How To Drain, Flush, and Refill The Gas Water Heater
Water heaters are one of the most important appliances that you need to have in your house. Without them, there would be no way of taking hot showers, baths, or washing dishes properly. You need hot water for a whole multitude of things so your house can function, and you can’t do that without having a good hot water heater tank that heats up your water quickly and keeps it hot.
Hot water heaters are pivotal appliances for the house, but they are also one of the most expensive appliances. Thankfully, if you take care of your hot water heater whether it is with a tank or tankless, it can last for decades!
Maintenance, in general, is important for your hot water tank, but one thing that people most often overlook is that gas water heater tanks need more than just regular maintenance to check for rust, more importantly,they need routine draining, flushing, and refilling.
Why gas water tank heaters need to be flushed
Did you know that gas water tank heaters collect a ton of sediment and sludge at the bottom of it? Water is packed full of nutrients and precious minerals, many of which are not just okay for you to drink but that are actually beneficial for you to drink and good for the body.
What is not good for the body is the fact that eventually these minerals come out of the water in your tank and start to collect and settle down at the bottom of the tank which creates a sort of nasty sludge or sediment in the tank. Once it turns to sludge it will get back into your tap water making it incredibly dirty and can actually lead to you getting sick from drinking or using it.
Why is sludge in your tank more than just something gross?
When this sludge and sediment settles at the bottom of your water heater, it is more than just gross and bad for you, it can also cause some pretty serious issues in your water heater. It is recommended that you drain and clean out your hot water tank once or twice a year so that you can avoid issues like running out of hot water, the water heater working harder resulting in higher energy bills, sludge backing up the water flow leading to a burst water heater, and even water damage to the rest of your home which will come with a hefty price tag.
How to avoid these problems
You know now that it is vitally important to clean out your hot water heater tank, but the next question is how are you supposed to do that?. This sounds like an incredibly difficult task, but thankfully it is a relatively simple project to take on that only has to be done about one time every year, twice a year if your water shows that it has more minerals in it. It takes very little time to get it drained and flushed, and back up and running with fresh, clean water running through your tank.
How to take on this task alone
Unless you are draining your hot water heater in order to make or replace other issues in the water heater, you only have to clean out this sludge and sediment once or twice a year to keep it safe and clean. Even though this process takes a few minutes to get through it, it is still relatively simple to do it by yourself as long as you follow the guide step by step so that it is done as quickly and painlessly, and of course correctly, as possible.
The first step to cleaning out your gas water heater is to turn the valve into the “off” position which may also be labeled as the “pilot” position. When it is put into this position your pilot light will be completely turned off so that all gas stops flowing into the tank.
After the pilot light goes off, the tank is still going to be hot as the water inside the tank is going to run at approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit with the pilot turned on. So, after you turn it off it is best to allow it to cool off for at least two hours so that the water is cool and won’t injure you or damage your plants or your lawn as water starts to drain from the system.
Once the pilot light is turned off and the water has had several hours to cool, the next step is to get a long garden hose and attach it to the spigot that is at the bottom of the tank and take the other end of the hose outside.
You will then open up the vale that is located at the bottom of the water heater tank. This valve is the drain valve, and when it opens all of the contents in the tank will drain completely which means all of the minerals that create the sludge and flakes will start to drain out of the tank.
Once all of the water in the tank seemed to be drained out and all of the sludge emptied from the tank, your next step will be to open the cold water supply valve back up. This will allow cold fresh water to rush back quickly into the tank which will further drain the valve and make sure everything is flushed. Allow this valve to stay open for at least ten minutes so that all of the sludge is sure to be emptied out of the tank.
Finally, shut all the valves again, disconnect the garden hose and close the spigot, then allow the hot water tap to stay open so that the tank can fill again. Once it is filled back up you can turn the gas valve back on and relight the pilot light to get the gas going once more. In no time you are ready to use your hot water knowing that it is clean and sludge free!