Water Heater Flush (How Often & What It Costs)

If you have a water heater in your home, you might have heard of performing a water heater flush. This is the process of draining all the water from your water heater and removing any sediment or buildup that may have accumulated over time.

Why is this important? The buildup in your water heater can decrease efficiency and lead to costly repairs down the road. So how often should you perform a water heater flush?

Experts generally recommend flushing your water heater at least once a year or every six months if you have hard water. The cost of a water heater flush will vary depending on whether you hire a professional or do it yourself and the unit size, but it typically ranges from $100 to $350. This is a small price to pay for the upkeep of your water heater and ensuring its longevity.

Read on to learn more about how often you should flush your water heater and what it may cost.

How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater?

Experts recommend that you flush your water heater at least once a year or every six months. When water enters the water heater tank and is heated, any minerals and sediments in the water can settle at the bottom of the tank. Over time, this buildup reduces the heater’s efficiency. That is why it’s important to flush them out periodically.

Typically, it can take around one year for enough buildup to occur in the water heater. That’s why experts recommend performing a flush at least once a year or every six months if you have hard water. That’s because hard water has a higher concentration of minerals that can lead to quicker buildup in the tank. 

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But again, you have to keep in mind the tank size and the amount of water used in your household. If there is a lot of water usage and the tank is large, the sediments will collect much faster, creating the need for more frequent flushing.

If you have a tankless water heater, it is still important to periodically flush it out as well. The flush process for a tankless water heater can vary slightly from one with a tank. However, the effect of the buildup is the same – reducing the efficiency of the heater.

For a tankless water heater, there might not be that of a change as the water doesn’t sit in a tank but is heated on the spot. However, it’s still recommended to have regular inspections and flushes in case of any buildup or damage.

Don’t wait – schedule regular inspections and flushes to maintain the efficiency and longevity of your water heater, no matter how big your household may be. Your wallet (and hot showers) will thank you.

One or Two People in a Home

If there are only one or two people living in the home, a water heater flush should still be performed at least once a year.

Although the amount of water usage may not be as high, there can still be mineral buildup and sediment in the tank that needs to be flushed out to maintain efficiency. It’s important to keep up with regular maintenance, even in smaller households.

Assuming you use hard water, it may be a good idea to consider flushing the water heater every six months. Even though you might be using the heater at a limited capacity, the hard water can lead to quicker buildup in the tank.

Remember, the hot water will sit longer in the tank when there is less usage, leading to a higher chance of sediment accumulation. It might not seem necessary at first, but the deposits might cause a problem with time.

While the flush frequency is after one year, having the unit inspected by a professional is recommended at least once every few months. This allows the technician to catch any problems or issues before they become severe and costly.

Flashing Water Heater

Three to Five People in a Home 

This is the scenario – you wake up for work and turn on the shower. As you drain the hot water, more water replaces the used water, bringing in new and more minerals and sediments into the water heater.

This can, over time, build up and cause corrosion in your water heater, leading to decreased efficiency and possible damage.

Now imagine that it was you alone. When three to five people are in the household, the water heater is used even more often, leading to an even quicker buildup of minerals and sediments. The buildup can happen even quicker if your water source is a well or other hard water source.

In this case, it is recommended to flush your water heater at least twice a year, if not more often. This will help prevent damage to the water heater and keep the hot water flowing efficiently.

However, the speed of mineral buildup might not be that significant if you’re using a water softener or have a low mineral content in your water supply. In that case, it’s recommended to flush the water heater once a year or every two years.

The important point is to inspect the water heater for possible buildup at least four times a year. Depending on your specific circumstances, you might need to flush it more often or less often. An inspection can also help catch any potential damage early and prevent bigger issues in the future.

Don’t wait until there’s a problem – keep up with regular inspections and flushes to ensure your water heater runs smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Six or More People in a Home

More people in the house increases the amount of water heated at a particular period. That would increase the sediment accumulation in the water heater.

Like the example given above, assuming one liter of water has 3 milligrams of sediment, a family of six would accumulate 18 milligrams per day. That’s 648 milligrams per month and 7,776 milligrams per year. 

That is enough buildup to reduce the water heater’s efficiency and potentially cause damage. If allowed to continue, it could lead to the need for a replacement.

For this reason, flushing the water heater every six months is recommended in homes with six or more people. It’s important to note that flushing frequency may also depend on water quality and the water heater’s size. Consult a professional for more specific guidance.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Water Heater Flushed?

On average, the cost for a professional to flush a water heater ranges from $75 to $200, with some companies charging as low as $70 and others as high as $400.

The cost can vary depending on the type and size of your water heater and the specific services provided (such as removing sediment buildup or repairing damages found during the flush).

If you have a huge tank and live in an area with hard water, the cost may be on the higher end. Additionally, some companies may have a minimum service fee regardless of the job size.

What’s more, the labor rates vary by location and company. It may be worth shopping around and comparing prices before choosing a professional to flush your water heater.

There is the option to do it yourself if you understand the functionality of a water heater. However, it does come with some risks. You might not flush it properly or adequately, and if there are damages, you may not have the expertise to repair them.

But let’s be honest: the peace of mind and potential cost savings may be worth it for some people. Just make sure to do your research and proceed with caution.

Shafer Services Plus 
CompanyPriceLocation
Shafer Services Plus $210 San Antonio
Plymouth Plumbing & Heating Inc.$100 Wisconsin
Hobaica Services$80 Arizona
John’s Water Heater Services$150Houston
Hobaica Services

Conclusion

Keeping up with regular flushes can help maintain the efficiency and longevity of your water heater.

In general, it is recommended to flush your water heater at least once a year or every two years, though the frequency may vary depending on factors such as the size of your household and the quality of water.

The cost of getting a professional to flush your water heater can range from $100 to $350, with prices varying by location and company. It is also possible to do it yourself, but it is important to understand the risks and proceed with caution.

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