How to Drain a Water Heater

Is draining a water heater a requirement? Manufacturers of water heater recommend that you should always drain it after every six months. Water heater draining is a do-it-yourself task. Most people don’t give their water heaters a second thought until when it gets to stop functioning. Sediment or scale buildup can decrease your heating element’s efficiency, it can clog your water heater, and again, it can increase your energy bills.

 An important thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your heater is to do a partial draining which is recommended for every month for the beginning year and after that, done after every six months. This eradicates all the scale built up. For you to drain your water heater properly, follow the following steps.

Step 1

Firstly, switch off the power to your water heater. Most of the electric heaters are directly connected to their circuit breaker switch in the main power panel. Turn it off altogether since some heating elements can burn out real quick if the level of water in the heater tank drops lower than the heating element. In case you are using a gas water heater, change the thermostat to “pilot.”

There is one caution you should take. Even after turning off your electric or gas water heater, the water in your tank might keep hot for the next few hours depending on the size of your tank. So, it’s advisable to either wait for the water to cool overnight before proceeding, or still drain the hot water far from where it might cause harm.

Step 2

Secondly, close your water supply valve to the heater. You will find the water turn off valve near or at the top of the water heater tank close to the cold water inlet. For you to turn off, rotate the valve clockwise. If you can’t manage to locate your shut off valve, close the water supply to your home at the main valve.

Step 3

Here, you should ready the drain. Locate the water heater’s drain valve which is at the bottom of the tank. Connect a high-quality garden hose to the valve. You should connect the other end of your hose into a drain which can be a nearby sink, floor drain, toilet or on a driveway where drainage can occur safely. You can also use a bucket if necessary, but you should be careful not to get burnt by the hot water as you are working.

Step 4

In this step, open the hot water faucet which is nearest to the heater tank. Majorly on the floor above. The opening of this tap alleviates pressure which allows water to drain faster from the heater tank.

Step 5

Now, it’s time to drain the water from the heater tank. Open the drain valve that you had attached to the garden hose. Let the water drain completely from the tank. Take note of the color of your water. Firstly, it will be a dark, rusty color since it’s mixed with silts.

 After the tank has drained, open the cold water supply to your heater. This enables the remaining sediments to get stirred up. Repeat the process.  Following a few gallons of water released, the water will end up turning clear. Don’t forget the water will be hot at first, so take caution.

Step 6

It’s time now to close the drain valve of your water heater tank after realizing your water is coming out clear. Remove or disconnect the garden hose or empty the bucket depending on what you were using.

Step 7

Finally, you can now turn on the water supply back. The tank will start filling up so allow it. You earlier opened the hot water faucet, go back to it. If you realize that cold water begins to flow from that tap, shut it off. Now, turn the electric water heater back on to the water heater tank. Ensure that there isn’t water leaking by checking the drain valve opening after you’ve closed it. If you’re using the gas heater tank, turn the gas valve from the pilot set to turn it back on.

Various water heater tanks should always be full to avoid damages to the heating elements or the gas burner. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions concerning the water heater for it to last longer.

Maintenance of your water heater saves you a lot.  Draining water from your tank is a very straightforward task, and it’s really essential. All debris and mineral deposits can get flushed out. That prevents scale buildup in your tank.

When to call a plumber when your draining process is not successful

Draining a water heater is not an intimidating task to deal with it. As said earlier, it is a do-it-yourself job. But, some issues may arise while draining your water heater tank. Such matters are better dealt with by a professional plumber to control escalation.  Here are some concerns that should make you contact a licensed plumber.

A leaking pipe.

You should treat this issue as an emergency. At first, it will look like a small issue. If faucet leaking is left for long, it could worsen. Defective valves or pipes can affect the supply of water. In some cases, such a fault can flood your home. Leaking can cost you a lot concerning receiving higher water bills. If it happens that you suspect any leak while in the draining process, and you are unable to detect where the problem is coming from, it could be that your pipes are deteriorating. Call in a licensed plumber to deal with the issue.

Faulty water heater tank.

If your water is not heating up as expected, you could be handling a defective water heater tank. You may not know if your water heater is not proper. A faulty heater tank is hazardous to safety. If a drain valve is broken or damaged, it can explode when high pressure is build up. A plumber is the only person in a position to deal with this issue.

Slow water drain

This is a sure sign of clogging to your water heater. Most of the people decide to use the chemical drain cleaners to eradicate the scale build up in your tank. Some of these cleaners cause corrosion to your pipes and also causing leaks. The best and easiest way to solve all these problems is by involving a professional plumber. It can be better when the drainage process is undertaken by a licensed plumber.

Drop in your water pressure.

While draining your tank, you might notice a lower water pressure. The factors causing such might be, decrease in pressure from the primary source, clogged water lines or poor plumbing. Clogging majorly occurs due to debris and rust build up in the tank. A professional plumber is capable of diagnosing the concern and providing the remedy to such a situation.

Bad odors from your water heater tank.

When draining your tank, you might sense a foul smell if you rarely flush it. A bacteria buildup might be in there which brings about that bad smell. You need to call a water heater expert to enable you to acquire information on how to safely drain out all the dirt lingering in your heater.

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