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Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

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  • Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

    I received a postcard in the mail from one of the national plumbing chains with a reminder/offer to flush my water heater (WH). My WH was installed in 2004, it's a 30 gal Rheem gas unit with an "Everkleen" self-cleaning feature advertised on the tank label. According to the mfg, this self-cleaning device "fights harmful sediment build-up with a high- velocity spiraling water stream – helps operating efficiency by saving energy, money and improving tank life".

    I think most modern units have this self-cleaning feature, so I'm wondering if a periodic flush is still necessary? If a flush is recommended, how is it done? I can see how to drain the tank, but not sure how to do a pressure flush to drive out any sediment?
    Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 12-08-2012, 11:22 PM.

  • #2
    I would flush it just to see if their claim is accurate.

    I flushed much sediment out of an elderly woman's 50 gallon gas water heater which claims to be self-cleaning.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

      Originally posted by AverageHomeowner View Post
      I received a postcard in the mail from one of the national plumbing chains with a reminder/offer to flush my water heater (WH). My WH was installed in 2004, it's a 30 gal Rheem gas unit with an "Everkleen" self-cleaning feature advertised on the tank label. According to the mfg, this self-cleaning device "fights harmful sediment build-up with a high- velocity spiraling water stream – helps operating efficiency by saving energy, money and improving tank life".

      I think most modern units have this self-cleaning feature, so I'm wondering if a periodic flush is still necessary? If a flush is recommended, how is it done? I can see how to drain the tank, but not sure how to do a pressure flush to drive out any sediment?
      Hi neighbor! I also live in Marin county ! I recently wrote a thread about Ben You know who Plumbing ,and the postcard I received. Our water is great ! So not really. I do mine once a year ,though. Hook a garden hose to the W.H. Drain ,DON'T TOUCH A VALVE ! Open drain cock and drain in yard approx. 5 minutes. I write on all the water heaters I install the following ,with a magic marker. Install date, Instructions, to drain the closest Holiday to install. If I installed one in Dec. it would be Christmas. Be Well Neighbor
      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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      • #4
        Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

        it's a waste of time on a 2004 heater to pay anyone for a "snake oil treatment".

        you can easily do it yourself with a garden hose and a 5 gallon bucket.

        screw the hose onto the heater drain. do not shut off the heater cold inlet pipe. turn on the hose and direct it into the bucket to capture the heavy debris in the bottom of the bucket. after a couple minutes the loose mineral deposits that are not baked onto the tank will wash out into the bucket.

        this is a moot point as this should have been done 2 times a year since installation. don't worry, 95% of heaters never get flushed.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

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        • #5
          Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

          Flushing an 8 year old water heater for the first time is a recipe for disaster. By doing so, you most likely will shorten the life of the tank. Unless you're getting crud out of your hot taps, leave it be.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

            The couple of tanks I've cut open, the placement of the drain has been @ 3/4" above the bottom of the tank. Not real practical for " draining " the tank as far as getting the sediment/scale completely out IMHO. A full port ball valve on the drain and a hose flushed under pressure on a regular basis seems the best preventative way to keep down the buildup.????

            wookie
            Last edited by wookie; 12-12-2012, 09:56 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

              Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
              Hi neighbor! I also live in Marin county ! I recently wrote a thread about Ben You know who Plumbing ,and the postcard I received. Our water is great ! So not really. I do mine once a year ,though. Hook a garden hose to the W.H. Drain ,DON'T TOUCH A VALVE ! Open drain cock and drain in yard approx. 5 minutes. I write on all the water heaters I install the following ,with a magic marker. Install date, Instructions, to drain the closest Holiday to install. If I installed one in Dec. it would be Christmas. Be Well Neighbor
              Thanks, and I just read your thread which I missed during my initial search. I see a lot of those big blue trucks in the county. Those postcards must be working for them!
              Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 12-09-2012, 03:12 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                Originally posted by Plumbus View Post
                Flushing an 8 year old water heater for the first time is a recipe for disaster. By doing so, you most likely will shorten the life of the tank. Unless you're getting crud out of your hot taps, leave it be.
                Why would it be a disaster?

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                • #9
                  Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                  if the WH has crud in it there is a possibility that once the drain valve is open, it may not be able to be fully closed due to crap getting stuck in it. worse yet, you may have a plastic drain valve which may break off in your hand. a dramatic occurrence, especially if the main water valve is still turned on (i've had this happen).
                  ~~

                  ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                    Originally posted by AverageHomeowner View Post
                    Why would it be a disaster?
                    Other than what Plumber Punky said above, there's also a chance the crud on the bottom of the tank is what's keeping it from springing a leak, which I would call a disaster.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                      I would also be careful about "stirring up" the sediment. If all of the floaties do not settle back at the bottom of the tank prior to opening anything on the hot side, the sediment will end up in all of your faucet and shower valves creating more headaches.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                        Flushing is overrated, don't bother.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                          While I agree with most on here that say it is a joke to drain and flush the water heater, we are heading towards a Disaster. If you look at the Manufacturers instructions, They are very clear on what needs to be done every year. Every manufacturer says about the same thing now. Drain 2-3 gallons of water every month off the bottom of the heater, Annually inspect the anode rod, Annually clean the Burner, Annually open the T&P, Vacuum around the unit. How Long before We get sued for not following the Manufacturers instructions or are denied warranty replacements. I know it is an out for them, and they are letting it pass right now, but I suspect, it won't be long before this is all thrown in our faces. I have had many discussions about this. To do everything the manufacturer wants, I would charge about $400.00, and I have a few customers that Request it. I personally, have not seen it make a difference, other than the fact that when the unit fails, I can drain it easier. The problem, I have with all of the crap they want us to do, is that the parts don't last long enough. I end up having to replace the T&P, Possibly the Plastic Drain (on some brands that SUCK), The Anode rod threads look like crap, so I end up replacing it as well, and then sometimes the Thermocoupler goes bad during the process. I too know of the company you speak of, and I assure you, they are charging $$$, but not doing all of the manufacturers recommended maintenance, but are telling the customer that they are. We tell people that flushing the heater every two years is a good idea, but the costs for maintaining them like recommended, is not worth it, you could just replace the heater every 3 years for less money. In my area, the anode rods are still enact when the unit starts leaking. Remember the good o' days when water heaters lasted 30 years, thats when flushing made a difference, Not this NEW CHEAP CRAP. People Freak out, when I say "Check the date, replace every 8", but 90% of my water heaters are in the Upper ATTIC of TWO STORY homes, and I hate seeing the damages over and over again.
                          "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Do I need to flush a "self-cleaning" water heater?

                            jay, you're 100% correct

                            the only heaters out here, they look at for warranty credit are the commercial units. haven't had to do anything more than bring in the data plate sticker on the 30,40, 50, 75, and even the 100 residential.

                            but you're right, if the manufacturer starts to enforce their policy, no one will ever have a warranty claim.

                            right now, trying ot get a replacement gas valve takes a call to the cs rep and typically a gas pressure and millivolt reading. much more bs than actually getting credit for a heater. but much cheaper and faster than changing a heater.

                            the heater companies still charge an upgrade fee. basically the difference in cost between the original purchase cost and the new current purchase cost. so on a 5 year old heater with 1 year left, it can still cost $150. for a 30-50. and much more on a 75-100. plus of course installation cost that's not covered.

                            i think the tankless market makes you jump through hoops, not the tank market.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

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