Whether you already know how to flush a water heater or not, ask yourself this: Do you take your hot water system for granted? Sure, every time you turn on the hot tap, you are justified in expecting your investment in a quality hot water system to result in a flow of reliably steaming hot water. But the reality of the situation is twofold:

  • Your hot water system is a machine
  • The quality of your water supply is not perfect.

Put those two factors together, and all those little and inevitable imperfections, contaminants and minerals in the water will eventually accumulate to such a degree that your stream of reliable hot water will turn into a pathetic, tepid trickle … or worse.

Do you need a water heater flush?

If the need to flush water heater technology has passed you by, your system may eventually ask you for some intervention. That request will come in the form of:

  • Cold water: If enough sediment builds up, the burner could eventually fail completely.
  • Foul smells: Something out of that hot tap starting to stink? It could be bacteria.
  • Weird sounds: A common sign of sediment build-up is odd sounds from your system.
  • Rusty water: When the sediment build-up is bad enough, your hot water could become discoloured.

However, the right time to do a hot water system flush is when it’s running smoothly – because prevention is always easier than implementing a fix. How often should you drain your water heater for a flush? The answer is simply: at least once a year.

A water heater flush in 4 simple steps

As for precisely how to go about flushing water heaters? The good news is that while your skilled and experienced plumber’s professional methods, tools and products will always do the most thorough job, a water heater flush is something you can do at home. The even better news is that it’s not difficult at all – especially if you follow these simple steps!:

1. Turn it off

Whether your hot water system is powered by gas or electricity, power it down – because you don’t want those burners to fire up while you’re servicing it. Also, make sure the cold water inlet is closed.

2. Attach a hose

Find the drain valve, which will be located near the bottom of the tank. Before proceeding, understand that the water you’re about to drain out is likely very hot. Now, simply attach a normal garden hose to the valve, open the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank, open the drain valve and watch the water begin to drain out in a controlled manner.

3. Clear any clogs

If there’s plenty of sediment in your tank, it’s possible some chunks are going to clog up that drainage valve. In that case, detach the hose and use a tool like a long screwdriver to try to dislodge and break up the clogs.

4. Complete the process

Once the water coming out of your hose stops, check that the entire tank is now empty. And that’s it! The flush is complete! Remove the hose, return all the valves to their original positions, and turn the cold water inlet back. Now, head into the house and turn on a hot water tap, allowing any air bubbles in the pipes to clear.

Turn the hot water system back on. You’re done!

Don’t forget: regular, simple hot water system maintenance is a vital part of owning and operating a hot water system. For you, that means regularly checking and operating the pressure relief valve, doing an occasional sediment flush, and turning to the professionals for your thorough annual servicing and maintenance schedule.

Call the masters in hot water maintenance

At Ryan Old Plumbing, we care about the health of your hot water system just as much as you do – and we’d love to help! Our polite and well-presented hot water system plumbers are known for turning up on time, offering fair and fixed pricing, and responding swiftly to any and all problems – even if it’s an out-of-hours emergency! We are committed to providing high-quality services in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan and Redlands. Give Ryan Old Plumbing a call today.