After you install your salt-free water conditioner, the next step should be to drain and service your water heater. Water Heater Maintenance is extremely important because it allows the new conditioner to work much easier and you will notice a difference in your water much faster. Calcium forms much faster in hot water and you will also see a big difference in your dishwasher. Water heaters operate more efficiently when not hindered by scale buildup and sediment. Operating a water heater with only 1/4 inch of limescale build-up on heating elements can increase energy costs up to as much as 40%. Scale deposits can also shorten the life of water heaters. When water-heaters are scale-free, their energy consumption can be reduced to levels comparable to those of brand new water heaters. How To Flush Water Heater There are a variety of citric-based products that help to dissolve the calcium in the bottom of the tank, but it can be difficult for a non-professional to pour these products into the tank because you have to un-hook the cold water inlet. If you are willing to spend a few hours on this task, the average homeowner can usually clean the water heater without the assistance of a professional plumber. I had a three-year-old tank that had about seven inches of scale in the bottom of the tank, it took me several hours using a coat hanger and shop vac but I finally got the tank clean. I cleaned the same tank four years later and because I had been using one of our salt-free water conditioners the tank didn't have any hardened deposits in it. It did have about a half-inch of aragonite, which is a powdery substance that was easy to drain from the tank. This water will appear cloudy at first as the loosened calcium deposits are removed. As the plumbing system is cleared the water will run clear. It may be necessary to turn the water heater thermostat to a cooler setting after the 90 day clean-out period since the heating element will be able to operate more efficiently. Your salt-free water conditioner will convert hard calcium deposits into a softer form, and the loosened calcium will accumulate in the bottom of the water heater. This sediment can be removed by draining a few gallons from the water heater every few months using the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. You can simply hook your garden hose to the drain valve and open the drain valve, and I don't turn off the water supply to the tank, this way the tank is pressurized and makes it easier to drain a few gallons of water from your tank.