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Draining Water heaters?


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What's the word on draining water heaters? If an older (say 5+ year old) water heater has never been drained will it damage or hurt it in anyway? What is a standard schedule for draining a water heater? and finally do any of you regularly recommend draining (as maintenance) water heaters?

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I don't see how you would damage it, just by flushing it. If it is an electric water heater be sure the power is off before "draining" it. I tell my customers to flush them once a year. Which reminds me it has been 3-4 years since I last flushed mine. Hum - It looks like a nice day to wash the cat.

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I replaced my own water heater a couple years back that was original to the house that I bought 7 years ago. When I drained it, the water was clean throughout. We depend on a water well for our water. I guess water quality is worse in some places.

I don't recommend periodic flushing to anyone.


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Rheem says a few quarts every month.

I don't tell folks to completely drain them. I just tell them to run off about 5 gallons (approx 20 liters) into a bucket once a year. It's always worked well for me.



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Here in Wisconsin we have high iron concentrates in many wells. It is not uncommon to hear a tank "gurggling" while the burners are active. Of course this is only true when the tanks are in use for some period of time as opposed to new. The gurggling is caused by sediment build-up in the tanks and interferes with the heating ability of the unit. These tanks must be drained on a regular basis for them to function efficiently.

My own gas water heater failed in 9 years, yes I am on a well.

It would seem that draining recommendations need to be made on a case by case basis as opposed to a standard.

I have not found this condition to any mentionable degree in homes with a treated water supply.


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