You can increase the efficiency and extend the life of your water heater by flushing it out.
Any sediment in the cold water entering the water heater will fall to the bottom of the water heater because it is heavier than the water. In many cases the water heater actually becomes the filter for the hot water lines in your house - which it obviously is not designed to do.
How does this happen, you ask? Even though the water enters the top of the water heater, there is a tube (known as the water heater dip tube) that forces the water to the bottom of the tank. If the water heater did not have this dip tube, then cold water entering the top of the tank would travel straight - directly across the tank to the hot water outlet and you would have cold water in your hot water lines. However, the dip tube also forces any sediment in the cold water to the bottom of the tank.
Sediment build up in the bottom of your water heater tank can reduce the energy efficiency of heating the water because you are heating the sediment along with the water.
In gas water heaters the sediment at the bottom of the tank can actually form a layer of insulation between the burner and the water. The sediment slows down the heat transfer from the burner to the water causing the tank to be overheated, weakening the steel and the glass lining.
In electric water heaters the lower element can get buried in sediment which can cause it to work far too hard and consequently burn out.
So, to keep your water heater in good working order it is generally recommended you flush the tank and perform all-around maintenance about once a year.
However, it's important to keep in mind if you have an older gas water heater (10 years +) and you have never flushed it before, it may NOT be the best idea to flush it. Over time the sediment build-up could have caused the steel tank and glass lining to be compromised and some of the sediment could actually be sealing small holes in the steel and flushing out the tank could eliminate sediment that is sealing a leak and cause much bigger problems.
If you're not sure whether or not you should flush your water heater, just give us a call and we can help. (480) 518-9912
Water heaters can be one of the best assets in your home or one of the biggest headaches. Either way... we can help!
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