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Old 10-07-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
Rav
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


We have a gas domestic hot water heater in the basement. About a year ago the original plastic flush valve failed so we had it replaced with a brass one. When they removed the old valve a bunch of soft white-ish pellets gushed out, which I assume was calcium. Obviously I hadn't been flushing it often enough or well enough. So I resolved to flush it every 6 months. Here's what I have been doing, and I'd appreciate comments on whether what I'm doing is sufficient:

  • Turn temp knob to pilot (lowest setting), turn pilot knob to off, turn off red gas knob.
  • Turn off cold water inlet valve.
  • Attach short 5/8" drain hose. Open drain valve to drain into floor drain.
  • Open all hot water faucets in the house to let air in.
  • Once drained to a trickle, flush directly into a bucket to ensure it's well flushed.
  • Close drain valve.
  • Open cold water inlet valve all the way for 30 seconds, then close.
  • Flush again. At this point, the water is mostly clear but still a little cloudy.
  • Close drain valve. Close all hot water faucets. Open cold water inlet valve to fill tank.
  • Flush air out of all hot water faucets.
  • Turn on gas, pilot knob to pilot, light pilot. Turn pilot knob to on.
  • Put temp knob back to proper setting.

I guess the most important question is: Is draining, opening the water inlet for 30 seconds, then draining again, sufficient?

Thanks very much. /Rav

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


Usually the water being drained will mostly clear up after you drew about two gallons after which time you can stop draining, refill the water heater and plumbing system, then turn the heater back on.

If you got out a lot of sediment it would be a good idea to schedule the next draining for just one month later, otherwise you can go six months.

Every other time, leave the water turned on without opening any faucets and drain a few gallons that way.

Either way, no one should use hot water for several hours before you do the draining.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-07-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:59 AM   #3
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


If this is just to keep the minerals from building up your going through a whole lot of extra steps that I feel are not needed.
A few questions. When they replace that valve did they install a ball valve?
Where is the water going that your dumping into the pan?

I just attach a garden hose adapter to the valve, run a hose outside and open up the valve for a few min. to clean it out.
This will keep the water under pressure to forse out the minerals out not just count on gravaty.
There's no need to shut off the gas because there's 0 chance your ever going to run the tank dry.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:03 PM   #4
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Usually the water being drained will mostly clear up after you drew about two gallons after which time you can stop draining, refill the water heater and plumbing system, then turn the heater back on.

If you got out a lot of sediment it would be a good idea to schedule the next draining for just one month later, otherwise you can go six months.

Every other time, leave the water turned on without opening any faucets and drain a few gallons that way.

Either way, no one should use hot water for several hours before you do the draining.
You're right, Allan, and I forgot to mention that when this happened a year ago the plumber said to do just that, and I did drain it again after one month. And thanks for the advice that I can stop draining after about two gallons if it's mostly cleared up.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:11 PM   #5
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
If this is just to keep the minerals from building up your going through a whole lot of extra steps that I feel are not needed.
A few questions. When they replace that valve did they install a ball valve?
Where is the water going that your dumping into the pan?

I just attach a garden hose adapter to the valve, run a hose outside and open up the valve for a few min. to clean it out.
This will keep the water under pressure to forse out the minerals out not just count on gravaty.
There's no need to shut off the gas because there's 0 chance your ever going to run the tank dry.
Thanks, Joe. Unfortunately it's not a ball valve (which I would have preferred) but an old-style turn knob. I realize that with the turn valve that crud can get stuck while it's draining, so I turn it off and on a few times while draining to try to prevent that. And the water drains directly into a floor drain in my unfinished basement (downhill slightly from the HWH). As far as keeping the water running to force the stuff out under pressure, the plumber advised against that as he said it would stir the sediment up too much, rather than just draining out, and that it would take days for it to settle out again. Sounds like you disagree?
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


don't need to vent the house faucets just pull up the relief valve and the air will suck down as the water drains...empty it then 2-3 turns on the cold water feed let it swirl the base of the heater...then shut it off let it drain...put a bucket at the end of the hose to see the silt and sand collecting at the end...put a bucket under the relief when it is open and your refilling to flush work might fill up faster then you wan't and will drain from there...might want to extend the reief blow off down so a ucket fits under it during the year blow offs won't hurt burps the crap off the seat

Last edited by biggles; 10-07-2012 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:41 PM   #7
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Am I flushing hot water heater properly?


Get in the habit of turning off the water heater heat before draining. It is easy to forget and the whole tank empties out. Also electric water heaters have a heating element near the top of the tank.

It is harder to see when the water is running clear if you attach a long hose or an uphill hose to the bottom valve of the tank when draining it, also sediment can collect in an uphill hose.

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