Over time, as water moves through your water heater, sludge and sediment can build up on the bottom of your water heater. This buildup can affect the performance of your water heater, resulting in less hot water and long wait times for heating, as well as potentially damaging the water heater itself due to increased strain. However, you can clean your water heater and remove the sediment in order to improve its performance. If you notice that your water heater takes a while to work, or seems to heat less water than before, you may want to clean your water heater.
Before You Begin
You'll need a citric acid based cleaner and a garden hose. These things can be found at most hardware stores, if they are not already in your house. You may want to wear rubber gloves as well, as a citric acid based cleaner can cause skin irritation. You will also want to turn off the power and water supply to the water heater before you begin cleaning
Cleaning Your Water Heater
Locate the cold water supply line on top of the water heater, and unscrew it from the water heater. There is a small rubber nipple screwed into the cold water port that you will have to unscrew as well.
Pour the citric acid based cleaner into the opened port. Let the cleaner sit for 8 to 12 hours. Due to the long wait time, it is a good idea to put the cleaner in overnight, when the water heater is not going to be needed.
Connect the garden hose to the drain valve, which is located on the bottom of the water heater. Run the hose to a sink or outside.
Open the drain valve, and reconnect the water supply line on top of the water heater, remembering to screw in the rubber nipple. Turn on the water supply to the water heater.
Wait for the water to run clear, which will depend on the size and amount of sludge in your water heater. Once the water runs clear, close the drain valve and disconnect the hose from the water heater.
Go to the farthest tap from the water heater, and turn on the hot water. Wait for water to run from the tap. Move to the next farthest tap, and so on until you have turned on the hot water on every tap in your house. This will prevent any air from getting into your pipes.
Turn the power to the water heater back on. Your water heater is now good to go. Contact a company like AA Plumbing for more information.