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What You Need to Know About Water Heater Tank Flushes

tank water heaterThe water heater in your house can account for around 17% of the energy used in your home each year. That makes it the appliance that consumes the most power of any single indoor appliance in the household. Unlike a gas-powered furnace, you rely on your water heater almost every day, so it’s especially important to have it well taken care of. Without regular maintenance, a water heater can quickly become a huge energy drain and will wear down far faster.

The water heater tank flush is one of the key parts of regular maintenance that keeps a water heater running at higher energy efficiency and helps ensure a long service life. We’ll answer some important questions about tank flushes in this post. 

Why do water heaters need tank flushes?

The water entering the tank of a water heater contains some amount of sediment in it—even with the best water filtration for the house—that will settle along the bottom of the tank. This layer of sediment will accumulate over time until it starts to restrict the water heater’s performance and lowers efficiency. A flush removes this sediment and gives the water heater a “reset.”

What problems do tank flushes help avoid?

First, they prevent a significant plunge in energy efficiency from the water heater. The layer of sediment at the tank bottom makes it harder for the heating element to apply heat to the water in the tank. The sediment can also lead to the tank overheating because of reduced volume (you may notice this as a rumbling or popping sound from the tank). Regular flushing also helps stop several major repair problems and can significantly elongate the life expectancy of the water heater. 

How often does the tank need to be flushed?

For homes that don’t have issues with hard water, their water heater’s tank may need flushing every 2 to 3 years. However, we strongly recommend you arrange for regular maintenance for your water heater every year. During maintenance, our technicians can determine if the water heater needs to be flushed and will perform it as necessary. As long as you’re scheduling maintenance each year, you’ll have your water heater flushed on the right schedule.

Can I flush the water heater tank myself?

You can find “how-to” guides for just about any household job somewhere online, and flushing a water heater tank is no exception. We advise against it—this is a complex job that will require you to purchase several pieces of specialized equipment just to get it done once, and you won’t even know if you’ve done it right. It’s much better to schedule full maintenance service for the water heater so you can have tank flushing done correctly as part of it. 

When it comes to water heaters in Wilmette, IL, Reliance Plumbing is the contractor to trust for complete service—from new unit installation to repairs to maintenance. We work with a range of water heater types, including tankless and hybrid models. 

Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. serves the Northshore and Northwest Chicagoland Area. Call us for all your water heater needs.

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