If a hot shower is one of your top morning priorities, then scheduling an appointment to have your water heater flushed should be on your to-do list. Proper water heater maintenance, including periodic flushing, can help keep your appliance in good working order. When you leave this job to the pros, you can trust that it will get done thoroughly, accurately and safely.
Facts About Water Heater Sediment
Your water may look clear, but it contains an assortment of minerals. Those minerals can leave deposits in your water heater. Common minerals that can build up inside water heaters are calcium and magnesium.
This buildup is often called limescale sediment. Anyone’s water heater can develop sediment, but the problem may be especially pronounced in areas with hard water.
If you have a water heater with a traditional tank, the sediment will accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Tankless water heaters, too, can develop a sediment problem.
Reasons to Have Your Water Heater Flushed
When sediment buildup is plaguing your water heater, it will start to work less efficiently. The mineral deposits may act as a layer of insulation that requires the water heater to work harder to achieve high temperatures. Plus, the sediment may be taking up much of the tank space that should be dedicated to holding hot water.
These issues are rough on your hot water supply and your wallet. You might start to notice that you’re running out of hot water more quickly than you used to. Despite the reduced output, your energy bills may be creeping higher and higher.
Expensive energy bills aren’t the only sign of a water heater problem. For example, some of the sediment may flow out of the faucet when you run the hot water. Your water could have a cloudy or grimy appearance. It might taste or smell bad.
Your water heater could start making unusual noises too. That problem occurs when steam tries to get past the layer of sediment or when the sediment shifts position in the tank. Many homeowners describe these sounds as pops, cracks, rumbles or hammering noises.
Limited hot water and loud noises may simply be nuisances, but water heater sediment can lead to much larger problems. Sediment buildup can restrict water flow by blocking the drain pipe or the supply pipe. If the situation is dire enough, a pipe might even break.
Additionally, sediment that sits on the bottom of your tank can damage the unit. Heat can become trapped under the sediment, and that can affect the tank material. You might notice areas of discoloration on the tank.
Shifting sediment can also put wear and tear on the tank. If the sediment wears through the inner liner, the outer material may begin to corrode.
The strain of working harder to produce hot water could weaken the integrity of the unit. It may start to leak in places. There’s even a chance that the water heater could burst. Whether because of a leak or an explosion, you might eventually have a flood on your hands.
Benefits of Professional Water Heater Flushing
When you have an issue with water heater sediment, it’s best to call a professional. A plumber can do what’s known as flushing the water heater. The process involves draining all of the water from the tank and then using clean water to clear out any mineral deposits that have accumulated.
A plumber will have the right tools and hoses for the task. You can count on the plumber to show up with all the parts that are needed. The plumber will also know exactly how to hook up the hoses, which valves to open, and in what order to perform each step. Overall, depending on a professional can make flushing a quick and easy process.
There are different flushing procedures for standard and tankless water heaters. Your plumbing pro will know which type of unit you have and how to do the job correctly.
While the plumber goes through each step of the flushing process, you can focus on other things. You don’t need to oversee the procedure. Professionals have flushed water heaters plenty of times before, so they know how to exercise care and caution throughout the process. You’re less likely to end up with a big mess on your hands than you would be if you tried to do the job yourself.
Sometimes, removing sediment from a water heater causes an unexpected leak. It’s possible that there’s been a crack in the unit for a long time, but a piece of sediment was blocking the opening. Once that sediment is removed, hot water could begin leaking out of the tank. A professional plumber will know how to be on the lookout for a problem like that. If there is a leak, the plumber can fix it right away.
You’re at a higher risk of a leak if it has been quite a while since your system was last flushed. Longer spans of time can lead to more buildup and more damage to the unit. For that reason, bringing in a professional for the job can be even more important.
Tips for Water Heating Flushing
Most people will benefit from having their water heaters flushed at least one time per year. In areas with hard water, more frequent flushing is often recommended. It can be a good idea to have the job performed every six months.
In general, people who live on the eastern or western coasts of the U.S. usually have softer water. Hard water is more common in the middle section of the country.
To confirm whether you have hard water, you can inquire with your city or your water company. There are also kits you can purchase to test the water supply yourself. Your plumber can provide recommendations about how often water heaters in your local area should be flushed.
You may want to have the plumber do more than just a flush during your water heater appointment. An annual flushing visit is a great time to take care of other maintenance matters as well.
During a maintenance appointment, a plumber may check to see whether the valves are working properly. The plumber might also inspect the integrity of the tank and the connecting pipes. Checking whether a new anode rod is needed could be another task on the list.
Overall, regular maintenance appointments are a smart way to get as many years as possible out of your water heater. By keeping the system clean and addressing any minor issues before they become major problems, you can count on having a steady supply of hot water.
Capps Plumbing & Sewer in Wheeling has expertise in all water heater matters, including flushes. In addition, we work with kitchen plumbing, bathroom plumbing and sewer lines. Our experienced plumbers can provide service for your pumps, boilers, garbage disposals and other plumbing appliances. Whether you need commercial or residential plumbing services, call Capps Plumbing & Sewer today to schedule your appointment.