Troubleshoot Flushing a Water Heater

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If your water heater is continually flushing, you're going to want to troubleshoot the unit in a few distinct ways. Find out how to troubleshoot flushing a water heater with help from an area manager for Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service's Independent Contractors Division in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Hot Water Heaters
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Video Transcript

You may have noticed that your water heater makes noises sometimes that sound like gravel popping around or popcorn popping inside of a pan. I'm Dave Jones a master plumber for Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service. If you're hearing a lot of popping noises from inside your water heater, you have calcium and sediment buildup inside of the tank, this is usually caused by hard water which is loaded with minerals. Over time these minerals separate from the water and settle at the bottom of the tank, installing a water softener will cut down on sediment, but you'll still need to remove the accumulated buildup in the tank to keep the water heater operating efficiently. First shut off the electricity to the unit at the circuit breaker box, if it's a gas water heater make sure you shut of the gas valve leading to the water heater. Second, shut off the cold water supply line leading to the water heater, this will be located on the top of the water heater on the right hand side. Third open up a hot water faucet at the highest point in the house, preferably above the level of the water heater, but if you live in a one story ranch home any faucet will do. Next hook up a water hose to the water heater's drain at the bottom, this is called a boiler drain and it looks a lot like your outdoor hose bib on the side of your house. Once you've hooked up the hose, extend it to the outside or to a nearby drain and open the valve, let the water heater drain out completely, if you open the valve and nothing comes out sometimes the sediment is piled higher in the unit that the valve becomes clogged. If the water does not come out perform the following, first hookup a washing machine hose to a nearby faucet, next take the other end of the washing machine hose and screw it onto the end of the hose that you've attached to the water heater, once this is completed open up the boiler drain on the water heater and turn on the faucet. The water pressure flowing back into the water heater should blow out the clog and allow it to start draining. Remember you should just need an initial blast of pressure to clear the valve so the tank can drain, while the drain hose is still attached to the boiler drain turn on the cold water valve at the top of the water heater, open it full force for about 2 to 3 minutes to help rinse out the remaining sediment inside the tank. Once the water is running clear from your drain hose, close the valve at the bottom and then open up the water fill valve at the top of the unit, purge out the air by leaving a faucet open inside the house. Finally turn the circuit breaker back on re-light the pilot so the water heater can get back to making hot water for baths, showers and laundry. It is crucial that you follow each of these steps carefully and safely. I'm Dave Jones, master plumber with Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service. Thanks for watching.


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