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How to Drain a Water Heater

Water heaters are the unsung hero of many homes, providing instant and reliable hot water with the turn of the tap. Because water heaters often work in the background, they can build up minerals and dirt without being noticed, decreasing the quality of your water. Occasionally, you will need to drain the water from your water heater so it can refill with clean, fresh water. However, many homeowners are unaware of the process of draining a water heater and can be intimidated by the thought of performing this fairly simple task. Discover the easy steps in draining a water heater, and learn how a plumbing professional can help when you run into problems.

Shut Down Your Water Supply and Water Heater

The first step in cleaning out your water heater will be to shut down the system completely. This is done to both protect you and to preserve the health of your heating unit. First, you need to stop the water supply by shutting down the cold water valve—this is often located at the top of your unit. The next step is dependent on what type of water heater you own. If you have an electric water heater, turn off the breaker that powers your heater; if you have a gas heater, switch to the pilot setting. Finally, because the water will often take several hours to cool down, wait until you are sure the water has cooled before you being draining.

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Let the Water Flow

Once you have shut down your heater and given the water ample time to cool, it is time to get started draining. For this part of the process, you will need a standard garden hose and a screwdriver. Near the bottom of your water heater will be a drain valve; attach your garden hose to this valve and place the other end in a location safe for draining. After connecting your hose, you need to speed up the draining process by turning on the closest water faucet. With the hose attached and the faucet open, it is time to start draining. Carefully open the drain valve and let the water flow. When the tank has emptied, flush out the remaining sediment with cold water until the water is clear.


Get Everything Up and Running

Now that the water in your heater has been drained and the tank is fully clear of dirt and debris, it is time to get everything back in working order. This process is fairly quick, as it mostly covers walking back all of your previous tasks. Shut down the valve, detach your hose and turn the cold water valve back on, which will cause your tank to start filling. As soon as your open faucet is emitting cold water, you can shut it down. Lastly, turn your heater back on, either by flicking the breaker or re-igniting your pilot light.


What to Do When Draining a Water Heater Goes Wrong

Even though the process of draining your water heater is quite simple, it does not mean that you cannot run into problems. If you run into an issue while draining your water, you might need professional help, and the only way you should consider finding a qualified plumber is by signing up with ServiceWhale. The professionals featured at ServiceWhale are of the highest quality available, and can fix your water heater quickly and affordably. Contact ServiceWhale right away and learn how finding a great plumbing professional is only a click away.


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