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Old 05-02-2010, 01:52 AM   #1
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


I flushed about 15 gallons of water from my 50 gallon tank and I was expecting a bunch of sediment and brown water to come out, but the water was perfectly clear. I tried turning the cold water inlet on/off to stir it up but only about a teaspoon of sand looking stuff came out.

This is the first time I've flushed it since I bought this house 2 years ago. I think the tank is 10 years old from the serial number. From what I know about the previous owner I doubt they flushed it in the last 2-3 years they had the house.

I wonder if the sediment is too hardened to come out? Or is this normal?

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Old 05-02-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


Gas or electric. With electric, the sediment just sits on the bottom. With gas, it gets cooked into nice flat rock. Unusual for a heater that old not to show something. Maybe you have nice soft, clear water.

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Old 05-02-2010, 10:08 AM   #3
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


What needs to be done, at least once per year, is drain about 1/3 of the water from the tank while the cold water inlet is left open.
Since you don't know if the tank has been flushed in the past, you need to go through the whole process of Draining and Flushing, if you want full results.
Turn off the power supply (electric or gas) and the cold water inlet valve. Attach a hose to the drain valve. Open hot water faucets near the water heater. Drain the entire tank. Since many newer units have check valves in the inlet and outlet connections, you may need to operate the Temperature/Pressure relief valve (by lifting the handle). Once drained, open the cold water inlet valve, while keeping the drain valve open. See if debris comes out the end of the hose. Water heaters have a Dip-tube that reaches almost to the bottom of the tank which takes the cold water to the bottom of the tank while in normal operation. This also acts as a pressure washer when the tank is empty. By operating the inlet water valve, you should be able to remove almost all the sediment.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


dont waste your time operating the relief valve only sets you up tp replace it, many times after opening the valve it wont reseat itsself causing it to drip afterwards. as far as flushing the tank, its doubtful your going to improve performance or increase its lifespan,many problems can and do arise when you fix something that isnt broken as they say. Also those drain valves are known to leak or not reseat all the way as well. Doubtful youll find many plumbers that flush their own tanks at home. just my 2 cents
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:26 PM   #5
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
Gas or electric. With electric, the sediment just sits on the bottom. With gas, it gets cooked into nice flat rock. Unusual for a heater that old not to show something. Maybe you have nice soft, clear water.
It's gas and I think it is just a solid rock of sediment because I have to set the temperature knob up quite high to get the water hot enough.
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


If no sediment came out just wait until the next drain time interval (6 months later?) and try again. If you keep getting little or no sediment, you can lengthen the time interval before the next draining.

Turn off the power or gas before doing any tank draining and be sure water is flowing from a hot faucet upstairs before turning the power or gas back on.

If you get a period of "rusty" cold water, drain a few gallons from the water heater a day or two later too.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:03 PM   #7
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


If the heater is gas, and there is a solid layer of sediment, you should hear it popping when the flame is on. The flame will actually "boil" the sediment.
I have to guess that Kennzz05 has enough funds to be able to skip Preventive Maintenance at his place. Opening the T/P valve, once, during the draining should not effect it at all. To each his own, but after 35 years as a Plumber, I still drain my tank at least twice a year.
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Flushed water heater but no dirt came out?


I heard somewhere that if a water heater hasn't been drained in the past, then you shouldn't start doing it as you could cause more problems than prevent. Any truth to this (assume gas water heater). I don't know enough about the relevant issues to know whether this even has any basis in truth.

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