A long hot bath with a glass of wine or another treat. A quick cool shower after hitting the gym. It takes a lot of water to clean our bodies as well as everything else in our homes, like our clothes and dishes. Households generally run the hot water multiple times a day and that gradually impacts your water heater and can cause future plumbing problems.
Mineral and sediment build-up can clog water heaters
In fact, we run our water heaters so much that Canadians use an average of 75 litres of hot water every day. That’s per person. Not only can that get expensive, but it can wear down your plumbing system.
Over time and with use, mineral deposits begin to build up inside your water heater, collecting as sediment. The intensity of this build-up depends on how hard or soft the water is where you live. That sediment forms into a thick, crusty layer at the base of a gas water heater or the elements of an electric one. It can clog the drain valve and eventually, corrosion forms.
The build-up of minerals and other particles also causes your water heater to work harder. This uses more energy, increasing your heating bill. So keep those pipes flowing!
Flush your water heater at least once a year
We recommend that you drain your hot water heater at least once a year for proper maintenance. This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of water heater and location.
If your home is connected to a city water supply, sand and grit might work their way into your water heater and you may require a flush every six months. When flushing your water heater, check to see how much dirt and sediment has collected. If there’s not too much, you can decrease the frequency to every other year.
How to drain your water heater
It’s fairly simple to drain your own hot water heater by yourself with a few basic tools. If you are hesitant about this process or have any questions, feel free to call us for more information on our services.
Begin by locating your home’s main water shutoff valve. Shut off the gas to your heater or the power if it’s an electric heater. You may wish to do this up to several hours before you start the flush to allow the water in the tank to cool down. This means you won’t have access to hot water for longer, but it’s safer.
Gather the tools and materials you will need, which include:
- Safety work gloves and glasses
- Adjustable wrench
- Garden hose
- Flat-head screwdriver
Put on appropriate safety gear, such as thick rubber gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes from heater parts and water splashes that may be extremely hot.
Shut off the water through either the main water supply to your home or the valve in the cold-water pipe above the heater. Test the hot water faucets by turning them on and checking for water flow. The water will likely gush out for a couple of seconds and then slow to a trickle. Leaving open a hot water tap in the sink closest to the water heater is a good idea for alleviating the pressure.
Attach a garden hose to the drain valve of your water heater and put the other end into a large bucket. By hand or with a screwdriver, open the drain valve and let the hose fill the bucket until it’s nearly full. Dump out the bucket, replace it, and continue.
Let the water tank completely drain and then flush it with water for a few seconds and let it drain once again. Let the water flow until it turns clear and you don’t see any sediment.
Turn off the drain valve and disconnect your garden hose. Turn the water source back on to the heater. Check the faucet that you’ve left open and ensure it’s running clearly, then turn it off. Turn the power back on if you’re using an electric heater. The water should start to be hot within an hour.
Check your water heater drain valve to ensure it’s completely closed and that there are no leaks.
Save on utility and carbon costs with an energy-efficient water heater
Water heaters can be very energy-consuming, increasing your heating bills. Of the energy used in an average Canadian home, 19 percent is from heating water.
When purchasing a new water heater, consider the energy performance of the device. There are ENERGY STAR water heaters that are certified for use under Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations. They may not always be the cheapest option, but investing in a quality water heater will cut down your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint. One of these energy-efficient water heaters could save a family of four up to $3,500 over its lifetime.
The ENERGY STAR website lists a range of heaters, including heat pump tanks, high efficiency gas storage tanks, tankless, commercial gas, and solar water heaters. Certified electric storage water heats use a highly efficient heat pump. And an ENERGY STAR gas storage water heater can use eight percent less energy because of its good insulation, heat traps, and more efficient burners.
Do you drain your water heater?
Flushing out your water heater regularly prevents clogs and corrosions, maintains the system, and helps save on energy costs. We have extensive technical knowledge on how to unclog the mysteries of how your plumbing and heating systems work. Plumbing and Heating Paramedics is a local, family business with a personal touch of excellence added to every job we do.
Have you flushed out your home’s water heater? What worked for you? Do you have any questions about why this is an important maintenance step? We’d be happy to receive your feedback, questions, and concerns in the comment section below.