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How to flush water heater


Flue pipe leaking
Electric water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
Flue pipe leaking
Gas water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater

Identify electric and gas water heaters


Emergency leak resources:
Emergency steps for leaking water heater
Leaking water heater

Do not stand in water
Do not touch any wet appliance

Turn power OFF
Applies to electric and gas water heaters

Buy:
Water detectors at Amazon
Floodstop water heater shut-off at Amazon

Resources:
How to clean sediment out of water heater
Repair water heater valve


Flush each 6 months to prevent build-up


Steps for flushing GAS water heater

- Turn off water at shut off
- Turn gas control to pilot
         -pilot stays lit but no burner flame
Two ways to proceed: Best if you do #1 followed by #2

1) -Turn off water at shut off
- Open bathtub spigot to let air enter water heater
- Open water heater drain
- Drain water from tank
What if water heater is clogged?
- After tank is drained, turn on water at shut off
- Continue flushing tank until water runs clean

2) Fill tank- turn water ON - Open water heater drain at bottom of tank
Check that water runs clean.
If you do this first, it can stir up sediment instead of flushing tank

- Close tank drain
- Refill tank
- When water comes out bathtub spigot, tank is full
- Turn off bathtub spigot
- Reset pilot control
- Flushing does not work if sediment builds up

Steps for flushing ELECTRIC water heater

- Turn off water at shut off
- Turn off circuit breaker
- Elements that still have power will burn out when water leaves tank
Two ways to proceed: Best if you do #1 followed by #2

1) -Turn off water at shut off
- Open bathtub spigot to let air enter water heater
- Open water heater drain
- Drain water from tank
What if water heater is clogged?
- After tank is drained, turn on water at shut off
- Continue flushing tank until water runs clean

2) Fill tank- turn water ON - Open water heater drain at bottom of tank
Check that water runs clean.
If you do this first, it can stir up sediment instead of flushing tank

- Close tank drain
- Refill tank
- When water comes out tub spigot, tank is full
- Shut tub spigot
- Turn on circuit breaker
-Do NOT turn on circuit breaker before tank is full, or elements will burn out

Step by step clean out for electric water heater starts here

220 Volt circuit breaker

Step 1: Turn power OFF

Never assume power is OFF

Use non-contact voltage tester on timer, on wire, on outlet to see if power is present.
Press button on tester, if single beep then no power is present. If continuous beep then power is present.
Never stand on bare ground, always stand on dry boards, do not hold or touch anything metal when working on timer or water heater that has power, tape tester leads to wood sticks, never touch wet water heater, or flooded water heater, or timer that had a short or fire without turning power OFF.


Buy:
Multimeters at Amazon
Simple multimeter/ Test continuity or voltage
Buy non-contact voltage tester at Amazon
Electric testers at Amazon

Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Shop Amazon - Industrial Electric Products


Resource:
How to test if water heater electricity is off






Test water heater
See larger
clean out water heater tank

Step 2: See if tank will drain

Do NOT turn off water <> full pressure is needed

Connect garden hose to water heater.
Rotate tank drain counter-clockwise to open.
See if water comes out end of hose.

Wait...
Do Not drain tank yet

Weight of water inside tank will hold tank in place when looseneing element.
clogged water heater

Clogged drain?

Connect washing machine hose to water heater drain-valve <> Connect garden hose between outdoor spigot and washing machine hose <> turn on outdoor spigot for a few seconds so water pressure flushes tank open

Resources
What to do if water heater will not drain
How to replace drain valve
water heater shut off valve

Step 3: Turn off cold water

Turn off water going into water heater.
Do this by shutting off water valve just above water heater -or- close main shut-off valve to house

This will stop all hot water going to each faucet

bathtub faucet

Step 4: Open tub valve ON HOT SIDE only

This will release hot water pressure

This will let air into line so water heater will drain

Leave tub valve open so at end of job you know when tank is full of water before electricity is turned back on.

Step 5: Remove cover and insulation

Cover and insulation must be put back when finished.
Otherwise thermostat will not read correct temperature.

See Larger

Step 6: Check for Burned wire melted parts 

Use nose to check for burned smell.
Use eyes to look for burned and melted parts
Damaged wire can be caused by sediment filling bottom of the tank and then overheating element.

Resource:
How to test water heater wires

Cut back damaged wire

Any damaged wire must be repaired
Use wire nut to extend wire if necessary
Usual wire size for inside of tanks is #12 solid copper wire/ never replace with stranded wire
Test wires
How to test water heater wires
water heater element wrench    

Step 7: Choose Element wrench or socket

Lightweight 1-1/2" element wrench available hardware store, home center, plumbing supply
Best is 1-1/2" socket from automovive supply
I use the socket because it grabs the element easier

Buy:
Water heater element socket 1-1/2" at Amazon
Heating element wrenches at Amazon
Camco heavy duty element socket
Marathon elements are 1-7/8"
electric impact wrench for elements

Optional purchase: Electric impact wrench for elements

Use for removal of element only.
Do not tighten element with impact wrenchBuy:
Impact wrenches at Amazon
Special 1-1/2" socket for elements
1-1/16" impact sockets
remove water heater element

Step 8: SLIGHTLY Loosen element while tank is full of water

Loosen element SLIGHTLY while tank is FULL
Why? So weight of water will hold tank while you push on and twist wrench

Turn element wrench counter-clockwise
Must push on wrench to keep it in position on element, or wrench will slip off

Do not remove element completely until tank is empty -or- water will flood out hole

Also good time to check anode rod
How to replace anode rod

How to remove stuck element/ open the link

Torch, WD40, drill bolt holes and remove with wrench, use impact wrench
Make sure water heater is full of water / for weight / when loosening element

Resource:

Remove rusted/stuck element

Step 9: Drain tank

Open drain valve located at bottom of tank
remove old element

Step 10: Remove element and old O ring --- after tank is drained

Take out old element
Element will have rubber ring that seals the tank. Remove O ring and element.

Before going further,
Check inside tank for loose pipe coming from top <> broken dip tube causes reduced hot water and wasted electricity

Resources:
Dip tubes
Anode rod

wet-dry vacuum

Step 11: Assemble shop vac and hoses

I use the hoses that are shown.
The element opening is 1" in diameter    
Garden hose bends into tank
     3/4" PVC is nice fit with garden hose
     1" clear tube fits 3/4" PVC
     30" piece of 1/2" CPVC reaches back of tank
Wet dry vacs at Amazon

clean out water heater tank

Step 12: Vacuum out tank

Tape hoses together with duct tape.
Clear package tape also works. Masking tape does not work.
Turn vacuum ON. Insert hose or pipe. Move hose or pipe around. Remove and clean end of hose or pipe as needed.

Clear tube is handy
Length of 1" clear tube lets you see if sediment is flowing past. Sediment is a slurry of water and calcium carbonate that clogs the pipe easily <> so it's handy when you can see when the stuff is flowing past.

Short piece of garden hose bends into tank.
Use 1/2" cpvc to break up debris

Protect carpet from rusty water

Buy:
Duct tape from Amazon
Shop vacs at Amazon

It doesn't have to be perfect

It will not be perfect... that's ok

Buy
Tank rinser at Amazon

Resource
How to clean tank and household pipes with bleach
How to maintain water heater
o ring on water heater element

Step 14: Check new element & O ring

Put new O ring in place
Use new O ring> Do not re-use old O ring

Test new element if you want:
How to test element for continuity
install water heater element

Step 15: Clean opening and install element

Wipe off around opening.
Do NOT use teflon tape or any sealant > not necessary unless tank is damaged
install new element

Step 16: Tighten element

Don't overtighten, a firm snug is enough
water heater element

Step 17: Attach wires to either screw

Tighten screws very tight against copper wire
Only solid copper wire, No insulation under the screw head

Step 18: Close drain & put covers on

Close drain <> put cover and insulation on <> turn on water

Do NOT turn power ON until tank is full of water

Insulation must be reinstalled over thermostat
Do not turn on circuit breaker until tank is full of water

Drain valve drips???  Use garden hose cap if drain valve drips
Buy brass garden hose cap at amazon
Resources:
How to replace drain valve
Water heater drain cap

If drain will not stop dripping: add brass hose cap

Pick up plastic hose cap at local big-box-store, and replace later with brass hose cap

Buy:
Brass hose caps at Amazon
Water heater element
Wait to turn on breaker

Wait ...

Do NOT turn power On .....  until tank is full:

Wait for tank to fill

Water heater elements must be emersed in water or they will burn out instantly
Burn out is called dry fire, and is not covered by element warranty.
Replace burned out element with new element.

Step 19: Wait for tank to fill

Open bathtub spout ON HOT SIDE only
After water heater fills with water, water will start to come out bathtub valve
40 gallon tank might fill in 15-20 minutes or less

Tub is running on HOT side. Tank is full.

Bathtub hot water side is running with no air gaps <> turn off tub <> momentarily open TP valve on water heater to bleed last of water <> turn on circuit breaker

Step 20: Turn power On

Turn on breaker <> put ear against water heater <> bubbly fizzing sound says it's working <> wait 10 minutes to see if water is getting hot.

Put EAR against side of tank and listen for bubbly fizzing sound

4500 watt tank heats 21 gallons per hour

40 gallon tank will take 2 hours to fill completely

Job is finished

Step 21: What if tank is not working?

Read 'repaired water heater is not working'


Brass hose cap

Water heater drain cap

If drain valve is dripping

Buy brass garden hose cap with washer
Most local home centers sell plastic cap
Install plastic cap and then order brass hose cap for permanent solution.
Buy:
Brass hose caps at Amazon

Hose cap requires rubber washer.
Rubber washer will seal tank.

Resources:
Emergency steps for leaking water heater
Troubleshoot leaking water heater
Water heater will not drain
water heater ball valve
Water heater drain valve

Replace Water heater drain valve with ball valve

Easier flush and clean out
Full open position lets you insert 1/4" copper pipe flushing tool
Resource
How to replace drain valve



Also install curved dip tube to help prevent sediment from settling on bottom of tank
How to clean sediment out of water heater

Buy parts:
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
3/4" ball valve at Amazon
Brass ball valve
3/4" pipe to 3/4" garden hose
Buy Ball valve/ gas
Gas ball valve

Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Flush tool
tank rinser

Buy plastic tank rinser

Tank rinser at Amazon
Water heater flush tool

Make a flush tool

36" aluminum tube or plastic tube connects to garden hose.
Remove drain valve to insert tool -or- install full-flow ball valve shown above
Tube inserts through ball valve opening.
Make tool using 3/8" flexible copper pipe
Buy:
3/4" Hose barb adapter at Amazon
Hose adapter to 1/4" compression
No-rust hose shut off at Amazon
3/8" clear hose at hardware
Hose clamp at hardware
Water heater odor
Applies to gas and electric water heaters
Larger image

Resources:
How to remove short water heater nipple
Read about odor and anode rods

Control odor by adding Hydrogen Peroxide regularly

Reasource:
Read more about anode odor problem at pro water heater forum
Install ball valve on Hot side so you can pour in peroxide
Hot side will allow peroxide to enter top of tank. (cold side will put peroxide at bottom)
Applies to gas and electric heaters.

Turn off power to water heater:
Let tank cool so hot does not explode out ball valve
Shut off cold water to tank.

Open bathtub hot side to release pressure.
Leave bathtub valve open until finished. This will tell you when tank has refilled and ready to apply power.

Drain 2 gallons from tank

Add 2 pints harmless Hydrogen peroxide to water heater. Let stand for 2 hours.
H2O2 is easy to flush out, and generally harmless to people. Can be used as mouthwash, read label on hydrogen peroxide bottle.
Do not use clorox.
CLOROX is NOT used for this purpose since it cannot be easily flushed out, and bleach odor can last weeks or longer coming out each tap for extended period of time.
Then drain tank to flush hydrogen peroxide. Refill completely until water is coming out of bathtub drain, then turn on water heater. Applies to gas and electric heaters.

Buy parts to make this drain valve
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
3/4" ball valve at Amazon
Brass ball valve

Plastic funnels at Amazon
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Buy hydrogen peroxide at Grocery store or Drug store
Drip pan
Drip pan saves damage

Prevent water damage to home:

Set water heater in drip pan

Buy:
Water heater drip pans at Amazon
Buy:
Water detectors at Amazon
Auto-shut-off valve at Amazon


Resource:
See drip pan installation
Drain pan no greater than 1-1/2” deep and at least 2” wider than tank.
Pan must not restrict air flow to bottom of gas water heater that has 3-legs. Set 3-legged water heater on bricks..
TP discharge pipe cannot be lower than top rim of drain pan.
Water softener shortens life of tank Read anode options
Gas and electric water heaters

Resources:
How to install gas water heater
How to install electric water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
Point of use water heaters
Gas and electric water heaters Industrial electric at Amazon

Industrial supplies at Amazon

Industrial and scientific Amazon
Tools
Shop Amazon - DEWALT
Shop Amazon - Black and Decker
Shop Amazon - Stanley Tools
Shop Amazon - SKIL Tools
Shop Amazon - Porter-Cable Tools
Shop Amazon - Bosch Tools
Shop Amazon saws and saw blades
box timers Compare box timers

Control water heater w/ Z-wave
Intermatic control centers Control centers:
+ manuals and parts


All control centers and parts

Including Z-wave
programmable timer Compare programmable timers

Control water heater with programmable wall timer
Countdown timers Compare countdown timers

Control water heater with countdown timer
Low voltage power packs Low voltage transformers

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