Posted: April 13, 2020

How To Prevent Water Heater Storage Tank Sediment Build-Up

Prevent build-up in water heater hudson valley

Keeping your water heater working properly is important under normal circumstances, but with the coronavirus keeping us at home much more than usual right now, it’s downright critical.

If you have a conventional water heater (one with a storage tank), one of the keys to keeping it running reliably well is to prevent sediment build up inside the tank. Sediment, which looks like sand or gravel, precipitates from minerals in your water supply; when it accumulates inside your water heater’s storage tank, it can form a white “scale” on the tank’s heating element that reduces heat transfer and kills energy efficiency. Sediment can also clog the tank’s drain valve, which can be a safety hazard.

The good news is that you can prevent sediment build-up by periodically flushing your water tank.

How To Flush Your Water Heater Tank

What you’ll need:


  1. Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker; if you have a propane gas water heater, you will also need to turn off the gas supply.
  2. Fasten a length of garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. If you can’t locate the drain value, consult your water heater’s owner’s manual.
  3. Run the other end of the hose to the nearest floor drain, or outside your house.
  4. Close the shut-off valve at the water inlet line or main water supply.
  5. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house to relieve system pressure inside the tank.
  6. Slide a knee-high stocking over the drain end of the garden hose to capture sediment and scale as the water heater drains; use the rubber band or wire tie to hold it in place. If you capture a lot of sediment, you’ll need to flush your water heater more often.
  7. Using your screwdriver, open the drain valve (the other side of the Y connector where you attached the hose). Use caution: the water that will flow into your floor drain or outside your home will be hot enough to scald.
  8. Drain about three to five gallons of water, which should be enough to capture the needed sediment.
  9. When you’re done, close the drain valve with your screwdriver and remove the hose.
  10. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the home, then open the shut-off valve at the water inlet line or main water supply. You’ll hear the water heater start to fill. When you have a steady stream of water at the faucet, turn it off.
  11. Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. For propane gas water heaters, turn the gas supply back on.

Of course, a periodic flush isn’t the only maintenance you’ll need for your water heater – you’ll also need professional water heater maintenance about every two years. If your water heater is due or overdue for a service visit, contact us today – before your water heater fails when you need it most!

If you need a propane water heater repair or propane water heater replacement in the Hudson Valley, Bottini Fuels is here to help – contact us today for water heater service.

And remember: at Bottini Fuels, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please see our Covid-19 Service Update Page to learn more about how we are working to keep our crews and your home comfort systems working through this challenging time.