Troubleshooting And Flushing Your Water Heater

It’s fun to go shopping for new furniture. A new leather couch for the den or a club chair for the study.

Shopping for a new water heater? Probably not so much. When our friends stop by we don’t show off our new water heater. Ok, so we guys might. But most of the time the water heater is a steady, hard-working appliance, tucked away in a closet. We tend not to think about it until it stops working. And few things grab our attention more than a blast of cold water coming out of the shower head.

When your water heater goes on the blink, here are some troubleshooting ideas.

What if my water is too hot? Your water heater should never be set higher than 120 F. Proper water temperature is important because if water that is too hot will quickly burn skin. Secondarily, if the water temperature is set too high it will increase your energy costs and create stress on the water heater, shortening the life of the unit.

What if my water smells bad? Clean water should be odorless. If your water has a smell, the first thing is to determine if it’s your water heater or the main water source. Check to see if there is a difference between the hot water and cold water. If the cold water also smells bad, then there’s a good chance it’s a problem with your source water. If only the hot water has an odor or is discolored, it’s likely your water heater.

Naturally occurring minerals like iron and copper can cause water discoloration. If it’s an issue for you, a water softener or water filtration system will likely take care of it. Making a point to annually flush your water heater will help minimize problems, too.

Flushing your water heater helps rid the heater of sediment and build up. Initially, the mineral coating that accumulates will inhibit the transfer of heat from the element to the water, making your unit less efficient. Increasing sediment levels will eventually cause corrosion. Mineral deposits can also break loose and flow through the pipes and plug your faucets and pipes.

Flushing your water heater is a do it yourself task. To start, turn off the power supply to the water heater. If it’s an electric unit, disconnect the power. If yours is a gas water heater, turn off the gas supply.

Next, turn off the water supply to the heater. At the bottom of your water heater you’ll find a drain valve. Connect a garden hose to that valve, making sure the other end of the hose empties into a drain. The water coming out will be hot, so be careful.

Next, open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house. This lets in air so the water heater can drain. Then open the drain valve on the unit. You’ll want to run at least 4 to 5 gallons out to flush sediment until the water runs clear. Close the drain valve on the heater, disconnect the hose and turn the water supply back on. Give it time to refill the water heater then reconnect the power supply (gas or electric). If it’s gas, you’ll need to ignite the pilot light again.

This simple routine done annually will add years to your water heater.

The pros at Sinclair are here for all your plumbing needs. We can inspect your water heater to be sure it’s operating at peak efficiency. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to serve you! 806-749-2665

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