A water heater is an important part of a residential plumbing system. It would be very inconvenient to live without hot water. Although you depend on the heater every day, you may not give much thought to its maintenance. Flushing out the heater regularly is a good practice.
If you don't feel comfortable doing the job yourself, you can call a plumber to flush the heater and check the safety valves too. Here's why flushing the water tank is important.
Flushing Gets Rid Of Sediment
Sediment collects in your water tank over time. The amount of minerals in your water determines how often your tank needs to be flushed out. Hard water can damage all parts of a residential plumbing system, including a water heater.
You can combat hard water by having your plumber install a water softener that removes minerals. Otherwise, the minerals need to be flushed out regularly. Doing this process annually is a good pattern to establish, but you may need to flush the tank more often or less often.
Another type of sediment that builds up in the tank is from particulates like sand and rust in your water, as might happen if you have well water. You can reduce the number of particulates by having your plumber install a filter in the plumbing system before the water reaches the water heater tank.
Less Sediment Helps Your Heater Be More Efficient
When sediment builds up in your water heater, the heating element may not be able to heat your water as easily. This could cause your heater to run longer and that can drive up your power bill.
Once the sediment is flushed out, your water should heat up quicker and your heater may run less often. Plus, you may eliminate annoying noises made by sediment hitting the sides of the tank.
Maintaining The Water Heater Could Prolong Its Life
When sediment builds up, your water heater can malfunction. When your water doesn't get hot, you'll need to call a plumber to make repairs. This leads to increased operating costs for your heater, and it may eventually lead to a shorter lifespan.
A plumbing contractor can clean out your tank and service the safety valves and other parts if needed so your heater lasts as long as possible. At some point, the heater will reach the end of its lifespan and need to be replaced.
When that happens you may want to talk to a plumbing contractor about having a tankless water heater installed. Although a tankless heater doesn't have a tank that holds water, sediment and scale can still collect in the coils. You'll still need to flush out a tankless water heater or it might malfunction too. Contact a residential plumbing contractor for more information.