If a homeowner hasn’t flushed out the water heater in more than two years, does that mean that it isn’t worth doing at all? That might be a little bit of a harsh statement, but it does ring true in some cases. It could be a good idea to give it a try anyway. Here’s why.
When something isn’t properly maintained, it eventually gets past the point where maintenance is possible. If you have a lot of hardness in your water, it can build up significantly in the water heater. That buildup could potentially clog the hole in the drain at the bottom of the system. Over time, that buildup from hard water can become substantial enough to where the water heater can no longer be drained.
It’s important to perform proper maintenance on your water heater before it gets past the point of no return. The best thing you could do is follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the product. In this case, the manual recommends that maintenance is performed every year. That’ll prevent the drainage hole from getting plugged up.
If the hole does get plugged up from lack of maintenance and you tried to drain it (or remove the drain completely), it can be challenging to restore the seal at the bottom of the heater. For this reason, it may not be possible to drain the water heater safely without causing damage. If you have any doubts, contact a professional.
If periodic maintenance hasn’t been performed, there can be up to 1/8” of scale buildup on the heating elements. The water heater has to work much harder to heat through that insulative layer of scale. As a result, energy usage will increase by up to 30 percent. Flushing the water heater once buildup has accumulated on the electrical elements might not be effective, either. It may or may not be helpful.
If you have a well that provides your home with water, it might be prone to bacteria growth. Nuisance bacteria just creates a foul smell. Harmful bacteria, however, can have a negative impact on your health. If you don’t flush your water heater yearly, buildup on the bottom of the water heater will become a breeding ground for that bacteria. It’ll be very difficult to eradicate it once that happens.
If your water heater hasn’t been maintained, it might not be in bad shape yet. You still may be able to flush it depending on the condition that it’s in. If it goes well then you should continue to flush it yearly. If not, get a professional involved to look over the whole heater and make sure that nothing is damaged. If you don’t want to replace the heater, your other option is to let it run its course.
To make sure your water heater works reliably throughout its expected lifespan, contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382. We’ll get you on the right track for proper maintenance and care.