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Flush your Water Heater This Fall

water-heater-maintenanceSummer officially ends in just a few days, and with the cool weather of fall comes the need to prepare your home for winter. This should include a close look at your water heater, including performing some easy maintenance to help it perform at its best.

Sediment can build up on the bottom of the water heater if you aren’t careful, which in turn can make it more difficult (and expensive) to heat your water. Not only can that raise your monthly bills, but it can lead to bigger problems like frozen pipes in the winter. Flushing the water heater is a simple and easy way to help prevent that from occurring.

Why Is It Important?

When sediment builds up on the bottom of the tank, it forms a barrier between the heat source and the water needing to be heated. That places a great deal of strain on the bottom of the tank, since it has to absorb the excess heat, as well as making it more difficult to warm the water up sufficiently. Frozen pipes are the worst case scenario, but even if you avoid that issue, you’re apt to find the water never getting as hot as it needs to be, and/or the hot water never lasting as long as you’d like.

As long as the sediment remains, the water heater can’t do its job the way it should. But if the sediment is periodically removed, it will improve its efficiency and lower wear and tear on the system a great deal. When applied regularly over time, it can even help extend the life of your system

How to Flush It

Flushing the system is very easy and takes only a few minutes. Ideally you should do so once or twice a year to keep your tank free of sediment. Follow the steps below.

  1. Turn off the water, gas and electrical power to the water heater.
  2. Turn on the hot water in your bathtub or shower: anywhere that can drain any unexpected water off.
  3. Open the pressure relief valve.
  4. Connect a hose to to the drain valve, then run the other end of the hose to a place that can safely accept the water from the tank (such as a drain, tub or large bucket).
  5. Open the drain valve to start the flow of water. (Be ready: the water might move very swiftly.)
  6. When the water is drained, open and close the water supply several times to flush any remaining sediment out of the tank.
  7. Turn off the water, close the release valve, detach the hose and close the drain valve.
  8. Turn the water on and allow the tank to fill.
  9. Turn on the electricity, fuel source, and power.

If you haven’t flushed your water heater out in six months or more, you should probably do so as soon as possible. In addition, if you haven’t had your water heater serviced in the last year, schedule a session with the friendly pros at Cooling Unlimited, Inc. We serve plumbing and HVAC needs throughout the Winchester, MA area!

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