Man removing water heater(l), Man talking(c), Water Heater(r)


‘The worst that I’ve seen’: Plumber reveals why you should flush your tankless water heater—and what happens if you don’t

‘I no longer want to be a homeowner.’


Tangie Mitchell


Here’s the truth: We could all probably do better with maintaining our household appliances, and the professionals never stop reminding us of it. But when a professional plumber shares a TikTok of what can happen to a chronically neglected water heater, it’s clear what all the fuss is about.

In a TikTok with over 1.6 million views as of Tuesday, content creator Plumbers Plunger (@theplumbersplunger) decides to open the back of a water heater that he had trouble flushing out. And what he finds is stomach-turning.

“This is a water heater that I pulled out of an attic yesterday,” he begins. “This thing would not drain, and the water that eventually came out of it looked disgusting.”

The camera closes in on the inside of the water heater, revealing a thick, black goo spilling out of the back. 

“When I got back to my house I cut it open to see what was on the inside. This was absolutely disgusting and probably the worst I’ve seen,” he continues, picking up handfuls of the goo with gloved hands.

The problem

The plumber explains that the “buildup” is due to a lack of maintenance from the owner. He also later reveals that the tank used well water, which also accounts for the large sediment buildup.

How to maintain a tankless water heater

“This heater was never flushed or maintained, and all this buildup accumulated in the bottom of the tank,” he says.

The plumber recommends that owners flush their water heaters regularly to avoid the gunk.

“Remember whether you have a tankless or a tank type water heater, the manufacturers do recommend that you flush these things at least once a year.”

“If your tank’s older than five years, and you haven’t done this before, don’t bother doing it now because it will probably do more harm than good,” he advises as the video ends.


Remember to flush your water heaters! #plumbing #plumber #trades #maintenance #fyp #trending

♬ original sound – The Plumbers Plunger

In the comments, many users seemed surprised by the revelation that they need to flush their water heaters at least in an annual basis.

“Jeez really I no longer want to be a homeowner. I’m so tired of maintaining everything,” one user wrote.

“Never knew they needed to be flushed. Sigh…one more expense to add for the year,” another viewer expressed.

“I could have lived the rest of my life without this information but no. You had to ruin showers for me,” came another user’s remark.

“Yikes! Likely looks like mine would. 25 years and I wasn’t aware this needed to be done,” a fourth person shared.

How to flush a tankless water heater

The plumber also shared videos of how to flush a tankless water heater.

According to Home Depot, to flush a water heater, owners should first turn off the heater (if it’s a gas water heater, turn the gas off at the source.) Then, connect a garden hose to the water heater drain outlet, placing the other end of the hose in a large bucket or near a floor drain. After that, flush the sediment from the bottom of the heater by opening the drain spigot and allowing water to flow until it turns clear. The process should take between 20 to 25 minutes. 

Also, according to Home Depot, sediment buildup in a water heater tank can “reduce your water heater’s energy efficiency and also clog your water lines.”  

Longevity is not the only reason for annual upkeep

While many users in the comments section grappled with the new information of having to regularly flush their water tanks, the plumber mentioned in another video that longevity is not the only reason for the annual upkeep.

“Even if you’re not concerned with how long these water heaters are gonna last, you should still do this to help with efficiency, volume, and so you’re using clean water.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to The Plumbers Plunger via TikTok and Instagram private message for more information.  

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