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How can I extend the life of my Water Heater?

October 01, 2010

Whitton Plumbing recommends completely draining your water heater at least twice a year to remove sediment that is caused by hard water here in Arizona.

How does draining my water heater help?

The sediment is hard water deposits from your water supply. Over time, your heater can accumulate this sediment consisting of various mineral deposits. This reduces the amount of water your heater holds, and can create a variety of interesting noises.  It also can significantly reduce the effeciency of your unit. The buildup of sediment at the bottom  will eventually harden and can even clog the drain valve.  

Flushing your Gas or Electric Water Heater

Most manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater to remove sediment and extend the life of your water heater.  How often you need to do this depends upon the quality of the water in your area and if you have any sort of water treatment system in place on your main water supply.

Use extreme caution when flushing your water heater. There is a danger of being scalded by the hot water.  If you prefer not to take this risk please contact us and we will have a service technician do this for you.

Gas Water Heaters

Set the gas valve to "Pilot" to prevent the burners from coming on while you are flushing it.

Electric Heaters

Turn off the circuit breakers. With an electric water heater, if the water level drops below the heating elements and the thermostat turns the elements on, the heating elements will probably burn out quite rapidly.

Drain your Water Heater

  1. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.  Make sure the outlet of the hose is in a safe area away from pets and children. It can be very hot and can scald quickly
  2. Close the shut off valve on the cold inlet to the water heater.
  3. Carefully open the temperature/pressure relief valve at the top of the tank by lifting the lever.  Leave the valve open.
  4. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the heater allowing the water to flow out through the garden hose. If the sediment is clogging the drain valve then try closing the temperature/pressure relief valve and turn the cold inlet valve back on to "power flush" the sediment out.
  5. In some cases the sediment hardens into large chunks that can block the drain valve. If so, then wait until everything cools down, remove the garden hose from the drain valve, remove the valve if necessary, and use a long screw driver to break up the clog. This is a very messy procedure.
  6. When the garden hose runs clear you are finished.
  7. Close the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and remove the garden hose.
  8. Close the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank if it is still open, and turn the cold inlet valve back on.
  9. Open a hot water faucet in your house, and let it run until no air bubbles come out.
  10. Turn the heater back on, and with gas units re-light the pilot light if necessary. 

Proven Technology

Whitton Plumbing recommends and installs Bradford White water heaters that are equipt with HydroJet.  This technology is specifically designed to effeciently heat your water and also reduce the effects of sediment on your water heater.

Valley Wide: (480) 291-1111
Tucson: (520) 505-3236
Whether it's sinks, toilets, showers, faucets, water heaters, pipes or drains that need cleaning, repairs or installation, we've got you covered.