“Should I Flush My Water Heater?” [FAQ]

Short answer: Yes.

Flushing your water heater once a year gets rid of sediment buildup, helping it

  • Live longer
  • Heat more efficiently
  • Prevent a costly flood.

Long answer: Yes. Flushing a water heater is like brushing your teeth.

Your teeth get covered in plaque, which decays your teeth if you don’t brush it off,

Similarly, sediment (loose minerals that sink to the bottom of liquids) sinks to the bottom of your tank, covering the heating element and insulating it from the water.

This overheats the water heater’s tank, causing it to deteriorate. Just like how plaque deteriorates your teeth.

A deteriorated tank has a chance of leaking or bursting, causing costly water damage in your home. According to disastersafety.org, “Water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible was paid.”

Other nasty negative effects of sediment buildup

Not only does sediment hurt your water heater, it:

  • Runs up your energy bill– The sediment forces the water heater to run longer to heat the water to the preset temperature.
  • Increases the chance of you having a cold shower– The sediment is taking up space in the tank, meaning there’s less room for water to be heated.
  • Can become a breeding ground for Legionnaires Disease– Since the water heater can’t properly heat the water, it allows bacteria to form in the tank—some which can cause Legionnaires Disease.

Where does the sediment in the water heater come from?

Wondering how loose minerals got into your water heater’s tank in the first place?

It’s from the water.

Before it flows into our waterways, water collects minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium) after it falls into the ground.

Flushing a water heater—DIY or call a professional?

Flushing a water heater is relatively simple. And you can find several quality instructionals on how to flush a water heater.

But using a professional has its advantages. Most quality plumbers will also check the rest of your water heater to make sure the whole thing is running in tip-top shape. 

Mr. Plumber has been serving the plumbing needs of homeowners in the greater Atlanta metro area since 1966.

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