Maintaining a clean water heater is vital for ensuring a consistent hot water supply and maximizing the appliance’s lifespan. Sediment buildup is a common problem that can hamper the efficiency of your water heater.  This article provides a professional guide on maintaining your water heater, recognizing the need for sediment cleaning, and when to opt for professional help from a 24-hour plumbing company like Drain Express.

Essential Tips for Sediment Removal from Your Water Heater

Proper maintenance of your water heater, including periodic sediment cleaning, is crucial for its performance and longevity. If you live in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, or the surrounding areas, follow these steps to keep your water heater in top condition:

Safety First: Turning Off Your Water Heater

  • Electric Water Heaters: Ensure the power supply is disconnected by turning off the circuit breaker.
  • Gas Water Heaters: Close off the gas supply to avoid any accidents.

Cooling Down

Allow the water within the tank to cool significantly before you begin any maintenance tasks. This is a critical step to prevent burns or injuries.

Draining the Tank

Attach a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve, directing the water to an appropriate area for disposal. Remember, the water might still be hot, so caution is advised.

Flushing Out Sediment

With the tank drained, reopen the cold water supply to allow clean water to flush out any remaining sediment. The water should run clear after a few minutes.

Assessing the Need for Repeat Flushing

If the water is still cloudy, repeat the draining and flushing process until you see clear water.

Finishing Up

Securely close the drain valve and restore the power supply, following all manufacturer’s guidelines, especially for relighting the pilot light on gas heaters.

Recognizing When Your Water Heater Needs Cleaning

Knowing when to clean your water heater in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and surrounding areas. Here are signs to watch for:

  1. Decreased water flow: Sediment can clog and reduce water flow.
  2. Strange noises: Banging or popping sounds could indicate sediment interfering with heating.
  3. Discolored water: Cloudy or murky water signifies sediment presence.
  4. Longer heating times and unpleasant odors: These are classic indicators that cleaning is overdue.

The Benefits of a Professional 24-Hour Plumbing Company

For those who prefer expert assistance, Drain Express, a reliable 24-hour plumbing company, offers professional water heater cleaning services. Their skilled plumbers bring:

  • Expertise: Professional knowledge and tools for an efficient job.
  • Thorough cleaning: Complete sediment removal and system inspection.
  • Time-saving: Quick and thorough service that lets you focus on other tasks.

The Impact of Sediment on Your Water Heater

Sediment can have detrimental effects on your water heater, such as:

  1. Reduced efficiency: Harder work for your heater means higher energy costs.
  2. Shortened lifespan: Sediment can accelerate tank deterioration.
  3. Risk of malfunctions: Blocked valves and other issues may arise.
  4. Compromised water quality: Expect discoloration and unpleasant odors.

Preventative Measures

Take proactive steps to minimize sediment accumulation:

  • Regular flushing: It’s advisable to flush your heater one to two times annually.
  • Install a sediment filter: This can help prevent sediment from entering your heater.
  • Consider a water softener: Particularly in areas with hard water, a softener can significantly reduce sediment buildup.
  • Anode rod maintenance: Check and replace the anode rod as needed to prevent tank corrosion.

See also: Advantages of Installing a Tankless Water Heater.

When to Consider Replacement

Be aware of these signs that might indicate the need for a new water heater:

  1. Age factor: Water heaters typically last 8-12 years.
  2. Frequent repairs: Consistent problems can signify it’s time for a replacement.
  3. Leaks and water damage: These are often beyond simple repair.
  4. Inefficiency: An old unit will often operate less efficiently, which can be costly.
  5. Modern features: Newer models offer improved efficiency and features.
  6. Rebates and incentives: Check for local offers that could offset the cost of a new heater.
  7. Increased property value and peace of mind: New installations can boost home value and provide reliability.

Deciding Between Cleaning and Replacement

Weigh factors like the severity of sediment buildup, the water heater’s age and condition, energy efficiency, and budget when deciding whether to clean or replace your unit.


Routine maintenance, including sediment cleaning, is essential for your water heater’s efficiency and longevity. Whether you choose the DIY route or opt for professional services from a 24-hour plumbing company like Drain Express, staying proactive with your water heater maintenance is key to ensuring a steady and reliable hot water supply in your Chapel Hill, Durham, or Raleigh home.

Click here to contact us today, either online or via a call, to learn how we can help you keep a strong and efficient plumbing system.