Gas water heater - to drain or not to drain - Advice needed

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by djmikmik, Sep 30, 2011.

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  1. Sep 30, 2011 #1

    djmikmik

    djmikmik

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    Hi,

    I have a gas water heater that was part of a new house that was built in 2003. It has never been drained before,

    An employee from Lowes told me that since it is relatively old and was never drained before I should probably NOT try to drain it as it can create damage to the heater.

    Any insight on his advice? appreciate your feedback!

    Mickey
     
  2. Sep 30, 2011 #2

    johnjh2o

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    The heater is at the age when most fail. (seven to ten years) I don't think I would drain it.

    john
     
  3. Sep 30, 2011 #3

    burchis

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    I am curious to know why draining the tank would cause damage.
     
  4. Sep 30, 2011 #4

    johnjh2o

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    Do to the age of the tank and not ever being drained the sediment in the tank may be preventing the tank from leaking.
    Most people are under the impression that you turn the water off then drain the tank. What should be done is connect a hose to the drain on the tank and without turning the water off open the drain and let it run until the water from the hose becomes clear. This uses the water pressure to flush the sediment from the tank. After that has been done then you drain the tank.

    John
     
  5. Oct 4, 2011 #5

    AJay

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    We just had a new water heater installed a couple of months ago. There was so much sediment that they had to drain it from the top to remove it.

    How often should a water heater be flushed? every six months? once a year?
     
  6. Oct 4, 2011 #6

    johnjh2o

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    Depending on water condition once or twice a year. You should be able to tell how bad it is by the amount of sediment that comes out when flushing. Try it every six months, if it's not to bad then go to once a year.

    John
     
  7. Oct 5, 2011 #7

    KULTULZ

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    Maybe also consider a sediment filter?
     
  8. Oct 5, 2011 #8

    sawsaw

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    the best thing to do is only buy water heaters with a self-cleaning, vortex system, which eliminates the need to drain to remove sediment.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2011 #9

    johnjh2o

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    From what I have seen all a self-cleaning heater is they have a dip tube that makes a turn at the bottom of the tank. The theory is to spin the water as it enters the tank. My question is where does the sediment go? I would think flushing it from the tank would be more effective. Just my opinion.

    John
     
  10. Oct 8, 2011 #10

    djmikmik

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    John,

    Thanks for replying to my original question.
    So in this case should I connect a hose without turning the water off and perform the cleaning? or should I leave my gas heater intact?


     
  11. Oct 8, 2011 #11

    johnjh2o

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    In your case I wouldn't flush it. You would be looking for problems. Get what remaining life is in the tank and after replacement do a secluded flushing of the new heater.

    John
     
  12. Oct 8, 2011 #12

    sawsaw

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    "From what I have seen all a self-cleaning heater is they have a dip tube that makes a turn at the bottom of the tank. The theory is to spin the water as it enters the tank. My question is where does the sediment go? I would think flushing it from the tank would be more effective. Just my opinion." John

    Think about it John. Your method is to wait for sediment buildup and then flush.
    (No one is going to flush/drain frequently). Having sediment on the bottom is a negative situation.

    Re: The vortex system - where does the sediment go? ... the vortex keeps the sediment suspended in the water, so it continually flows out of the heater. No problems.
     
  13. Oct 8, 2011 #13

    johnjh2o

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    I can't see it suspending any more sediment then with just a standard dip tube the goes to the bottom of all water heaters. Just my opinion.

    John
     
  14. Oct 10, 2011 #14

    sawsaw

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    John, quite simply, the sediment is always suspended in the water, so it passes through the heater continuously. No sediment at the bottom to rob heat/energy
    and prematurely age the tank.
     
  15. Oct 10, 2011 #15

    Otahyoni

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    I agree with John. I would think the average home owner wouldn't use the volume of water that would cause the sediment to get stirred up and out of the tank before it settled back to the bottom.
     
  16. Oct 10, 2011 #16

    havasu

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    I'm going against the grain but I myself would drain it out and give it a good flush.
     
  17. Oct 10, 2011 #17

    sawsaw

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    It isn't stirring up any sediment. There is no sediment due to the vortex effect.
    I have had my water heater over 12 years. When making checks for no sediment, have never encountered any. If you wash clothes, dishes, shower or bath, that seems enough activity to maintain suspension.
     
  18. Oct 12, 2011 #18

    KULTULZ

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    Depending upon the amount of sediment in the water, I would suspect it remains suspended (mostly - some has to settle on the tank bottom) and goes into your appliances, toilets, showers and you.

    The city water where I just left was supposedly award winning but would kill a water heater with sediment. I would check the water heater tank and toilet bowls ? ... er tank(s) and if heavy sediment, install a filtering device (IMO).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  19. Oct 12, 2011 #19

    centralplumbing

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    Be careful buying a water heater from Lowes and then having one of their subcontractors install it. Make sure the water heater will be inspected after it is installed. If something goes wrong, a fire, a flood and your insurance company discovers it was not inspected or installed to code, they have grounds to deny your claim. I have come across a number of water heaters that were not installed correctly or inspected because the subcontractor was trying to save money on the install.

    Mark
    Central Plumbing | Expert Plumbers - Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Placitas and Bernalillo.
     

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