What's the deal with flushing tanks?

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PlumberSteve

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I recently left the company where I spent my first 15 years of my career. The consensus there was "flushing a water heater doesn't really do any good so let's not mess around with it". Now I'm in a new company and we offer a whole-house plumbing inspection that includes a water heater flush. I fought back on that because I think the potential for damage is greater than any potential for increasing efficiency or life expectancy.

What do other plumbers think about this?

We are in St. Louis. The water here is somewhat hard, though it isn't hard enough to require softeners in every house. But it does build up a nice layer of minerals on a water heater over 10-15 years.

Here's my view...When you flush a water heater under pressure, you aren't really flushing the entire thing. You're clearing a 3/4" channel in front of the drain at best. But, minerals precipitate out constantly. Everything in the heater is getting a build up of minerals all the time. I just don't know what good flushing a heater is actually doing. Can you please advise?

BTW...I beg my guys not to touch plastic drains. If it's a brass drain, I ask them to use their discretion.
 

Jadnashua

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SOme places, in addition to mineral deposits, could have some sand or mud accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Flushing it out can restore the volume and improve the heat transfer if it's a gas-fired tank.
 

Reach4

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I would estimate 20 to 30, but some get less.
 
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