Water heaters are an essential fixture of homes. Unfortunately, maintenance can be overlooked for years until the shell of the water heater breaks down, leading to some uncomfortably cold showers or water leakage all over your floor. Thankfully, it is easy and accessible to perform maintenance on a water heater in less than half an hour.
Tools You’ll Need:
- Flathead Screwdriver
First, connect the hose to the bottom of your water heater drain valve and let it run to a bucket to collect all the drained water from the bottom. Don’t worry about shutting off your water heater – you will use the pressure of the water to push the old water out. The water that comes out will be hot, so it is essential to drain it into a bucket instead of your yard to protect your landscape from dying off due to the heat.
Next, turn the screw head 90 degrees counterclockwise using a flathead screwdriver to open up the valve. This will let the water flow through the hose and into the bucket, collecting any sediment that may be building up at the bottom. To close it, insert the flat-head screwdriver and turn clockwise. This will stop the flow of water through the pipe.
Repeat this process three times, letting the water flow for a couple of seconds at a time – the pressure on the water line will force any clumps of debris out.
Normal slight sediment can be expected, but keep an eye out for debris that looks like steel shavings or grey cat litter, as that could mean your water heater anode rod is disintegrating. In this case, you’ll want to call a plumber to help replace it.
If you were to empty your water heater, you’d first want to shut off the water and the electricity to your system to prevent the heating elements from burning up. If your water heater is electric, you’ll need to locate the water heater on your breaker panel to shut off the power to it. Then, find the handle to your water shut-off. The handle will parallel the cold line if the water pipe is open and running. To shut it off, adjust the handle to be perpendicular to the pipe (this will create an L shape). You can then safely drain the water.
Lastly, make sure the air filter is clean. You can prevent the air filter at the top of your water heater from clogging up by dusting it off every couple of months. You can slide the filter off and vacuum the filter; this will allow you to continue reusing the filter again.
By performing regular maintenance and flushing out your water heater, you can prolong the longevity of your tank while keeping your family safe and comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable taking this DIY task up yourself after watching our tutorial or reading this article, it is best to consult with a professional technician.