preparing to flush the water heaterA customer in Manteca recently asked one of our technicians about how often should you flush your water heater, and if you need to flush it at all.

Homeowners may be surprised to learn that their hot water heater can harbor bacteria and sediment. Flushing out your water heater is necessary, but how often depends on a few different factors.

How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater?

The average homeowner should flush their water heater once per year, ideally when their plumber is performing other water heater maintenance. Flushing is a simple process that your plumber won’t charge much for. Flushing will also help them gauge how your water heater is performing overall and can help them identify any problems.

That being said, if any problems develop between your annual hot water heater flushes, your water heater may need another flush. Look out for these signs that your hot water heater needs some extra attention:

  • There is a rotten egg smell from your taps or shower
  • You recently had a prolonged power outage (bacteria may grow if the tank’s water is cooler)
  • You’re experiencing water pressure problems, especially for hot water
  • There is corrosion or other damage to your water heater
  • There is less hot water than before
  • Your energy bills have suddenly increased
  • Your water is discolored, especially brown or red
  • The pipes near your water heater bang or make odd noises

These symptoms could point to other problems with your plumbing that a simple water flush won’t fix. Alert your plumber to the problem and they’ll do some troubleshooting to make sure your water heater is causing the issue before they flush it.

Why Should You Flush Your Water Heater Yearly?

Why flush the water heater yearly? Over time, sediment from the city’s water supply collects in your hot water heater’s tank. This sediment can interfere with the water heater, causing clogs or leaks and reducing its efficiency. If you never get your hot water heater flushed this sediment could cause it to break down early. In that case, it will need to be replaced early, before its ten or fifteen years are up.

Also, you should regularly flush your water to avoid having bacteria growth problems. While the heat in hot water tanks deters most bacteria growth, if your water heater is set too low, or if it is broken, it may allow bacteria to grow.

Once infected, your water heater will spread that bacteria throughout your plumbing system and sometimes cause a gross rotten egg smell. This is also why you should consult with a plumber before reducing the temperature on your water heater.

Choose a Plumber to Flush Your Water Heater

Improperly flushing your water heater can result in big problems with your plumbing system, including high water bills and damage to the water heater. You should always trust a professional plumber to flush your water heater. While they’re working, they can also perform general maintenance on your water heater to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible, which saves you money in the long run.