Flushing a Water Heater

It's important to be friends with people that are older than you, because they are more experienced and can hold your hand and walk you through things. I have lots of those friends right now who are older and wiser and offering much needed help in my life! One of those wise friends suggested that the water heater should be flushed, when we weren't getting very warm temperatures out of it even after turning its thermostat to the max. (Don't worry about us scalding the baby with too hot of water, we can't even get it hot enough for a warm shower!)

Seriously, I can't believe I own a home and I didn't know that this needed to be done! Obviously the people that were owners or renters here before use didn't know it needed to be done either. Honestly, just check the manual for how to do it for your heater. We had to turn off the power, switch some valve, turn on the hot water at a sink, and I don't really know the order or all the details because my husband was doing most the work. (Love him!) Although he didn't want to pose for the picture.

We borrowed a garden hose from some dear friends and hooked it up. The towel was just in case it leaked. It didn't.

 Ran it through the house...

...to a convenient drain right outside our front door.

The bucket was just so we could "catch" what was coming out to see it. At first we didn't see much when we let it drain. We turned on the water again and BROWN water starting coming out our pipes. I lost the camera when this was happening, but this shows some of the discoloration. It was way worse though!


The initial emptying of the heater wasn't enough. We had to turn the water on and let it actually flush out. When we did this the bucket started filling up with BROWN water! So gross! Like I said the camera was lost during some of this but I caught it toward the end as the water started to become more clear. You can see all the sediment in the bottom though. 

Once the water ran clear out of the hose we (meaning Trevor) switched the valves back so it would come out of the pipes.

We let it run until it was clear. I felt bad "wasting" so much water, but I wasn't about to drink up that brown stuff so it had to go! 

The good news: no more chunkies coming out with our water!
The bad news: it didn't really make the water that much warmer.  And our shower doesn't even get hot now. Only lukewarm water there, but the sink faucets will get hot. Weird. More to learn and figure out I guess!

One step closer to feeling like we live in a clean home with clean water! Hip, hip, hooray!

PS Do you like my galoshes? I do. My mother-in-law (love her!) picked them out for me a few Christmas's ago. The picture doesn't show off the cute polka-dots! 


  1. I don't know if this will work, but my sister in law had a problem with their shower not getting warm/hot, but their faucets did. They figured that the shower was so much water at once that is just shocked the system, so they would run the bathroom faucet until it went hot, then turn on the shower. It works for them... maybe something to try before having to pay money to fix the heating system.

  2. Shelley, your experiences always make me laugh. Thanks for the lesson. I don't own a home yet, so I'm glad to be renting at the moment. But this is not something I knew either. Good to learn new things. Let me know what else you learn. :)