To-Do #1: Inspect and Drain Water Heater
It’s easy to neglect your water heater, since it’s often hidden in a closet or garage.
But inspecting and draining it annually is important because you can catch small problems before they become big ones and make the unit work more efficiently and last longer.
Start by checking the water lines and fittings on the water heater for leaks.
Next, check the pressure relief valve for leaks and test to make sure it works properly.
NOTE: Opening the relief valve will allow hot water to come out, so make sure a pipe is attached to the relief valve that directs the water either into the pan under the water heater or outside.
Next, drain the water heater to remove any sediment that has accumulated in the tank. Since sediment forms at the bottom of the tank, this can be done by placing a bucket under the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater, then open the spigot and drain out a gallon or two of water.
CAUTION: Water coming out of the drain valve will be hot, so be careful to avoid scalding.
For a more thorough cleaning, drain the water heater completely.
Draining a hot water heater:
- Turn off the power or gas to the water heater.
- Close the cold-water supply valve to the water heater.
- Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, and run the hose outside.
- Open the water heater drain valve, followed by the pressure relief valve, and allow all the water to drain out of the tank.
- After the tank is empty, open the cold-water valve to flush out any remaining sediment.
- When the water coming out of the hose is clear, close the drain valve and pressure relief valve, and allow the tank to fill back up.
- Detach the garden hose, and turn the water heater back on.
Watch our video on How to Drain a Water Heater to find out more.