Maintaining Your Water Heater

Most people don’t give any thought to their water heater—they just turn on the faucet and expect hot water to come out.  Keep your water heater in peak operating condition by performing some simple routine maintenance.

One step you can take is to drain your tank.  How often you need to do this depends upon the sediment buildup you are getting in your tank.  Some experts recommend draining once a year.  I recommend draining your tank once, and checking sediment buildup.  Check it six months or a year later and compare the amount of build up to your previous amount.  This will give you an idea on how often you need to drain your tank.  If you have more sediment, you would want to drain more often.  Less sediment, drain less often.  Come up with a good schedule, that will keep your sediment build up to a minimum.

To drain the tank:

  • Turn off the power source to the water heater. You do not want it to heat while empty. This is very important. Failure to do so may cause damage to the water heater.
  • Turn off the water supply to the tank.
  • Locate the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Looks like a hose spigot.
  • Connect a hose to this and place the hose outside, in a bucket, basement drain or sump.
  • If this is the first time you are draining, I recommend running the water through a strainer to judge sediment build up. If you already know your level, continue to the next step.
  • Open the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater.
  • Most experts recommend draining 3/4 of the water from the tank. If this is the first time I recommend a complete flush.
  • Close valve and fill tank.
  • Once tank is full turn power source to tank back on.

If you notice lots of sediment at the end of the draining process, you may have to do this several times to clear out the build up.  This is common if this is the first time a unit has been drained in quite a while. Good luck!

Submitted by JonathanMeeker on Thu, 03/26/2009 - 07:05.
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