flush your water heater

Why You Need to Flush Your Water Heater

How long will your water heater last? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the water heater you purchase, but also how well you maintain it. In this blog we will talk about why you need to flush your water heater to keep it working well and extend its life.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Water Heater? 

The rule of thumb is that a water heater should last about 10 years. Of course, this depends on the amount of work the heater has to do over its lifetime as well as the conditions it operates under. If your house uses a great deal of water for bathing, laundry, or cleaning, that means the water heater has to work harder. Remember, you expect there to be hot water whenever you turn on your tap. In order for that to happen, your water heater is working even when you’re not thinking about it. Your refrigerator is probably the only other appliance you have that operates continuously. 

The hardness of your water also contributes to how much your water heater has to work. Hard water has a higher mineral content. This mineral content builds up on the inside of your water heater and on its heating element slowly over time and reduces its efficiency. Excessive sediment buildup at the bottom of a gas water heater can create hot spots and damage the tank. If you hear popping or rumbling noises coming from your water heater, you have a problem with sediment buildup, and you need to have it addressed.

What is the solution? You need to flush your water heater. 

Why You Need to Flush Your Water Heater

no hot waterLike most of your home appliances, your hot water heater does need periodic maintenance. It may keep chugging along seemingly without problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s operating at full capacity or efficiency. Over time it will use more energy to heat the water, and it may fail completely and require replacing if you don’t flush it out. 

Flushing your water heater will remove the lime buildup on the lower heating element in electric water heaters and prevent uneven heating at the bottom of the gas water heaters that can lead to leakage. For both types of water heaters, flushing will remove the sediment that can cause the drain valve to clog. 

Ideally, most water heaters should be flushed every six months to prevent damage. If your water is very hard, you may want to do it more often. Draining and flushing the tank is an involved chore, so many homeowners will call a licensed plumber to service it annually. A plumber will inspect the tank for rust and leaks as well as test the thermostat and valves. He will replace the anode rod to prevent corrosion too. 

If you don’t know how to drain the tank without creating a watery mess or want to fuss with your pilot light, calling a plumber to inspect and flush your water heater is the way to go. Over time, this maintenance will produce lower heating bills and a longer lasting water heater. 

If you have concerns about your water heater or would like to schedule maintenance, contact Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating. We want to keep your plumbing in tip top condition so you do not have to worry about outages or leaks. Call us – we’re here to help!


About Luke Gerhart
Luke is the President of Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating, Inc., has been a Alpena County resident for over 22 years. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Ferris University, and has over 35 years of construction experience in Michigan.