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How Often Should You Drain Your Water Heater?

Homeowners rely heavily on their hot water heaters for many daily activities, such as cooking, taking showers or baths, and cleaning their dishes. The continuous use takes a toll on the heater, so you must drain it periodically for proper maintenance. Neglecting to do so can create scaling and leave sediment buildup behind, but you might ask, “How often should you drain your water heater?”

In this short guide, we explain the importance of draining your hot water heater, how often you should drain it, and the lifespan of various heaters. Keep reading to learn about water heater maintenance, and then give Norman’s professional plumbers a call for assistance. At Champion Plumbing, we can help drain your water heater, perform routine maintenance, and inspect the condition of your unit. 

You Should Drain Your Water Heater Twice a Year

While we recommend draining your water heater at least once a year, doing so twice annually will give you the best results and the healthiest system. You need to flush out the minerals and sediment that accumulate over time. We suggest flushing and draining once in the spring and once in the fall. 

Minerals from hard water enter your heater through tap water, and these drop to the bottom, building up as you use your system. You might be surprised at just how much of these materials buildup in your unit in a matter of four to six months. The longer you leave them, the greater likelihood the sediment will cause severe problems, and you might need to replace your entire unit if the amount becomes bad enough.

Depending on your area, you might have more hard water because of underground limestone. If your location has this issue, you might need to increase the frequency of your draining and flushing routine.

How to Drain Your Water Heater

If you’re ready to drain your hot water, follow these steps. Before the flushing, turn off your gas water heater properly, if applicable.

  1. Turn the power off by shutting off the cold water and thermostat and flipping the circuit breaker.
  2. Attach a garden hose to the water heater’s drain valve, or use your heater’s floor drain as a release area. The hose’s other end should distribute the water to a drain or area outside that is far away from plants or your home’s foundation. 
  3. Turn on any hot water faucet you have for faster draining.
  4. Next, open the drain valve so the tank can drain the sediment and minerals out. Keep an eye on the water flowing out and monitor where it ends up. Using a wet/dry vacuum can help remove more of the loose sediment left behind on the tank’s floor.
  5. Turn the cold water back on, and allow it to remove leftover sediment or mineral content. Keep flushing the system until the water coming out looks clear.
  6. Close the drain valve by disconnecting the hose, and vacuum the last remnants of solid material.
  7. Check the water flowing out of the hot water faucets, and let it run clear before shutting them off.
  8. Finally, reset your hot water heater settings. When the tank is full and time has passed, you should be able to use your unit normally.

Draining a Tankless Water Heater

The process for draining a tankless hot water heater differs from the above process. While hardware stores have flush kits for these units, our team at Champion Plumbing can help you with this maintenance task. Whether your system is tankless or hot, we’re ready to help!

Lifespans of Water Heaters

Depending on the type of hot water heater you have, the lifespan of your unit can vary. Generally, water heaters last between ten and 20 years.

  • Gas water heaters operate for eight to 12 years before needing a replacement.
  • Electric water heaters often last for a decade or 15 years.
  • Tankless water heaters last two times as long as the other types of systems. These are convenient options that might be more expensive to install but are worth the price for some. You can expect tankless units to have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Gas is usually a cheaper energy source for your home than electricity. Between electric and gas water heaters, both are excellent choices for heating your home, and either one could outlast the other. Maintenance, age, model, use, and other factors can contribute to your heater’s lifespan.

Increasing Your Water Heater’s Lifespan

Now that you know the answer to, “How often should you drain your water heater?” take action to increase your water heater’s lifespan in other helpful ways. Neglecting routine maintenance can result in a premature breakdown. No one wants to replace their water heater sooner than they have to, so consider these methods to increase your water heater’s lifespan.

  • Address your issues earlier by calling a plumber immediately. Contact Champion Plumbing!
  • Perform an annual test of the pressure-release valve, and see how it is operating.

Flushing and draining your water heater twice a year (or once) is the best way to keep it running well. The tank could suffer from structural damage due to corrosion and unsafe pressure conditions from a blocked valve. It can also become less effective at heating the water in your home.

Superior Water Heater Services in Edmond, OK, with Champion Plumbing

Champion Plumbing is the #1 plumbing company in Edmond, OK, and the surrounding areas. We have over 1,500 five-star customer reviews to back up our quality services, years of experience, and unparalleled dedication to customer service. We can help you keep your hot water heater in excellent condition and advise you of the signs your water heater is going bad.

We can help you answer questions like, “How often should you drain your water heater?” and offer superior hot water heater services for Oklahoma residents. Our technicians can perform repairs for any concerns or install a new unit. Contact our team for a consultation by calling us at (405) 889-1318.

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The next time you need a plumbing contractor, call Champion Plumbing if you’re in the Edmond, OK area at 405-342-3571 and give us the chance to earn your business.