Water heater and HVAC maintenance should be performed regularly to keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently for a long time. Water heaters, in particular, have a life expectancy of only about 10 to 13 years. Without proper care, your water heater might need to be replaced before its 10th year.
Why Drain Your Water Heater?
Some water heaters need to be drained regularly to keep them in optimal condition. This is due to the buildup of sediment in the tank. When there is too much built-up sediment, the tank’s heating element can burn it off, or the sediment can bury the heating element, which means it will be less effective at heating your water.
If you notice that your water turns cold faster than it used to, this is a sign that your tank has to be drained. The same is true if there’s rust in the water, which means the anode rod is deteriorating.
Minerals can build up and harden in the water heater tank, which could also lead to noises coming from the water heater. This means your tank either needs to be drained or it’s time to call a professional for a replacement. You should also call an HVAC technician if your tank begins to leak, as the sediment buildup may have caused damage.
Unfortunately, water heaters deteriorate over time, and draining your water heater tank is a necessity, much like HVAC duct cleaning and furnace maintenance.
Draining Your Water Heater Tank
Draining the tank isn’t exactly quick and easy, so many homeowners call in a pro to do it for them. However, if you’re planning to do it yourself, follow these steps:
Turn off the water heater to prepare it. You should already know what type of heater you have. An electric water heater should have a switch to cut the electricity. If it’s a gas-powered water heater, switch it to “pilot”. The pilot light will remain on, but the water will no longer be heated.
Wait for the heated water to cool off. Make sure the water inlet valve is “on”. Depending on how much water is in your tank, cooling it off can take anywhere from minutes to hours.
In this step, you’re preparing to drain the pipes. Start by turning the cold water inlet off. Then turn on the hot water in a sink in your home, preferably on a floor above the heater. Allow the water to run until it’s cool. When this is done, open the pressure relief valve.
Most home water heaters drain outside. You can use a long garden hose to do this.
Connect the garden hose to the pump. If your water heater is underground, you’ll need to buy a small pump.
To avoid wasting water, you can allow the hose to drain into your flowerbed or garden to water the plants. It’s also advisable to collect water in a bucket, which also allows you to observe how much sediment has built up in the tank.
If the water is clear, you might not need to flush the tank. If there’s a lot of sediment or signs of corrosion, however, you’ll need to flush it immediately.
To flush your water heater, turn off the water tap and remove your garden hose. You should also close the pressure relief valves. Fill the tank with water and drain. Do this several times until the water you collect in the bucket is clear. Remember to turn on the cold water valve briefly each time you drain the water heater.
After that, put the water heater back together. Remove the hose and turn on the pressure relief valve. Turn on the electricity or the gas. Turn on the hot water at the sink to relieve tank pressure.
Get in touch with Bill Reynolds Heating & Air Conditioning at (440) 946-7863 for more information or for help flushing your water heater. We can also help with your indoor air quality. Message us here about any concerns or projects you have questions about.