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How to Drain a Water Heater

A water heater is something that everyone is familiar with. Almost every urban home has one. But like many other home appliances, most of us tend to ignore the fact that regular cleaning and maintenance of these appliances is necessary in order to ensure that they continue to function efficiently. It is the same with water heaters. If not serviced regularly, their efficiency reduces and they tend to become redundant very soon. Draining hot water heaters is an important step in the direction of helping your water heater live out its complete lifetime. If you don’t know how to drain a water heater, this article will help you with the most basic method of doing it. Read it, and get draining.

Draining a Water Heater

A water heater is one of the most important appliances in our home. Whether it is a gas water heater or an electric one, you need to ensure timed and proper upkeep of it. This is the only way you can have an uninterrupted supply of hot water in your home. Not doing so, will lead to the clogging up of the water heater. And to unclog it, you need to know how to drain a water heater. That’s exactly what you’ll learn in the next paragraphs. Read on…

Step #1
Before you learn how to flush a water heater, you need to take necessary precautions. The water that will drain out, will undoubtedly be hot, so you need to:

  • Wear protective clothing
  • Keep children and pets away from the area
  • Switch off the cold water supply to the water heater (‘pilot’ if it’s a gas heater)
  • Turn off the pressure valve that is present at the bottom of the water heater

Step #2
Turn on a hot water tap in another part of the house. Doing this will ensure that when you begin the draining process, there is no vacuum formed in the pipes.

Step #3
The next step is to get a garden hose from the garden and connect it to the drain valve on the heater. The other end of the garden hose should be left in an area that can absorb the hot water. Either a garden or a big water tub. Keep people away from the end to avoid scathing or blistering.

Step #4
The next step is to turn on the drain valve on the water heater. Keep it on till all the water from the tank has flown out of the tank. The water will be a brownish color in the beginning as the gunk from the heater flows out and it will then turn clear. If there is a clog, wait for the water to cool down, open the drain valve, take a set of thin pliers or a long screw driver and pull out any substances that have deposited themselves inside.

Step #5
If there is no clog, after all the water is out of the tank, turn the cold water supply into the heater tank on. This will flush out any matter that is still left inside. After the last remnants are out, you can remove the garden hose and TURN THE WATER HEATER DRAIN VALVE OFF. Don’t forget this, or else you’ll have a leaky water heater on your hands. You might have to do it rather tightly because the valve might not shut completely.

Step #6
Last but not the least, check the drain valve to see that it is off, switch on the pressure valve and switch on the main switch of your heater.

Those were the most basic instructions on how to drain a water heater. Read the instructions that came along with your heating system for model specific instructions. If you do not succeed, then hire someone with a valid plumbing license to service your water heater.