Maintenance and Prevention: Draining your Water Heater
Water heaters are one of the most important appliances in our home. Without them, we couldn’t take a hot shower or bath, clean dishes, or wash clothes.
That’s why it’s essential to keep your unit up and running with regular maintenance checks for leaks and by draining the tank periodically.
How does draining the water heater help maintain it? Because tap water contains minerals that leave sediment in the tank, causing it to clog or work harder to heat your water.
So how do you do it? First, you’ll need a garden hose, a bucket, and a screwdriver.
- Switch off the power or gas to the water heater (If the unit runs on electricity, turn it off at the circuit breaker. If it burns gas, then set the control knob to “pilot” to turn off the gas supply to the water heater.)
- Fasten the hose to the drain valve on the tank and run the other end to a floor drain or outside the home (or a bucket if you’re only draining a small amount.)
- Close the shutoff valve at the cold water line to the water heater.
- Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house to relieve the system pressure.
- Open the drain valve with the screwdriver and allow the water to drain.
Please note: the water leaving the tank will be hot, so make sure nobody gets scalded as it drains.
If you want to capture the sediment, you can secure a piece nylon stocking to the end of the hose so that the water drains through, but the sediment is filtered out. That way, you can determine how much was sediment was released.
When the water stops flowing, follow these steps to refill the tank.
- Close the release valve on the water heater near the hose attachment.
- Remove the hose.
- Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in the home.
- Open the shutoff valve where the cold water enters the water heater; you’ll hear the heater begin to refill.
- When you have a steady stream of water from the open faucet in the house, turn the faucet off.
- Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker or for gas heaters, turn the gas supply back on.
- Recheck the drain valve to make sure it’s tightly closed.
That’s it. Congratulate yourself!