How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater?

A Common Question We Get Is “How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater?”

  • The short answer is every 6-12 months, but it depends on these factors:
  • The “hardness” of your water
  • How old your system is
  • Your water heater manufacturers’ recommendations
  • If you have a whole house filtration system
  • If you have a water softener

hot water heater drain

Why Water Heaters Need To Be Maintained

Water heaters, although virtually maintenance free, need to be maintained to help them work efficiently and last to their full life expectancy.

Most homeowners are unsure when to drain their water heater so we have some advice for you and even a link for you on how to do this safely yourself.


Understand Your Water Quality

The question “How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater,” can be answered by understanding how much calcium and magnesium you have in your water. This level of these minerals determines how “hard” your water is and the knowledge of this can give you insight as to how often you should drain your water heater.

The Purpose Of Draining Hot Water Heaters

Your home’s tap water contains the minerals calcium and magnesium, ions known as “hardness minerals.” As water flows through your water heater, the minerals settle on the bottom of your hot water tank. Over time, there is a build-up of these minerals that can affect the heat-transfer process between and the actual water inside the unit and the heating element in your water heater. This accumulation of hard minerals can severely decrease the efficiency of your water heater.

When To Flush Minerals From Your Hot Water Heater

In order to resolve the accumulation of excess minerals the hot water heater must be drained periodically so that the sediment build up in the tank can be flushed out.

How Often Should Your Water Heater Be Drained?

Many water heater manufacturers recommend that you drain and flush the water heater every 6 months. How often you should do this depends largely on how hard your water is. The harder your water is, the more calcium and magnesium it will contain and the quicker sediment will build up in your tank.

In areas without a high concentration of minerals, or for systems that have a water softener installed we recommended that the water heater’s tank should be flushed at least once per year.


DIY Hot Water Heater Flush Or Have Spectrum Do It

If you do not want to do this yourself due to the age and condition of the unit, or safety concerns(there are many risks associated with doing it yourself), Spectrum can handle this maintenance task for you.


Hard Water Necessitates A Water Softener To Prevent Problems

If you have tested your water and have a high concentration of minerals we recommend that you install a water softener or whole house water filtration system to prevent sediment buildup. A water softener or filter system will remove the minerals from your water, greatly improving the efficiency of your hot water heater and the quality of your water, eliminating many of the problems associated with hard water in your home.


Questions or Need Help? Call Us!

If you have any questions about this article, how often I should drain my water heater, or if you’d like a water heater serviced or installed in your home, contact Spectrum Heating and Cooling at 781-343-1515.

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