If you have an older hot water heater, chances are it has a lot of sediment built up in the bottom of it. If that's the case, your water may not be getting as hot as it used to be, as the sediment is sitting on the heating element in the bottom of the water heater. If left to sit, this sediment buildup can eventually cause your water heater to break down. See below for tips on how to clean the sediment from your hot water heater.
What You'll Need For The Job:
- Garden hose
- Pipe wrench
- Shop vacuum
- To start, turn off the gas to your hot water heater. Turn the shutoff valve to the "off" position.
- Next, turn off the hot water going to the tank. Run the hot water in a nearby sink for a few minutes to help reduce the temperature inside the water heater. The water inside is going to be very hot, so every little bit helps.
- Shut off the cold water to the tank at this point.
- Attach a garden hose from the drain valve outside of your home or to a floor drain. Then open up the valve to drain out the water. Again, be careful as this water will be extremely hot.
- The valve may clog from the sediment buildup, especially if you've never cleared out the sediment before. If this happens, remove the old drain valve and install a new ball valve instead. Saw off the old valve and use a hammer and screwdriver to remove all of the pieces. Be careful of any water that may come out while doing this task.
- Install the new ball valve, then open it up to remove the rest of the water. To help remove the sediment, turn on the cold water to the water heater to try and push the sediment to the valve.
- If there is more sediment inside, try to use a plastic tube and your shop vacuum to suck out the rest of the sediment from the tank.
- When finished, shut off the drain valve, then turn on the cold and hot water valves. Finally, turn the gas back on to your water heater.
- Test your water when finished to be sure your water heater is running properly and efficiently again.
A water heater doesn't last forever, but it can last much longer if you clean out the sediment buildup at least once or twice per year. Call a professional plumber, like one from Travers Plumbing & Heating Inc, to help you with this task if you aren't sure how to do so, or if you are experiencing any issues with your hot water heater.