Draining the Water Heater

When the hot water heater goes out we have no doubts of it occurring. It is easy to take it for granted, but the water heater does require some maintenance to keep our homes supplied with the piping hot water we enjoy. A little maintenance goes a long way in preventing the need for water heater repair in Houston.

Why Draining Your Water Heater Is Important

By draining to the hot water heater at least annually, will help to prevent having to have water heater repair in Houston and potential damage to your home. Draining the tank extends the service life and improves the performance of your hot water heater.

Sediment from hard water will accumulate in water heaters in the regions of the country where lime or other mineral containing water is typical. When hard water sediment adheres to heating elements they have to work harder to heat the water through all of the attached sediment. This not only uses more electricity, but takes longer for hot water to be produced. It can also cause overheating and breakdown, leading to water heater repair in Houston.

Water heaters with a metal lining don’t stand a chance against hard water, and the corrosion from acidic lime will lead to the tank leaking. These leaks can cause extensive damage to the home. Mold and mildew are likely to occur and can lead to illness. Those who live in hard water regions should only purchase a water heater with a glass lining. Once a water heater’s tank leaks, water heater repair in Houston will not help it, it can only be replaced.

However, the damage doesn’t stop there. The leakage of hot water causes your tank to continuously run in order to heat the cold water that is entering your tank due to the consistent leak, driving your electric bill up.

The following instructions will guide you in draining the hot water heater. This simple maintenance will extend the water heaters service life, help to prevent the need for water heater repair in Houston and help to prevent damage to your home.

How to drain the water heater

  1. Safety: Turn off the power supply to the hot water heater in your homes electrical service panel. The breaker box should be labeled for a hot water heater. If you are in doubt leave the job of service and water heater repair in Houston to a professional. Request the plumber label the appropriate breaker for you, and then the next time you can provide drainage of the tank yourself. Don’t risk shock which can lead to death.
  2. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located near the base of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose out of a door to drain out onto the ground. Ensure the hot water will not drain on people, pets, plants, outdoor electrical plugs, lights or anything it will damage. Place a thick towel under the connection at the hot water heater as many garden hoses will leak.
  3. Turn off the cold water inlet valve. It should be located near or at the top of the water heater.
  4. Slowly open the pressure relief valve, which should be located near the top of the heater and leave the valve open. It may be hot, use a towel to prevent your hand from being burned. Turn the valve slowly in the event built up pressure causes it to eject hot water.
  5. Open the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater allowing water to drain through the garden hose to the outside or into a large bucket. Keep in mind, if you use a bucket you must empty often for a full tank drain. If you use the bucket method, turn off the drain valve to empty the bucket. Be sure to note the quantity of sediment in the bucket or on the ground.
  6. Allow the tank to drain until sediment is no longer seen draining.
  7. Close the drain valve; remove the hose with a towel as it will be hot, close the pressure release valve and turn the cold water inlet valve on. Hold the disconnected end of the garden hose up to avoid hot water flowing out of the hose onto you.
  8. Turn the hot water on at a faucet to bleed air from the water supply lines.
  9. Turn the circuit breaker in the homes electrical service panel back to the on position.
  10. Once you have cleaned the tank in this manner, repeat this procedure ideally every 3 months, but you will only need to release about 2 quarts if you will keep to this schedule. Otherwise, repeat the full procedure annually.

Routinely check on the hot water heater for signs of leakage. Carefully touch the pressure release valve during the inspection. If it is hot your hot water is leaking out, and the valve will require replacement. If the valve continues to “trip”, you may have a bad thermostat, or other problem requiring water heater repair in Houston. A higher than usual power bill may be an indication that the water heater pressure release valve is leaking. If rust is noted on the water heater it will require replacement.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing understands a plumbing emergency requires immediate attention. Our professional plumbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you with water heater repair in Houston. Our experienced and reliable plumbers provide full plumbing services for all of your plumbing needs, backed by our 100% guarantee. We are a member of the BBB.