How To Clean Electric Water Heater

How to Clean an Electric Water Heater

Did you know that, on average, a water heater may last you up to a decade in your household? Electric heaters have an even longer usable service life, with some models having a beneficial service life of more than 15 years. However, these are only applicable to systems that have been correctly installed and are subjected to regular maintenance. Those who do not achieve these requirements are more likely to experience early breakdowns and failure. Units that treat water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals are more prone to failure.

Cleaning it on a regular basis will assist to extend the life of your water heater.

So be sure to keep reading because we’ll go over everything in further depth below.

Safety First: Turn Off Your Water Heater

Prior to cleaning your electric water heater, make sure that you turn off the power supply to the unit first. Especially given the fact that at least 30,000 non-fatal shock episodes occur in the United States each year, this is for your own protection. In addition, you should put on a pair of rubber insulating gloves to increase your protection against arcs and shocks. Check the tank itself for a power button if you want to turn off your heater completely. In certain cases, the “OFF” setting on the thermostat may be appropriate for your particular heater brand.

Examine your electrical panel for the switch that supplies your electric water heater.

The water heater switch should be clearly labeled on the interior of the panel, and the label should be easy to read.

This should cause the electricity to your water heater to be disconnected.

1. Clean the Exterior Side of the Hot Water Tank

Make use of your vacuum cleaner to clear the heavy layers of dust and filth that have accumulated on the outside of the water heater tank. Cleaning the bottom of the tank using a crevice attachment will be easier with this attachment. Also, remember to vacuum the area behind the heater and around any pipes that may be there. After that, clean and dry the heater with a clean, dry towel to finish it up. This will aid in the removal of as much dry dirt as possible from the environment. Then, using a moist towel, wipe off the outer surfaces of your water heater to clean them.

Finish up this step of your electric water heater maintenance by cleaning off the tank with a dry cloth.

Although you may believe that your high water costs are typical, it is possible that they are the result of tank leaks.

Once your tank and its pipes have been thoroughly cleaned, it will be much simpler to discover problems like as holes and cracks.

If there are none, that’s fantastic. If this is the case, it is recommended to contact a plumber to book an appointment to have your electric water heater repaired. If the leaks are severe enough, a plumbing professional may still be able to save your tank from being destroyed.

2. Drain the Tank

One of the most important tasks in doing good water heater maintenance is flushing away sediment that has accumulated in the tank. Because of this, it is recommended that you empty your water heater at least twice a year. Flushing it will aid in the removal of sediments that can build up inside your tank and cause limescale to develop. Starting with the cold-water valve, which may be found at the very top of the tank, turn it off to get started. Then, towards the bottom of the tank, check for the drain valve, which looks a little like a faucet in appearance.

Connect one end of a garden hose to the valve and the other end to the valve.

To empty the tank’s contents, turn the valve to the open position.

This will allow air to enter your tank, which will then force the water out of the drain valve as a result of the air.

3. Refill the Tank

Take this step seriously, especially if you live in one of the nine-in-ten households in the United States that has hard water. Hard water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals, which are responsible for the formation of the previously stated limescale. Another possible cause of low water pressure is hard water. In any event, it is necessary to replace the tank with cold water many times during the tank emptying procedure. This will aid in the removal of even more loose sediments.

4. Brush the Insides of Your Tank

For those who have more time, you may additionally brush the internal liner of your tank in order to remove additional sediments. This would need the use of a specialized brush, such as the type used to clean refrigerator coils, in order to do this. If you need this, you should be able to get it at your local hardware shop. You’d also have to take off the drain valve itself, because that’s where you’d be inserting the thin brush anyhow. Use a gentle brush, scrape, and push motions to gently remove the hardened minerals from the tank’s bottom and lower sides.

Take your time, though, because the more of these minerals you can remove from your heater, the more effective it will become.

5. Flush It One Last Time

If you believe you have eliminated all of the sediments, flush the tank one again. Do not change anything about the hole — do not attach the valve or the garden hose at this time since their openings may be too tiny. Make careful to place an empty bucket beneath the opening to capture any flushed water, though. In theory, the water should be able to flush the shattered bits of hardened minerals from the tank.

If you’ve been able to remove a significant amount of debris, you may need to empty your bucket several further times. When the water that flows out of the tank seems clean and clear, you’ve completed your task! It’s just a matter of reassembling the drain valve components in their right locations.

Set Your Electric Water Heater Thermostat to 120 Degrees

If you accidentally turned off the thermostat at the beginning, turn it back on to 120 degrees. Make sure the thermostat is set to 140 degrees if you haven’t changed the setting when you first turned it on to clean it. Most electric water heaters are set at this temperature as their default. One of the primary reasons for lowering the temperature is to minimize the amount of energy consumed by your heater. You may save between 3 and 5 percent on your water heating rates for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit you lower the temperature of your water heater.

Please keep in mind that there is a “very tiny danger” of stimulating the growth of legionellae bacteria.

Unless you or a member of your family has worries about their immune systems, you may set your thermostat to 140 degrees.

Keep Your Water Heater’s Pressure Relief Valve in Good Condition

A device known as a “temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve” is included with most water heaters. This little device, similar to a tea kettle, permits steam or water to escape from the heater if the temperature or pressure inside the heater rises to an unsafe level. They should be opened if the temperature rises beyond 210 degrees Fahrenheit or if the pressure exceeds 150 psi (pounds per square inch). A TPR valve should not fail because if it does, the tank may explode due to the high temperature or pressure in the tank.

  1. This is also for your own safety, thus it should be included in your water heater’s preventative maintenance schedule.
  2. Especially if you have really hard water, you should check your TPR valve at least twice a year.
  3. The TPR valve, in contrast to the drain valve, is located higher on one side of the tank, or in some heaters, at the top of the tank.
  4. The TPR valve should be connected to a pipe (if you don’t have one, a garden hose will suffice).
  5. After that, pull or press the lever until you hear a rushing sound similar to that of air rushing.
  6. Water should trickle into your bucket or run out of the pipe or hose and into the floor drain as soon as it is connected.
  7. Due to the fact that the valve is blocked, it will be unable to release steam or pressure when it is intended to do so.

Know When to Replace the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a mechanism that “sacrifices” itself in order to protect the lining of the interior of your water heater. Its aim is to divert corrosive materials away from your tank and onto itself instead. Consider it as a magnet, attracting mineral and metal ions that produce oxidation and rust as they pass through it. Your tank’s liner will disintegrate prematurely if this sacrificial rod is not used. However, it is also because of this “sacrifice” that anode rods have a lifespan of between three and five years.

You are not required to replace it on a yearly basis, but you should examine it at least once a year at the absolute least.

One end of the anode rod is attached to the top of your heater, while the other end is attached to the bottom of your heater.

In order to check the rod’s condition, you’d have to take it apart and examine it closely. Extreme corrosion may have already manifested itself on the rod’s visible end in some cases. If you see this and you are aware that you have not replaced the rod in several years, it is time to replace it.

Prevent Hard Water From Cutting Your Heater’s Life Short

Hard water does not pose a significant hazard to health and safety, but it can limit the service life of your water heater. Additionally, it has an impact on the efficiency and performance of water heaters. In fact, according to one study, water heaters that use hard water consume significantly more energy than those that use soft water. Homes with soft water also have cheaper expenditures for cleaning supplies since they use less of the items. In addition, scientists determined that extended contact to hard water might cause pipe corrosion.

Corroded pipes can leak metals over time, which can pollute your drinking water as a result.

The savings on your water heating and domestic cleaning bills will be significant at the same time.

Follow This Guide on How to Clean an Electric Water Heater Now

The above information is the last and only tutorial you will require on how to clean an electric water heater. As you might guess, following these water heater maintenance recommendations will take time and work. They are, however, well worth the investment because they may help you save money on energy while also extending the life of your heater. So, as soon as you get the opportunity, give your busy water heater some much-needed TLC! You should be aware that if you notice leaks or other problems when cleaning your water heater, we are here to help.

If you want emergency plumbing services, you may also contact us immediately via phone.

How To Clean A Water Heater The Simple Way

If you maintain your water heater properly, there is no reason why it shouldn’t survive for more than a decade or more. Knowing how to clean a water heater is one of the most important skills to have in order to do this. Our goal with this essay is to provide a comprehensive walkthrough of the process of cleaning your water heater, regardless of its make or model.

How To Clean Your Water Heater: The Basics

If you’ve read our article on drinking tap water in Phoenix, you’ll know that the water that arrives at your house in Arizona (or any other state in the United States, for that matter) includes silt, minerals, and chemicals. In the course of time, these impurities might accumulate in your water heater, causing it to operate inefficiently. Inefficiencies such as inconsistent heating, an element that fails to stay lighted, and a blocked drain valve are all examples of inefficiencies. All of these will result in bills that are greater than planned.

The most effective technique to avoid this is to flush the system on a regular basis.

How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater?

At the absolute least, you’ll want to flush the system once a year, if not more frequently. However, it is dependent on the composition of your local water supply as well as the equipment you have in your house. If you want to know more about the drinking water in your region, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you have a high-efficiency water softener installed, your heater may not need to be flushed as frequently since the softener will lower the amount of sediment in the water.

As a result, if you do not have a water softener installed, you may want to flush the heater as frequently as once or twice a month or two in order to prevent problems.

Signs It’s Time To Flush Your Water Heater

Water heater flushing on a regular basis is a successful technique, but it is also beneficial to be aware of the warning signals that suggest a flush is necessary in order to avoid costly repairs later on. Here’s a brief review on what each of these indications means.

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You Can’t Get Hot Water

Water heater flushing on a regular basis is an efficient technique, but it is also beneficial to understand the warning signals that suggest that a flush is necessary. An overview of these indications follows below.

Your Water Heater Is Making Strange Sounds

It is possible that silt can cluster together and create calcified stones that will smash against the sides of your water heater in areas where water is very harsh. This is a warning indication that you should flush the heater before the stones grow to such a size that they choke the drain line.

Your Water Smells Funny

While sediment accumulation is often the most serious issue you should be concerned about when cleaning your water heater, germs can also form within a tank that has not been flushed in a long period of time if the tank has not been cleaned. This bacteria has the potential to cause a strange odor in your water. Not only will you need to flush the tank, but you’ll also need to sterilize it, which we’ll go over in more detail in the next section.

How To Clean Your Hot Water Heater: The Process

When cleaning your water heater, you will need to open many taps around your home and allow the water to drain entirely out of the tank. This is a necessary part of the process. Cleaning your hot water heater is actually pretty simple if you follow the correct procedures. You’ll discover that these procedures become second nature to you as time goes on.

Step1: Prepare The Heater For Flushing

Before you do anything else, be sure that the thermostat on your water heater is turned off. For many tanks, merely switching to “Pilot” mode will suffice to get the desired results. As a result, you will not have to go through the hassle of reactivating the pilot light, which is a simple but time-consuming task. You will also avoid the need to turn off the gas if you follow this procedure. It will be necessary to turn off the electricity to your water heater if you have one. The proper switch will be located on the device.

The valve for this operation is normally found on top of the heater, which makes sense.

Step2: Open The Hot Water Faucets In Your Home

This will aid in the drainage of the tank. If you do not complete this step, a vacuum will build in your tank, which will keep the water trapped within. It’s a strange physics effect, similar to how water remains caught in a straw if you maintain your finger on the tip of the straw while drinking.

Step3: Connect A Hose To Your Tank’s Drain Valve

The drain valve should be situated near the bottom of the tank, preferably on the side. In order to avoid damaging your home’s foundation, you’ll want this hose to either lead into a very large container or (ideally) to the outside and away from it.

If you use a little bucket, you run the chance of flooding your basement or the area where the tank is located, which is not ideal. If your basement has a drain, you may be able to divert the water to it by placing the other end of your hose near the drain and directing it there.

Step4: Open The Drain Valve And Let The Tank Empty

Depending on how much sediment has accumulated in your tank, you may be able to see bits of sediment being discharged from it as they pass through. With increased frequency of cleaning, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re maintaining a high level of consistency based on the quantity of sediment that comes out.

Not Getting Any Water Out Of The Tank? Try This!

You will not see any flow if you open the drain valve when there has been an excessive buildup of silt in the tank, which has clogged the drain valve. To correct the situation, use a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove the obstruction. The majority of the time, this will enough. If it does not, the situation may necessitate the involvement of a professional.

Step5: Reactivate The Cold Water Supply

Before you unplug your hose from the drain valve, be sure the cold water supply has been reactivated. This water will aid in the dislodgmentation of any further sediment that may have accumulated in your tank. Continue to allow for a few minutes of drainage until the water escaping from the hose is clean. (Optional) After that, switch off the cold water supply one more time.

Step6: Shut The Drain Valve Off

Before you detach your hose from the drain valve, make sure the cold water supply is turned back on. Any further silt that may have accumulated in your tank will be dislodged by the use of this water. Continue to allow for a few minutes of drainage until the water escaping from the hose is clean. a) Drainage valve Remove the cold water supply once again and close the faucets once more.

Step7: Close The Faucets After A Minute Or So

During the refilling process of your water heater’s tank, you may notice that discolored water is coming out of your faucets. If you wait a minute or two, this should be resolved. Once this has occurred, you may turn off the faucets.

Step8: Return Your Water Heater To Its Ready State

During the refilling process of your water heater’s tank, you may notice that coloured water is leaking from your taps. This should clean up after a minute or two. You will be able to turn off the faucets when this has occurred.

How To Clean A Hot Water Heater With Vinegar

You may need to use vinegar to cut through sediment accumulation if you suspect that your water heater has become seriously clogged with sediment. As far as how to clean a hot water heater with vinegar is concerned, the procedure is simply a few steps longer than what we previously described in detail. Before you proceed with the actions outlined above, do the following.

Remove The Anode Rod

Please refer to your tank’s owner’s handbook for the specific procedure to be followed. In most cases, a recessed bolt will require the use of a wrench to be unfastened.

Use A Funnel To Place Vinegar Inside The Tank

When you remove the anode rod, you will see a hole in the area where it was previously located. This is the location where the funnel should be placed. Fill the tank with no more than four gallons of vinegar after passing it through this funnel.

Replace The Anode Rod And Activate The Cold Water Supply

Reinstall the anode rod and turn on the cold water supply again. This will cause the tank to fill up with water again. Make sure to let the tank remain with the vinegar-infused water for the whole 24-hour period. During that time, the acidity of the vinegar will begin to work its way through the sediment.

Go Through Steps1 through8

To completely remove the vinegar (as well as any sediment that should have dissolved) from your tank, follow the instructions in steps 1 through 8 to the letter.

How To Clean A Tankless Water Heater

The fact that your water heater does not have a tank does not rule out the possibility of silt and minerals accumulating inside it over time. Essentially, a tankless heater does not store water and instead heats it on demand, as the name suggests. As a result, becoming familiar with the process of pumping water into the system and then directing it out is essential to knowing how to clean a tankless water heater. The following are the steps to follow in order to do this correctly.

Step1: Switch The Power And Gas Off

To begin, turn off the electricity and gas (if your tankless heater is powered by gas).

Step2: Remove The Unit’s Panel And Test The Electricity

It is possible to detect whether you have correctly unplugged the electricity from the tankless water heater by using a no-contact electrical tester. This is a safety measure in case you accidentally turned off the wrong switch on your circuit breaker. It will alert you if you have done so. Once you are positive that the electricity has been turned off, go to the following step.

Step3: Turn Off The Water Supply

Shut down the water supply line that runs directly into your tankless heater.

Step4: Connect The Hoses

In contrast to a traditional water heater with a tank, you’ll have to actually bring water into your tankless heater as part of the cleansing process. That is why you will require two hoses. There are two connections: one links the unit to a pump (which pumps water into it) and another connects the unit to an isolation valve (catching the water as it expelled from the tank after making its way through).

Step5: Prepare A Five-Gallon Bucket With Your Pump And Hose

Prepare the vinegar by filling a five-gallon bucket halfway with vinegar and placing your pump and the open end of your second hose inside.

Step6: Let The Pump Run For An Hour

Turn on the pump and let it running continuously for an hour. The pump will circulate the vinegar through your tankless heater in a closed loop configuration. Hopefully, the steady flow (together with the acidity of the vinegar) will be powerful enough to wear away at any built-up sediment in your heater.

Step7: Remove The Pump And Activate The Cold Water Supply

You should now be able to leave the end of your second hose in the five-gallon bucket, which should be completely empty of any vinegar. Before turning off the cold water supply, let the cold water run through the system and into the bucket for about five minutes before turning it off.

Step8: Return Your Tankless Heater To Its Operational State

Disconnecting the hoses, replacing the panel, and reactivating the water supply valves are all steps in this process. The final step should be to re-establish electrical power to the device.

How To Clean Out Your Water Heater: Conclusion

By the end of this article, you should have gained an understanding of the fact that knowing how to clean out your water heater does not involve any specialist knowledge of the system. You should be able to do this task without difficulty if you follow the procedures outlined above. To summarize, let’s take a look at some of the specific considerations you’ll need to make based on the sort of water heater you have.

How To Clean An Electric Water Heater: Special Considerations

The procedure for cleaning an electric water heater is much less complicated than the procedure for cleaning a gas water heater.

Because everything is powered by electricity, you won’t have to relight the pilot light when you’re finished with it.

How To Clean A Gas Water Heater: Special Considerations

As far as the proper way to clean a gas water heater is concerned, there are two important aspects to keep in mind. Before beginning the operation, you must turn off the gas valves in the house. Because turning off the thermostat will deactivate it, you will also need to relight the pilot light after you are finished.

Cleaning A Tankless Water Heater: Special Considerations

The fact that your heater does not have a reservoir for fluid means that you will need to introduce water and clean it out.

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Feel Like This Is Above Your Pay Grade? Trust American Home Water and Air

Don’t be concerned if you find all of this to be a bit overwhelming. If you live in or around the Phoenix, Arizona region, we would be delighted to assist you with the upkeep of your water heater. For additional information on our straightforward pricing and worry-free service, please contact us.

How to clean sediment out of water heater

Step by step Do-it-yourself starts here
Step 1:Turn power OFFNever assume power is OFFUse non-contact voltage tester on timer, on wire, on outlet to see if power is present.Press button on tester, if single beep then no power is present. If continuous beep then power is present.Never stand on bare ground, always stand on dry boards, do not hold or touch anything metal when working on timer or water heater that has power, tape tester leads to wood sticks, never touch wet water heater, or flooded water heater, or timer that had a short or fire without turning power OFF.Buy:Multimeters at AmazonSimple multimeter/ Test continuity or voltageBuy non-contact voltage tester at AmazonElectric testers at AmazonResourceHow to test if water heater electricity is off
See larger
Step 2: See if tank will drain Do NOT turn off water full pressure is neededConnect garden hose to water heater.Rotate tank drain counter-clockwise to open.See if water comes out end of hose. Wait.Do Not drain tank yet Weight of water inside tank will hold tank in place when looseneing element.
Clogged drain?Connect washing machine hose to water heater drain-valve Connect garden hose between outdoor spigot and washing machine hoseturn on outdoor spigot for a few seconds so water pressure flushes tank openResourcesWhat to do if water heater will not drainHow to replace drain valve
Step 3: Turn off cold waterTurn off water going into water heater. Do this by shutting off water valve just above water heater -or- close main shut-off valve to houseThis will stop all hot water going to each faucet
Step 4: Open tub valve ON HOT SIDE onlyThis will release hot water pressureThis will let air into line so water heater will drainLeave tub valve open so at end of job you know when tank is full of waterbeforeelectricity is turned back on.
Step 5: Remove cover and insulationCover and insulation must be put back when finished.Otherwise thermostat will not read correct temperature.
See Larger Step 6:Check for Burned wire melted parts Use nose to check for burned smell.Use eyes to look for burned and melted partsDamaged wire can be caused by sediment filling bottom of the tank and then overheating element.ResourceHow to test water heater wires
Cut back damaged wireAny damaged wire must be repairedUse wire nut to extend wire if necessaryUsual wire size for inside of tanks is12 solid copper wire/ never replace with stranded wireResourceTest wiresHow to test water heater wires
Step 7:Choose Element wrench or socketLightweight 1-1/2″ element wrench available hardware store, home center, plumbing supplyBest is 1-1/2″ socket from automovive supplyI use the socket because it grabs the element easierBuy:Water heater element socket 1-1/2″ at AmazonHeating element wrenches at AmazonCamco heavy duty element socket Marathon elements are 1-7/8″
Optional purchase: Electric impact wrench for elementsUse for removal of element only.Do not tighten element with impact wrenchBuyImpact wrenches at AmazonSpecial 1-1/2″ socket for elements
Step 8:SLIGHTLY Loosen element while tank is full of waterLoosen element SLIGHTLY while tank is FULLWhy? So weight of water will hold tank while you push on and twist wrenchTurn element wrench counter-clockwiseMust push on wrench to keep it in position on element, or wrench will slip offDo not remove element completely until tank is empty -or- water will flood out hole ResourceAlso good time to check anode rodHow to replace anode rod
How to remove stuck element/ open the linkTorch, WD40, drill bolt holes and remove with wrench, use impact wrenchMake sure water heater is full of water / for weight / when loosening elementResourceRemove rusted/stuck element
Step 9:Drain tankOpen drain valve located at bottom of tank
Step 10:Remove element and old O ring – after tank is drainedTake out old elementElement will have rubber ring that seals the tank. Remove O ring and element.Before going further,Check inside tank for loose pipe coming from top broken dip tubecauses reduced hot water and wasted electricityResourcesDip tubesAnode rod
Step 11: Assemble shop vac and hosesI use the hoses that are shown.The element opening is 1″ in diameterGarden hose bends into tank3/4″ PVC is nice fit with garden hose1″ clear tube fits 3/4″ PVC30″ piece of 1/2″ CPVC reaches back of tankBuy:Wet dry vacs at Amazon
Step 12: Vacuum out tankTape hoses together with duct tape. Clear package tape also works. Masking tape does not work.Turn vacuum ON. Insert hose or pipe. Move hose or pipe around. Remove and clean end of hose or pipe as needed.Clear tube is handy Length of 1″ clear tube lets you see if sediment is flowing past. Sediment is a slurry of water and calcium carbonate that clogs the pipe easilyso it’s handy when you can see when the stuff is flowing past.Short piece of garden hose bends into tank.Use 1/2″ cpvc to break up debrisProtect carpet from rusty waterBuy:Duct tape from AmazonShop vacs at Amazon
It doesn’t have to be perfectIt willnotbe perfect. that’s okBuyTank rinser at AmazonResourceHow to clean tank and household pipes with bleachHow to maintain water heater
Step 14: Check new elementO ringPut new O ring in placeUse new O ringDo not re-use old O ringTest new element if you want: ResourceHow to test element for continuity
Step 15: Clean opening and install elementWipe off around opening.Do NOT use teflon tape or any sealantnot necessary unless tank is damaged
Step 16: Tighten element Don’t overtighten, a firm snug is enough
Step 17: Attach wires to either screw Tighten screws very tight against copper wireOnly solid copper wire, No insulation under the screw head
Step 18:Close drainput covers on Close drainput cover and insulation onturn on waterDo NOT turn power ON until tank is full of waterInsulation must be reinstalled over thermostatDo not turn on circuit breaker until tank is full of water Drain valve drips?Use garden hose cap if drain valve dripsBuy Buy brass garden hose cap at amazon ResourceHow to replace drain valve
If drain will not stop dripping: add brass hose capPick up plastic hose cap at local big-box-store, and replace later with brass hose capBuy:Brass hose caps at Amazon
Wait to turn on breaker Wait .Do NOT turn power On.until tank is full:Wait for tank to fillWater heater elements must be emersed in water or they will burn out instantlyBurn out is called dry fire, and is not covered by element warranty.Replace burned out element with new element.
Step 19:Wait for tank to fillOpen bathtub spout ON HOT SIDE onlyAfter water heater fills with water, water will start to come out bathtub valve40 gallon tank might fill in 15-20 minutes or less
Tub is running on HOT side. Tank is full.✔Bathtub hot water side is running with no air gapsturn off tub momentarily open TP valve on water heater to bleed last of waterturn on circuit breaker
Step 20: Turn power OnTurn on breakerput ear against water heater bubbly fizzing sound says it’s workingwait 10 minutes to see if water is getting hot.Put EAR against side of tank and listen for bubbly fizzing sound4500 watt tank heats 21 gallons per hour 40 gallon tank will take 2 hours to fill completely
Job is finished
Step 21: What if tank is not working?Read ‘repaired water heater is not working’

How To Clean and Flush a Water Heater

Please keep in mind that this content may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, we may gain a small profit on purchases made via our links. Cleaning your water heater on an annual basis is the most effective approach to ensure that it is as safe and trustworthy as possible. Learn how to flush a water heater by following these steps: In related news, here’s how to clean a TANKLESS water heater.

Drain the Water Heater

Connect a garden hose to the hose bib located near the bottom of the water heater and run the hose to a floor drain or an exterior place to collect any excess water from the water heater. Note: If you have a drainpanunderneath that has been properly connected to a drain, you will not need to use a hose. Turn off the water heater’s electricity, or turn the gas control valve to the “Vacation” position, whichever is appropriate. Close the cold water entry valve, which is normally found at the top of the tank.

Open the drain valve and turn on the hot water faucet nearest to the tank to allow air to circulate through the tank.

It is true that larger hot water heater sizes will take a little longer to drain, but it should not take more than a few minutes in most cases.

The moment has come to upgrade your water heater’s drain valve from the less robust plastic version with the more durable brass version.

Cleaning and Flushing the Tank

If you go to your local hardware shop, you can get a long, thin brush (like this one) that is intended for cleaning refrigerator coils but is also wonderful for cleaning water heater tanks. Insert the brush into the opening left by the drain valve once it has been disassembled. Scrape the bottom of the tank and as much of the inside walls of the tank as you can with the brush, being careful not to scratch the surface of the tank. In the event that your tank has not been cleaned in a while, this process may take some time.

  • A short 3/4 inch plumbing nipple should be screwed into the drain hole.
  • Make sure a bucket is placed right below the plumbing nipple, or that you have a garden hose connected to the opposite end of the nipple (or let it drain into a properly installed drain pan).
  • Connect a hose to the cold water input valve and turn it on for a few minutes until the water flowing out of the hose is clear.
  • Some material, such as rust or calcium deposits, may be present in the bucket.

Although it is beneficial, you should still physically flush and clean a water heater, but you will not have to do it on a regular basis. As a result, rather than cleaning once a year, it is recommended that you do it every three years or such.

Completing the Project

Turn off the hot water faucet if it is still running. Rather than replacing the drain valve, you may install an inline ball valve at the end of the nipple to make future cleaning easier and more convenient. It will be necessary to install a second, short nipple to the valve’s outflow side. Wrap plumber’s tape over the threads on both sides of the nipple and tighten the nipple into the tank until it is completely secure. Screw the ball valve into place and tighten it down completely. Open the cold water inlet valve by turning it to the on position.

As soon as all of the air has been withdrawn from the tank, reconnect the electricity or turn on the gas control valve to the “On” position again.

How to Flush Sediment Out of a Water Heater

The information contained in this article is provided solely for the purpose of providing general information and does not constitute professional advice. With respect to this material, LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action.

  1. Every homeowner understands the need of regularly cleaning and maintaining their systems and appliances.
  2. The removal of silt from a water heater can extend its lifespan and increase its efficiency.
  3. By removing sediment from your water heater, you may save money while also heating your water more quickly.
  4. Learn more about how a water heater works so that you can better understand how to clean out your tank.
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1. Turn the Water Heater Off

If you have an electric water heater, make sure the power switch is turned off before continuing. Ensure that your water heater is a gas heater, such as the one seen in the photo above, by setting your thermostat to “pilot.” This shuts down the heating element in your water heater, allowing the water to cool down as a result. Ensure that no one in your home is currently attempting to take a shower, wash dishes, or do a load of laundry before beginning this home repair chore.

2. Turn the Cold Water Valve Off

You should also turn off the electricity to your electric water heater if you have one. The “pilot” setting on your thermostat is required if your water heater is a gas heater like the one seen in the photo above.

In order for your water to cool down, this shuts off the heating element in your water heater. Prevent anyone in your home from taking a shower, washing dishes, or starting a load of laundry before beginning this home repair activity.

3. Let the water cool.

Don’t dump scorching hot water down the drain. Allow the tank to cool after the heating components have been turned off. Some bigger water heater tanks might take up to two hours to complete the process.

4. Attach a drain or garden hose to the drain valve on the side of the tank

Drain your water heater by connecting a hose to the drain valve located on the side of the unit. Make certain that the hose is properly screwed on, otherwise you may experience leaks when you drain your water heater tank from the faucet.

5. Place the end of the hose in a bucket or drain.

Don’t let your house flood! Make sure to place the hose’s end in a heat-resistant pail or down a drain when you’re finished. Before you begin emptying the water heater, check to be sure that your drain will not overflow while doing so.

6. Turn on a faucet (or two)

The use of faucets around your house might help prevent a vacuum from accumulating inside your plumbing system. Turn on the “hot” setting on your faucets and leave them running. Due to the fact that you have shut off the cold water valve to your water heater, there will be little or no warm water displaced through them.

7. Start draining the tank by turning on the drain valve.

Turn the valve on carefully with a flathead screwdriver, making sure there are no leaks and that the bucket or drain you are emptying the water into is not going to overflow while doing so.

8. After the water heater tank has finished draining the sediment, turn the drain valve off, remove the hose, turn the cold water valve on, and turn the heating elements in the water heater back on.

Turn the valve on carefully with a flathead screwdriver, making sure there are no leaks and that the bucket or drain you are draining the water into will not overflow while doing so.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

Turn the valve on carefully with a flathead screwdriver, making sure there are no leaks and that the bucket or drain you are emptying the water into is not going to overflow.

How Often Should You Flush Your Hot Water Heater?

It is recommended that you cleanse your hot water heater every one to three years, depending on your model. Really, it’s such a simple job that it wouldn’t be a hassle to complete it at least once a year.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

It is recommended that you flush your hot water heater every one to three years, depending on your particular model. To be honest, it’s such a simple job that doing it at least once a year wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience.

Finishing Things Up

Following your satisfaction with the purity of your water, it’s time to return everything to their original state.

  • Disconnect the drainage spigot and the hose from the drain
  • Turn off the water supply to your sink or tub that you had switched on at the start of the process. To begin, turn on the cold water tap that feeds your hot water heater. To get the air out of the system, turn on the hot water faucet in a sink or bathtub for a few minutes. At this point, you should be able to get cold water out of the faucet. To turn it off, press the button. Restart your hot water heater if you have accidentally turned off the gas supply. If you have accidentally switched off your hot water heater’s thermostat, re-light the pilot light (it’s simple — I may write an article on it in the future), and then turn the thermostat back on. For electric water heaters, locate the breaker switch on your electrical panel that supplies electricity to your hot water heater and turn it off. Allow around 20 minutes for the water to warm up. Start by turning on one of your house’s hot water spigots to confirm that hot water is flowing out

Boom. You’ve taken the time to flush your hot water heater. Make a note on your calendar to repeat the process in a year.

How To Clean Gunk out of Your Hot Water Tank using Vinegar

Conservation Cleaning the muck from your hot water tank” data-image-caption=”” data-medium file=”” data large file=” ssl=1″>How to clean the gunk out of your hot water tank Published on the 18th of December, 2014 | by Peter Young How to clean the muck out of your hot water tank” data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=”ssl=1″ data-large-file=”ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” width=”306″ and height=”460″ are both acceptable. src=” alt=”Using Vinegar to Clean the Gunk Out of Your Hot Water Tank” src=” Set the srcset to ssl=1 306w, ssl=1 266w, and ssl=1 427w.

As a result of the buildup of minerals such as lime, calcium, and other minerals in the base of your hot water tank, your hot water tank will have to work harder to heat the water for your house.

Patio heaters may also be cleaned using the same methods as inside heaters. You can clean the muck out of your hot water tank by simply following these steps: You’ll need the following supplies for the job:

  • 1 to 3 gallons of vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Hose
  • Bucket
  • Teflon tape
  • Paper towel
  • Socket wrench (11/16th”)

How to add vinegar to your hot water tank

If you are in any way hesitant or concerned about doing maintenance work on your hot water tank, you should stop before continuing with this job. Make an appointment with a local expert to have them take care of your hot water tank. Part 1 of 2: Take the anode rod out of your hot water tank and set it aside. Remove the electricity from your hot water tank by following these steps: 1. Close your home’s circuit breaker and turn the switch that controls the electricity to your hot water tank (which should be labeled) to the “off” position to turn off the water.

  1. Turn on a water tap in your house.
  2. By doing so, you will avoid having a vacuum build up within your system and will allow it to drain correctly.
  3. Water waste may be reduced by simply turning the faucet on low.just enough to ensure that water is circulating through the system.
  4. Connect a hose to the drain valve on the bottom of your hot water heater.
  5. 4.
  6. In order for your cold water line to reach your hot water tank, it should be situated directly above your unit.
  7. 5.

Now that you’ve switched off the electricity, opened a faucet, attached a hose, and disconnected the cold water line from the tank, you’re ready to begin partially draining the tank.

Turn off the power.

You should use a bucket if you’re draining the water.

Just make sure you don’t forget to close the drain valve when you’ve finished emptying the bucket.

Remember to view this little video about water heater anode rods before proceeding to the next step of removing the anode rod from the water heater: 6.

It is now necessary to remove the anode rod.

The term “sacrificial piece of metal” refers to a piece of metal that is placed within your hot water tank to assist prevent the buildup of rust on its internal walls.

In certain circumstances, the hot water tank will have a lid that covers the anode rod; in order to obtain access to the anode rod, you’ll need to remove the lid (which is normally held in place by screws) from the hot water tank.


As soon as you’ve identified the anode rod on your unit, use your socket wrench to loosen it until you’re able to pull it away of the hot water tank.

To remove the anode rod, you’ll need a socket with a 1 and 1/16th-inch ball bearing.

Add the vinegar to the hot water tank in Part 2 of this article.

Pour in the vinegar and stir well.

To begin, take your funnel and insert it into the aperture for the anode rod; next, slowly pour your vinegar into the hot water tank’s bottom compartment.


Simply remove the anode rod from the hot water tank and reinstall it, tightening it down with your socket wrench.

This will aid in the achievement of a snug, airtight fit.


It’s time to refill the hot water tank with water now that the vinegar has been placed inside and the anode rod has been installed.

The water will not fill the tank if it is left running for 5-10 minutes, but it will help to mix up the vinegar and circulate it around the interior of the hot water tank.

Allow for at least 6 hours of resting time after mixing the water and vinegar.

If possible, leave it overnight.


When you’ve let the water/vinegar combination to settle for at least 6 hours, it’s time to empty the tank of any remaining liquid.

Don’t forget that you’ll need a hose connected to the drain valve, with the other end draining into a drain or a bucket.

If this occurs, just massage the line with your hands until you feel the impediment begin to move through the hose again.


Before beginning to fill your hot water tank, double-check that the drain valve is closed and that all of your faucets are turned off.


To finish the job, all that has to be done is re-energize the hot water tank’s electrical system.

Isn’t it a piece of cake?

Make contact with a local specialist and ask them to take care of the tank for you.

Please see the following green home improvement projects if you’re seeking for more methods to make your home more energy efficient: green home improvement projects After all, Green Living Ideas is one of the top 20 home renovation websites on the internet!

Related Resources:

There are many more ways to use vinegar to clean around the house! How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work? How Do Gas and Electric Water Heaters Work? Best Tankless Water Heaters How Does a Solar-Powered Hot Water Heater Operate? Make the most of your hot water by following these guidelines. 4 Energy-Efficient Bathroom Tips to Help You Save Money Changing the Aerator in the Sink Instructions on how to install a water-saving shower head New Water Heater Technology Reduces Water and Energy Consumption How to Conserve Water and Save Money Photo courtesy of the Creative Commons license on Flickr (Hot Water Tanks) This post was sponsored by Best of Machinery in the past and is now being re-sponsored.

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About the Author

With a degree in journalism from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), he is committed to living a more sustainable and environmentally responsible lifestyle. This is true in both his professional and personal lives. While at PLU, he began his exploration of sustainability, which eventually led him to write for Green Living Ideas. At the moment, he lives in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency firm dedicated to lowering carbon emissions while also encouraging a healthier, more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

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