Haven’t used hot water in a month

I found myself having to leave my house and move in to mom’s to take care of her after surgery.

I don’t live too far away so I’ve stopped by my house a few times to get stuff and I’ve made a point of running the kitchen tap for a minute and flushing the toilet.

It just occurred to me that I haven’t used any hot water in 4 weeks now. I have a 30 gallon natural gas fired tank that’s I think 14 years old. I’ve never flushed/drained it.

I know I’ve read about how not flushing the tank can cause problems with sediment. Does not using it for 4 weeks cause any problems?

And would there be a problem if I went by this weekend and took a shower or simply ran hot water? Should I do more or less with hot water? Or nothing?



FWIW, we’re on a well and on propane. Our water heater lasted 30 years. And it was never drained in those 30 years.

Water heaters aren’t fragile. I wouldn’t worry about it.

The thing I read - for electric hot water tanks - was that the sediment covered the bottom element, making it harder for the tank to heat up water, hence working the element overtime and eventually burning it out. I’m not sure how that applies to gas heated tanks. Plus, I imagine sediment depends if your town gets its water from the Mississippi or from pure mountain springs.

After 14 years if you flush it you have an increased chance of something going wrong, like the valve not totally reseating and dripping, or worse they pipe coming out of the water heater instead of the valve turning. If you want to flush it go slowly can carefully and be prepared to abort if things are not going smoothly. Also buy a hose end cap (or you can usually use a hose nozzle in a pinch) to cap off the valve if it doesn’t reseat.

If you do this and not much sediment comes out you should never need to do this again unless your water conditions change.

Totally agree. If it works … at this point … don’t fix it.

Thanks, all!

I don’t have hard water. It’s fresh from Lake Erie. And the gas vs electric thing makes sense. No one around here I know has ever flushed theirs.

Lake Erie water comes in at 120 mg/L, which is considered moderately hard to hard.

My water comes from a well adjacent to and capturing water flowing into Lake Michigan, and comes in at 364 mg/L, hard enough to chew. Lake Michigan itself is only 140 mg/L hardness.

Jebus! And here I thought our local 128 mg/L was hard.

Just an addition for Ye Olde Knowledge Base:

Our electric water heater blew one of its two thermostats at about year 10. I changed out both 'stats, replaced the anode rod, and exchanged the cheapo drain valve for this type (1min):

I flush my water heater about twice a year, but was unwilling to flush it even once with that OEM drain … for the reasons @kanicbird said. They’re notoriously problematic.

I haven’t yet swapped out the original Temp & Pressure Valve, but that’s on the agenda.