Why is draining your water heater important?

A water heater needs to be properly drained as part of its regular maintenance. Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of a water heater, which can lead to clogs. Draining a water heater helps flush out this sediment, usually made up of minerals and other debris, that may cause it to malfunction. If you do not properly maintain your water heater, it may not work efficiently or could simply stop working at all.

How do you drain a water heater?

The following steps explain how to drain a water heater. (For specific information on your water heater, be sure to read the owner’s manual.) If you’re uncomfortable performing this type of maintenance on your water heater, call a plumber and schedule a professional draining.

Step 1: Shut off the water supply to your water heater.

At the top of the water heater, you’ll see a water pipe and a shutoff valve going into the water heater. Turn this valve to shut off the water to the tank.

Step 2: Turn off the power to the water heater.

It’s important to shut off the power to your water heater before draining it, or you could potentially burn out the heating elements. If you have an electric water heater, shut the power off from your home’s electrical panel. The correct fuse or circuit breaker should be labeled as being connected to the water heater.

If it’s a gas water heater, you can turn the water heater’s thermostat to “pilot” for this step. Or, shut off the gas supply to the heater. Check your owner’s manual and follow the instructions provided for your specific water heater.

Step 3: Give the water time to cool off.

The water in your water heater is extremely hot. To help prevent injury, it’s a good idea to let your water heater sit overnight so the water within the tank cools down before you drain it. You should wait a few hours at the very least. Taking a hot shower can also help speed up the cooling process.)

Step 4: Attach a hose to the drain valve.

Once your water heater has cooled down, place one end of a hose (you can use a garden hose) into a floor drain or, if it will reach, directly outside. Attach the other end onto the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater.

Step 5: Turn on a hot water tap.

Open the hot water tap, like a sink faucet, that is nearest to the water heater. This helps to alleviate pressure and allows the tank to drain quicker. If possible, the DIY Network recommends using a tap that is on the floor above the water heater.

Step 6: Open the drain valve.

Once you open this valve, the water will begin to flow out of the tank. Be patient, as it may take a while to drain if the tank was full or there is a lot of sediment.

Step 7: Turn the water supply back on to flush the tank with fresh, clean water.

With the drain valve still open, turn the cold water back on to help eliminate any remaining sediment on the bottom of the tank. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Then, turn the water valve off again.

Step 8: Refill the tank.

Remove the hose from the drain valve, and be sure to close the valve. Turn the water supply back on to start refilling the tank. Once the tank is full, turn the power or gas supply to the water heater back on. Remember to turn off the faucet you turned on earlier while draining the tank.

How often should you drain your water heater?

It’s generally a good idea to drain your water heater at least once a year. If you live in an area with hard water, you may need to drain it more frequently. Remember, always check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Water heaters are typically a fairly low maintenance appliance, but remember to drain yours regularly. This may help keep it running efficiently and the hot water flowing.

Summer is here and it’s getting hot! Maintenance on your air conditioner is one of the most important things you can do to keep cool now that we are getting into the heat of summer. Here are some actions you can take yourself to keep you cool this summer.

Replace Your Air Filters Regularly

Air filters remove pollen, dust, smoke particles, pet dander amongst other air pollutants from your home. By doing so, they improve the air quality of your home and can reduce your chances of respiratory infections, and other health problems.

A clean air filter will cut down on servicing of your unit and help it run more efficiently. You may be wondering if there are any benefits to the more expensive air filters rather than the cheaper filters that are available. When purchasing air filters, there are many factors that you should consider:

  • Cheap filters don’t last long like expensive filters.
  • Expensive filters are made of better-quality materials.
  • Expensive air filters have more surface area to filter unlike cheap filters.
  • Cheap filters are not as effective at removing dust and other contaminants from the air.

Pet Owners

Owning a pet can be exciting and for some a crucial part of life. Fur babies, service animal, family member, whatever you call them they are a big part of your life and taking care of them can actually help your air conditioner stay efficient. Here are a few things to do to keep your unit running properly during the summer months:

  • Brush your pet regularly.
    • Brushing regularly picks up the pet hair up the brush and not in your filter.
  • Change air filters more frequently.
    • Ensure you are matching the filter to the shed rate to your pet.
  • Build a barrier around your outdoor air conditioner unit.
    • The outdoor condenser is a giant suction unit. If your pet rubs against the unit they can clog it up and send dander into your system inside.

Clear away Plants and Bushes

Your air conditioning unit needs freely flowing air to function correctly. As bushes, flower beds, grass, or weeds grow around the unit, they obstruct the airflow. Again, this pushes the unit harder than necessary.

Clear away any plant life you find growing near the unit. It ensures the unit gets enough air. That ensures a more efficient unit for your home.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

Many people leave their air conditioning turned on all day, cooling an empty house or apartment. Others simply forget about adjusting the thermostat on their way out the door. This shortens the working life of the air conditioning unit and costs you money.

A programmable thermostat removes the human element. You simply program the thermostat for the temperatures you want at different times of the day. You save money and extend the efficient working life of the unit.

Check the Drain Line

Your air conditioning unit needs to drain excess moisture from the condenser. This drain line can clog from algae growth.

You do some preventative maintenance by flushing the line from time to time with a small amount of bleach. One cup will usually do the trick.

If algae or mold has mostly plugged the line, a basic wet/dry vacuum cleaner can typically suck away the obstruction.

Have Your Unit Serviced Regularly

Having a quality professional service your unit regularly will extend the life of your HVAC system, improve energy efficiency, prevent unexpected breakdowns, and keep you cool in the summer heat.

For a quality heating and cooling professional visit HomeHero Heating & Air.