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Flush Your Water Heater Yearly

If your water isn’t getting as hot as it used to, a good water heater flush might solve the issue. You might need to flush excessive mineral deposits from the water heater tank.

Minerals from your water can accumulate in your water heater tank and act as an insulating layer. Over time, it takes more and more energy for your water heater’s burners to heat the water. If you flush your water heater yearly, you will not only improve heating efficiency, which saves you money on your power bills, but it can also extend the life of your tank and its components.

Draining your water heater is not rocket science, but it does take some specific directions and time. It’s a great idea to mark it on your calendar – flush your water heater yearly!

Maintaining your own water heater will prolong the life of your water heater. In addition, you’ll be more likely to see signs of leaking or failure early, and as a result, you could avoid a full-fledged (and costly) flood. Flush your hot water heater yearly to prevent failures associated with mineral buildup.


To do this DIY project all you need is a flat head screwdriver and a garden hose.

Follow these steps to properly and safely drain a standard gas or electric water heater:

1. Shut off the gas or electricity to the water heater.

For gas units, turn the control knob to pilot. For electric units, turn off flip the breakers at the main electrical panel.

2. Shut off the water supply valve.

Find the shut-off valve above the water heater and turn the handle counterclockwise until the handle can no longer turn.

3. Turn on the hot water on a faucet in the house.

This aids in draining the water tank. Leave the faucet on for the duration of this project.

4. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve.

The drain down valve is located at the base of the water heater. Connect your hose to the valve and run the hose out to your yard, a nearby storm drain, or side yard. You might find rust in the discharged water that may stain concrete or other surfaces. If the water heater is located in a basement, an in-line pump will be needed.

5. Open the drain valve and empty the tank.

*REMINDER: WATER WILL BE HOT! Using the flat head screwdriver, turn the drain down valve stem counterclockwise. Wait about 5 minutes, or until the water is running clear and free. Complete discharge of the water tank is unnecessary.

6. Shut off the drain valve

Using the flat-headed screwdriver, shut off the valve until water flows out of the garden hose stops completely.

7. Turn the water supply valve back on

With the faucet still on, from the previous step, turn on the water valve above the water heater. When you do so you will hear surges of water and bubbling sounds from the tank and faucet. Don’t worry, this is normal as the system is purging air from the pipes. Once the tank is completely full and purged air is released turn off the faucet and leave the tank valve on.

8. Turn the gas or electricity back on.

IMPORTANT!!! Power should only be returned to the tank AFTER it is completely filled with water. Failure to do so will likely damage the heating elements and other components of the tank. Once the tank is completely full energize the tank: For electric water heaters, turn on the breaker; for gas water heaters, follow the instructions printed on the tank.

Most homeowners don’t realize that the standard manufacturer’s warranty for a water heater is only 6 years. Most tanks last much longer than 6 years without any maintenance, but a properly maintained standard water heater can to last in excess of 15 years. Considering the average cost for replacement on average is between $1,700 and $2,200, a little TLC can save you a considerable amount of money.

If you know you need this service done but don’t trust your own handy skills, give us at Rocket Rooter a call!

Replacement of a failing or failed water heater is our #1 emergency service to our residential customers.

If you do end up needing to replace your water heater, contact Rocket Rooter and we’ll be happy to set you up with a water heater replacement, or even help you save money on energy bills with a hybrid or heat pump water heater or a tankless/on-demand water heater.