t as hot as you need it to be and/or which doesn’t last as long as it should. More importantly, the sediment can also increase corrosion on the bottom of the tank, while forcing the bottom to absorb excess amount of heat when you run the system. Over time, that can cause the tank to deteriorate until you have a breach, at which point you basically need to replace the entire water heater.
The best means to prevent that is to periodically flush your water heater out, or have a plumber do it as part of a regular maintenance session.
What Are the Steps Involved?
The steps involved in flushing a water heater are direct and straightforward, and require just a little preparation.
- Turn off the water heater’s thermostat.
- Shut off the water to the water heater.
- Turn off the fuel supply and the power.
- Turn on the hot water to your tub or shower. This will allow any excess water in the pipes to drain and prevent a vacuum from forming.
- Open the pressure relief valve to help the flow of water.
- Connect a hose to the drain valve and connect the other end to a suitable outlet: a drain in the room, a bucket large enough to hold the water from the tank, or the like.
- Open the drain valve and allow the water to drain out of the tank. The water may move quickly,m so be prepared.
- Once the water has drained out of the tank, open and close and water pipe to the tank. That will flush out any excessive sediment.
- Close the drain valve and detach the hose, then close the pressure relief valve.
- Turn the water on and allow the tank to fill up.
- Turn on the thermostat, the fuel source and the electricity.