Chicago Hot Water Heater Tips: When & How to Flush!

Chicago Hot Water Heater Tips: When & How to Flush!

Since Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is Chicago’s highest rated residential service plumber with more than 500 five star reviews across the web, it’s only natural that homeowners would reach out to us when they’re interested in hot water heater flushing. We’re the most qualified plumbing contractor to answer these types of questions and we’re happy to help!

So, How Often Do Our Pros Flush Their Hot Water Heaters?

That’s a question we can answer without hesitation – at minimum once every year. While some homes on Chicago’s Northwest Side may have harder water than others, or issues that can cause added sediment to build up, flushing your hot water heater tank at least once will help it run smoothly throughout its lifetime.

Remember, sediment is the enemy of your hot water heater so ensuring that it’s cleaned out will give your hot water heater tank a better chance at a long and productive life in your Northwest Side home. If you’re not comfortable doing it you can always call Vanguard at (773) 633-6139 for a great price!

Step-by-Step Instructions to Flush Your How Water Heater

Okay, we’re going to outline a few simple steps that should allow you, or anyone with the time and the tools, to flush your Northwest Side home’s hot water heater. Of course, our licensed and insured Chicago plumbers will be happy to do it for you if you want to skip this but for everyone else we’ll run through each step so you’re confident in your ability to do this task each year.

Step #1: Gather the Items You’ll Need

Just as with any job, flushing your Chicago hot water heater requires a few items you’ll need on-hand to get it done right. First, get a garden hose that’s long enough to reach to the outside of your home – or at least to whatever bucket you have on-hand. To that end, you’ll want a bucket whether your hose reaches outside or not so that you can see if there’s sediment in water.

Wherever your hose ends up – whether it’s outside your home or in a bucket, make sure you can easily get the water to a place where it can be dumped. This is preferably not a sink where the sediment will only cause more problems in your pipes. Make sure you don’t accidentally cause flooding in your home!

Step #2: Turn Your Hot Water Heater Off

This step will depend on whether or not you have a gas or electric hot water heater but you need to be especially careful in either case. With an electric hot water heater, all you need to focus on is the breaker controlling power to your unit. Be 100% sure that this is off before you proceed to step #3. If your hot water heater is gas you’re going to have to turn the thermostat to the “off” position. This may require you to relight the pilot light with older hot water heaters but that’s okay. Being safe before you start flushing your hot water heater is the most important thing.

Step #4: Turn Off Gas to Hot Water Heater

Now you’re going to want to ensure that the gas to your hot water heater is turned off. You do this by finding the gas ling connected to your hot water heater and turning the valve to the “off” position. While you can turn the thermostat to the pilot setting and skip this step it’s safest to go ahead and turn everything off prior to getting underway. So close the valve before moving to step #5.

Step #5: Turn Off Tank’s Cold Water Supply

Next you’re going to need to close the cold water valve on your hot water heater tank. This will prevent any water from reaching the hot water heater tank while you’re flushing the contents. You can usually find the cold water valve near the top of the unit but if not just look around until you find it and turn it completely off.

Step #6: Turn Home’s Hot Water Taps On

Now you’ve got everything set to start flushing your hot water heater tank to rid it of harmful sediment. Before you do that though, you need to turn on the hot water taps in your sinks and tubs. This helps to prevent a vacuum from forming in the system while you’re busy flushing your hot water heater tank. Be sure that no one turns the taps off throughout the hot water heater tank flushing process. You can shut them off afterward.

Step #7 Get Your Garden Hose Ready To Go

It’s time to start flushing the hot water heater tank and for that we’ll need the hose that you prepared earlier. Connect it to your tank’s spigot and then direct its other end outside or to a bucket. This is vital because once you start flushing you’re going to have water pouring out of that hose and you have to be ready for it. If things get out of hand you can turn off the spigot and take stock. But if you prepped correctly then you’ll be fine once you get started.

Step #8: Drain Tank Until Sediment Disappears

Open the spigot on your hot water tank and let the water start to drain. Pay special attention to the water itself. Is it cloudy? Is there a great deal of sediment? If so it may take longer than normal to finish this process but hang in there and you’ll eventually see clear water draining from your hot water heater. Once that happens it’s time to move from draining to flushing.

Step #9: Flush the Hot Water Heater Tank

Once you’ve drained the tank and see no more sediment in the water you need to turn the cold water valve at the top of your tank – the one we turned off earlier – back on again. Let it refill the tank while the water drains through the hose until it’s completely clear and no sediment can be seen whatsoever. Then turn off the cold water valve again so you can finish up.

Step #10: Putting Things Back to Normal

After the flush is complete, you simply need to reverse the steps taken to get here. Turn off the spigot and remove the hose and bucket. Shut off the hot water taps around your house. Turn the cold water valve at top of hot water heater back on. Turn on hot water in sink to get air out of system and feel it. It should be cold water. Shut it off again. Turn on gas again and relight pilot light if necessary. If electric, turn power back on to hot water heater unit. Give it about a half an hour and then test the hot water from a tap. It should be back to normal again!

That’s all it takes to flush your Chicago hot water heater. Seriously, that’s all there is to it. And while the idea of turning on breakers or gas lines may be daunting it’s honestly not something too difficult for most homeowners to accomplish on their own. But for all of you who would rather leave this to the professionals you can have the team from Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer handle your hot water heater flushing at a great price. Call (773) 633-6139 for an estimate today!

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Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is a local, family-owned plumbing company with decades of experience delivering the finest service to Chicago and its northern suburbs.

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Vanguard Plumbing

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer
Phone: (773) 633-6139
Location: 4352 N. Kenneth Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60641

Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM–5:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM–3:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

City & State Licensing:
Chicago Sewer: #2422
Illinois Contractor: #055-043043
Chicago Contractor: #SBC196464