How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater the Easy Way

We’ll bet on the fact that you haven’t thought about flushing your hot water heater in awhile—if ever. But, while it’s one of those tasks that’s easy to forget, it’s necessary for maintaining an efficient system that lasts for the duration of its life expectancy (about eight to 12 years).

Why is Flushing Your Hot Water Heater Important?

Over time, hot water heaters collect sediment, or mineral deposits, at the bottom. These mineral deposits are typically the result of hard water. If your hot water heater doesn’t get flushed over the course of years, it can lead to a premature breakdown or even a burst tank.

How often you’ll need to flush your hot water heater depends on how hard your water is. Coastal and southeastern states typically don’t experience hard water to the degree that Midwestern and western states do. For those living in states with softer water, once every three years is a good rule of thumb, and for those with harder water, flushing once a year is a good idea.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

Hot water heaters generally fall into two types: gas and electric. How each type is flushed is similar except for the first step. If you have a gas model, you’ll need to turn off the gas, and if you have an electric model, you’ll need to turn off the electricity to the water heater.

Eight steps may seem like a lot, but we promise the tasks are easy. In fact, you should be finished with the whole flushing process in as little as 30 minutes.

Step 1: Turn your hot water heater’s thermostat to the “off” position.

For safety reasons, this is one, if not the most important step in the flushing process. Some say you can get away with having the hot water heater on “pilot,” but we believe in being extra cautious and turning it to the “off” position.

Step 2: Turn off the gas or electricity.

Before you begin, you’ll need to turn off the gas to the hot water heater. If you have an electric hot water heater, you’ll need to turn off the electricity to it by flipping the breaker.

Step 3: Turn off the cold water supply to the hot water heater.

You’ll find the cold water supply near the top of the hot water heater. Turn the setting to off.

Step 4: Pick a sink or tub and turn on the hot water.

You’ll need to leave a hot water tap on during the entire flushing process. This helps prevent a vacuum from forming.

Step 5: Open the pressure relief valve.

Opening the pressure relief valve can help water flow more easily during the draining process. Be sure to place a bucket underneath the drainage pipe and use caution—hot water will rush out.
Once you’ve opened the pressure relief valve, you’ll need to let your hot water tank cool off before proceeding with the rest of the steps.

Step 6: Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot.

Find the drainage spigot and connect a garden hose, then lead the hose outside or into a large bucket. If your water heater is in the basement, you may need to use a pump to direct the water out to the ground floor.

Step 7: Drain your tank.

Monitor the water that’s coming out of your tank. If it’s been a hot minute since you last flushed your hot water heater, you’ll notice that the water is brown and that you can see sediment. You’ll want to keep running the tank until the water runs clear.

Step 8: Flush your tank.

To complete the flushing process, turn on the cold water spigot that leads to your tank. Let it run until the water coming out of the hose becomes clear.

And you’re done—almost. Now you’ll need to put everything back where it was. Here’s your checklist:

• Turn off the drainage spigot and disconnect the garden hose.
• Close the pressure relief valve.
• Turn the hot water tap in the tub or sink off.
• Turn on the cold water spigot.
• When the tank is full, open the pressure relief valve.
• Turn the hot water tap in a tub or shower on. Cold water should be coming out.
• Turn the gas or electric back on.
• If you turned the thermostat off, relight the pilot light and turn it back on.
• If your hot water heater is electric, flip the breaker to turn the power back on.
• Wait about 20 minutes for the water to heat up and then check that hot water is coming out.

Call National Property Inspections for a Full Report on Your Home’s Systems

Our inspectors have the expertise to perform a non-invasive inspection on your hot water heater and other major systems and appliances. Contact us today.

Reasons for Scheduling a Commercial Inspection Prior to Buying

A commercial property investment requires gathering knowledge and taking a risk. Property inspection increases the amount of information available when it’s most crucial.

The bottom line is that a commercial building inspection gives the client an overall understanding of the general condition of the building. This allows the client to move forward with business planning, negotiations and remodeling or renovation with a knowledge of current systems. An inspection reduces surprises. When it comes to large real estate transactions, that can be a great peace of mind.

For some, that needed knowledge is limited to an inspection of the roof. Others may be more interested in knowing that electrical outlets are safe. Still others want a ceiling-to-floor laundry list of items, noting the good and the bad. Comfort levels are different, but a thorough, unbiased inspection can usually help point people in the right direction.

National Property Inspections professionals have the training and expertise to perform a number of different types of commercial property inspections, including the following:

  • Comprehensive inspections for buyers and sellers
  • Pre-lease or exit inspections for tenants to protect damage deposits
  • Partial inspections of the roof or general structural conditions
  • Inspections to meet lender requirements
  • Walk-through pre-bid assessments for potential buyers
  • Maintenance inspections for property management firms
  • New-construction progress inspections and final inspections

In apartment complexes, inspectors look at a representative number of units, or all of the units, or sometimes just the common areas and the roof. Again, for the buyer, these options help pinpoint possible areas of concern and overall maintenance issues. Sometimes, specialized equipment, such as an infrared camera, helps pinpoint leaking or heat-loss areas and can help with long-term planning.

In some instances, a client may not even be purchasing the building itself but rather the business occupying the building and an attached lease. An inspection in that instance can reassure the buyer that the building is sound and reduce concerns about assuming the lease. It can also make for an unbiased reference for the property management firm overseeing building maintenance, which is more good information for all parties concerned.


Commercial Emergency Preparedness

Taking some time today to prepare for an emergency saves times and property later.

It’s impossible to plan for or predict every possibility of water damage from wind, rain, ice or snow. To minimize damage to a commercial building in the event of a roof leak, soaked carpets or basement flooding, make sure staff are prepared to address such situations as quickly and efficiently as possible using the following tips:

  • Schedule regular updates and training on the emergency preparedness plan.
  • Clearly mark the location of all shut off valves to water supply lines.
  • Make responsible staff aware of the location of any tools or instructions necessary to safely shut down major building systems.
  • Plan for a safe shut down of electric and gas supply lines where applicable.
  • Clearly post emergency telephone numbers for fire, police, emergency personnel and systems specialists, including a plumber and HVAC repair company.

Practicing a little preparedness can help reduce structural damage, decrease the number of hours business is interrupted and keep the cost of repair down.

Information for this report was based on brochures from the Institute for Business and Home Safety