family plumbing awareness

family plumbing awareness

Is Your Electric Hot Water Heater Shot? Flush And Learn

Patsy Peterson

Is it time to replace your old hot water heater? If you're running out of hot water sooner than you used to, it could be time to replace the tank, or it could just need flushed. Here, you'll learn how to flush your hot water heater to determine if the sediment built up on the bottom of the tank are preventing it from functioning the way that it should.

Supply List

  • Garden hose
  • Towels – to prepare for spillage clean-up
  • Bucket

Alert the Family

It's never pleasant to get into the shower just to find out that there's no hot water. Before you shut off the power and get to work flushing the tank, give the family enough of a heads up that they can adjust their routines to eliminate the need of hot water for a little while.

Cut the Power

You never want to work on your hot water heater while there's electrical current flowing to it. Shut off the breaker to the hot water heater. This will eliminate the risk of electrical shock and potential damage to the heating elements that could burn up as you drain and flush the tank.

Connect the Hose

You will see a spigot towards the bottom of the water heater. This spigot is the drain. Connect the hose securely. Place the bucket underneath to catch any water that may drip from the connection. If the connection will not seal tightly, you can get a little bit of plumbing Teflon tape and wrap it clockwise around the threads of the spigot. This will help to create a tighter temporary seal.

Run the Hose

Now, run the house outside or into a drain. If you opt to run it outside, make sure that your kids and pets do not play in the area while you're draining the tank. You don't want them getting burned by the hot water coming from the tank. Also, make sure that the hose is far enough away and directed away from the house so that the water doesn't begin to seep into the foundation and cause another problem for you to resolve.

Flush the Tank

Open the drain spigot and let the water drain. Continue to let the water fill into the hot water heater as you drain it. This will help to flush the sediment that is caked onto the bottom. Go to the end of the hose and watch for the water to run clear. Once there is no longer sediment coming out with the water, go in and turn off the drain valve.

Tip: If you can't tell if the water is clear, get a light colored towel or blanket to lay on the ground where the water is draining. You'll be able to see the sediment much more easily.

Refill and Test the Tank

Remove the hose and allow the tank to fill. Give it some time to heat up and give it a test run. Sometimes, this is all a hot water heater needs, but other times, it will need replaced.

Talk with a local hot water heater expert, like one from Moon Valley Plumbing, to learn more about optimizing the performance of your hot water heater.


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About Me
family plumbing awareness

Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.

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