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While we typically remember to service our air conditioners and furnaces, when was the last time you considered maintaining your water heater? Southern Air knows how busy life can be, and we know how it’s difficult to juggle maintenance routines. If you need guidance on draining your water heater and when to do it, just read on!
Most companies suggest you drain your water heater every 6-12 months. This is because the system can collect sediment at the bottom of the tank, which comes from the minerals and impurities in the water. This sediment causes your heater to work harder to warm the water, reducing your energy efficiency.
If you have a traditional tank-style heating system with access to the top of the tank, it’s important to check for sediment build-up every few months. If you notice a build-up at the bottom of the tank, it may be time to drain the system.
If you’re unsure if you should begin the draining process, contact an HVAC company to help you determine how to drain your system safely and effectively.
At a minimum, you should drain and flush your system once a year. Ideally, this maintenance task should happen once in the spring and once in the fall. This is to keep your system running as efficiently as possible.
If you live in an area with hard water, you should drain your tank more frequently because your water carries more minerals. Instead of yearly, you will need to flush the system every 4-6 months to prevent mineral build-up.
Before beginning this process, it’s key to understand that you will work with scalding water. You should shut off your heater for several hours before flushing the tank. This way the water can cool down some. You should also prepare yourself with heavy-duty rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes and skin from hot water splashes.
Before shutting off the water, connect a garden hose to the drain valve and drain the tank while the water pressure is still on. Open the drain valve for a few seconds and close it again, this pressure will remove stuck sediment from the valve and help the tank drain more quickly.
Shut off the gas or power to your system, and then shut off the water. Make sure the pressure is off by testing faucets around your home and checking for running water. Just leave a hot water tap open in the sink near your tank to reduce pressure in the system.
With a garden hose attached, open the drain valve on the heater. If needed, use a flathead screwdriver to assist you.
Once this is open, the water will drain out through your hose, so make sure it leads into a bucket or outdoors. Close the valve whenever you need to empty the bucket and continue until the water is clear. This means that there is no more sediment in the tank.
Shut the drain valve and remove the hose, and keep all but one hot water tap in your home closed. You can now slowly run the water to the water heater again. Start by partially opening the valve and keeping this position until the system is energized fully.
Then you can open the valve completely and watch the open tap. Once there is water coming from the faucet, turn it off.
You can now turn the power on for your electric heater or relight the pilot for a gas heater. You should have hot water again within an hour.
Make sure that your water heater drain has closed completely by ensuring that there are no leaks by the spout. You can add a threaded hose cap to stop the leak or completely replace the valve if it did not close fully.
Draining your water heater is a simple process that you can do once or twice a year to keep it running efficiently. At Southern Air, we understand that maintenance can extend the lifespan of your home appliances. So whether you need an AC tune-up, furnace inspection or water heater maintenance, we can help you out!
Connect with us today to schedule one of our premier heating, cooling, or water heater services!
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