How to Drain Your Water Heater & Keep Your Home in Hot Water

How to Drain Your Water Heater & Keep Your Home in Hot WaterPublished August 16, 2016 Man wearing safety glasses drains a water heater.

When was the last time you thought about your water heater? If it has been more than a year and you have a storage-tank appliance, it’s time to show that hot-water hero a little attention and drain its tank.

Naturally-occurring minerals, like calcium and magnesium, gradually leach out of the water during the heating process and settle at the bottom of your hot water tank. Over time, that sediment builds up and can clog the drain valve, block water lines, or even cause your heater to prematurely tank, so to speak.

How can you tell if you have too much sediment in your water-heater tank? Here are a couple of clues:

Noticeable fluctuations in the temperature of your hot water.

As the sediment builds up, it decreases the unit’s ability to maintain a consistent water   temperature. You’ll find yourself turning the faucet further and further to the left just to get to your ideal temperature.

Rising energy bills.

When the tank fills with sediment, your unit will require more energy to heat the water and keep it hot. If you don’t drain the tank, it could start draining your wallet.

Your hot water supply seems to not last as long as it used to.

Are your showers getting shorter? Unless you have teenagers in your house using up those precious hot-water reserves, sediment in the hot-water tank may be to blame.

Rumbling or popping sounds when the water heater is running.

These noises are caused when the sediment becomes hot during the water heater’s operation. The minerals in the sediment produce steam bubbles, which make noise as they pop.

Steps to Draining and Flushing Your Water Heater

If you notice one or more of these signs, it’s time to drain and flush your water heater. Don’t worry – it’s an easy process. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Shut off your electric heater’s breaker or put the gas burner on “pilot.” Note: Electric water heaters must be turned completely off during flushing. Exposed heating elements can quickly burn out if the water level in the tank drops below the level of the hot elements.
  2. Close the tank’s cold water supply valve, then wait several hours to allow the stored hot water to cool down.
  3. Put a bucket under the T&P (Temperature & Pressure Release) Valve and test that it’s working properly. If you’re not sure where the valve is located on your unit, check your owner’s manual or look online for information.
  4. Attach a garden hose to the water heater’s drain valve and place the other end in a location that can safely drain the hot water (e.g. a bathtub, laundry tub, floor drain, or driveway).
  5. Open one hot water faucet – preferably the one closest to the tank – then open the tank’s drain valve and let it empty. Again, the water will be hot, so use caution.
  6. Once all water has drained from the tank, briefly turn the cold water supply on to the tank. This will stir up any remaining sediment. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. If the sediment build-up prevents the tank from draining, call an expert for help.
  7. Shut the drain valve, open the cold water supply and refill the tank. When water begins to flow from the open faucet, close it.
  8. Finally, restore the power or adjust the gas burner control and start heating water again.

Need help with your water heater? Contact Blissfield Heating and Plumbing or give us a call at (517) 486-3575. Our team of professionals are on call and ready to assist you. Contact us today!

8593 E US Hwy 223
Blissfield, MI 49228
Phone: (517) 486-3575

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