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Should I Flush My Water Heater? A Minneapolis-St. Paul Plumber Answers

Simply put, if you want more hot water, lower energy bills and a water heater that lasts longer than 5 years, the answer is: Yes. 

Water heaters should be flushed because over the years they develop sediment. The sediment sinks to the bottom of your tank, covering the heating element and insulating it from the water.

A water heater 'flush' is when a plumber removes the sediment buildup that has accumulated on the inside of the tank.

Having this sediment removed on a regular basis helps to prevent:

  • An early breakdown
  • Hot water shortage issues
  • Loud noises  
  • High energy bills
  • We’ll go through each of these issues together and take a more in-depth look at how flushing your hot water heater can benefit your tank in the long-run and keep sediment build-up at bay.

Looking for a Twin City plumber to maintain your water heater? We’re happy to help!

Schedule an appointment today

What is sediment buildup?

First, let’s go over exactly what sediment is and how it’s developed. From there, we’ll get into how it can cause further issues down the line. 

Sediment buildup comes from loose minerals (calcium carbonate) in the water, which sinks and settles to the bottom of the tank where it builds up over time. The sediment buildup actually closely resembles a pile of sand.

Mind you, a small amount of sediment buildup isn’t a cause for immediate alarm. However, if you let your water heater go for years on end without being flushed, that sediment can eventually cause your tank to burst.

Flushing a water heater involves draining the tank of all water, that way the plumber can then remove the sediment buildup that has accumulated on both the bottom and the sides of the tank. 

A water heater flush prevents these 4 issues

1. Early breakdown/burst

As sediment builds at the bottom of your tank, it can block the water from accessing the burner. This means your water heater will take longer to heat the water, which causes severe overheating and deterioration. 

Additionally, any time your water heater overheats, it runs a greater risk of bursting. The hotter the water becomes, the more pressure builds up inside the tank, until–BOOM! The tank eventually bursts a massive leak or explodes. Yeah–that’s never good.

2. Hot water shortage

This issue comes down to volume. The more sediment in your tank, the less room there is for hot water.

Think of it this way, If you have a 50-gallon water heater but 10 gallons of sediment is occupying the tank, you now have a 40-gallon water heater. 

You see how this can create some problems? This is such a drastic difference in hot water supply, especially if you have several people in your household.

3. Annoying loud noises

If a water heater has a good amount of sediment buildup inside the tank, it will start making some rather unsettling noises. Pops and bangs will become more frequent as the sediment begins to take up more space in your tank. 

Those noises are caused by overheated water/steam bubbles that are violently pushing their way upwards and through the sediment. So, the ‘pops’ and ‘bangs’ that you hear are those bubbles literally popping as they ascend into the cooler water at the top of the tank.

4. High energy bills

Sediment buildup creates a barrier between the heating element/burner and the water in the tank, which forces your water heater to work extra hard to heat your water. Simply put, the harder your water heater has to work, the more energy it uses. Sediment buildup substantially lowers the overall energy efficiency of the tank, which leads to higher energy bills.

Need a Minneapolis-St. Paul plumber to flush or maintain your water heater? Just ask

If you wish to avoid the numerous complications that come from sediment buildup, it’s best to have your water heater professionally flushed on a regular basis.

If you think you’re due for a water heater flushing, just get in touch with us. We’ll promptly send over one of our best and most trusted plumbers who can get the job done quickly and correctly.

Schedule an appointment today