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How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater?


Draining a water heater is imperative if you want your water heater to deliver the best performance. The reason why we must drain water heaters on a regular basis is simple: sediment and minerals like lime and calcium collect at the bottom of the water heater over time.

A bird with a water heater

Multnomah Falls and the foot bridge across in the Columbia River Gorge

What Happens If I Don’t Drain My Water Heater?

 

Sediment that builds up at the bottom of your water heater will insulate the water from the powerful flames that are working to heat your water. As more sediment collects in your water heater every month your water heater requires more energy and more time to deliver adequately hot water. If you fail to drain your water heater for several years it could malfunction and cease to work altogether.

 

How Does a Technician Drain My Water Heater?

 

When you hire a professional plumber or contractor to drain your water heater they will attach a hose to your tank and turn off the water and the power going to your water heater. They will then empty your water heater tank into a drain or directly into your yard. Once clean water has been flushed through the water tank and all sediment is removed they will fill the tank back up and remove the hose. Most technicians will also examine the rods, ventilation, and other components of your water heater to ensure proper maintenance.

 

Can I Drain My Own Water Heater?

 

Yes, you can! First, thoroughly read the owner’s manual, as all water heaters are unique. Turn off the water and the power going to your water heater the night before you plan to drain it. This will allow the water to adequately cool down so you don’t burn yourself when draining the water heater. Follow all instructions carefully to complete your drain. If you are not comfortable draining your water heater you can hire a professional. The price for this service typically falls between $80 and $100 but can vary based on where you live.

 

How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater?

 

The standard recommendation is to drain your water heater at least once per year. Read the owner’s manual of your specific water heater and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you hire a professional to drain your water heater also consult with them about best practices.

 

It is important to realize that this is a broad recommendation and does not apply to every situation. Typically, you should drain your water heater more often depending on how hard the water is in your area. Hard water will cause sediment and minerals to accumulate faster in your water heater, and if you don’t adjust your draining frequency you could experience worsened performance or even a malfunction.

 

How Does Hard Water Affect My Water Heater?

 

Hard water is the most influential factor on your water heater’s overall performance. Steve Hyde, owner of Washington Water Heaters in Bellevue, Washington, stated to Angie’s List that Seattle homes rarely need their water heaters drained due to Seattle’s superb water quality. The lack of hard water means it takes many years for sediment to accumulate. By contrast, homes 50 miles outside of the city require water heater draining once per year.

 

Investing in a high-quality water softener system can prevent scale buildup in your water heater and prolong the lifespan of your equipment. Talk to a Pelican Water specialist today to learn more about our line of salt-free water softeners.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter