How Do I Flush My Water Heater?

Mac Plumbing recommends flushing out your water heater once a year to keep it running like new.

A sign of excessive sediment buildup is a popping sound of steam bubbles percolating up through the muck. On a gas water heater, the sediment creates hotspots that can damage the tank and cause premature failure.

Here’s what it would take to flush your water heater yourself.

Tools required:

Materials Required

  • 1-¼ in. x 1-½ in female PVC trap adapter
  • 2” brass nipple
  • 24 in. piece of ½ in. I.D. vinyl tubing
  • ¾ in. MIP x ½ in. barb fitting
  • ¾ in x 3 in. nipple
  • Brass ball valve
  • Brass elbow
  • Dielectric nipple
  • Garden hose adapter
  • Shop vacuum hose adapter

If you’ve never done this before, you’re in for a nasty surprise.

Here’s a partial step by step of the procedure:

  • Build a shop vac adapter
    • This allows you to attach your vacuum to a ¾ inch pipe
  • Drain the water heater
    • Shut off the gas or electricity to the water heater
    • Open the hot water faucet and let it run full blast for about 10 minutes
    • Shut off the cold water valve at the top of the tank and attach a garden hose to the existing drain valve and route it to a floor drain.
    • Remove the temperature-pressure release valve and screw in the vacuum adapter.
    • Attach the shop vac hose and turn the vacuum on.
  • Remove the old valve
    • If it breaks, use the hacksaw.
  • Assemble the new valve
    • Build a new drain valve with the ¾ inch fullport brass ball valve with the threaded ends, a 3” x ¾” galvanized nipple and a ¾” MIP x G.H. garden hose adapter.
  • Flush the tank
    • Remove the vacuum hose from the TPR port and flush the tank.
    • Let the water flow until it runs clear.
    • Reinstall the TPR valve and blow-off tube.
  • Refill the water heater and turn the gas or electricity back on.

If all this sounds too difficult, it’s time to call Mac Plumbing. Let us do the dirty work and get it done right. It’s just one of the many services we do.

Contact Mac Plumbing for all of your plumbing needs (931) 552-5555.