Annual Draining of Hot Water Heaters for Increased Efficiency

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An infrequently mentioned means of caring for your home is draining your hot water heater annually. This is not something that comes up a lot, possibly because hot waters are out of sight and thus out of mind, at least until you have a problem with one. Even if your hot water heater seems to be running just fine, over time minerals and sediment collect inside of it and need to be flushed out. Neglecting to do this makes your hot water heater have to work harder and your electric or gas bill will go up in accordance with the type of hot water heater you have.

Draining your hot water heater on an annual basis is an easy job worthy of doing for the benefits you will be able to get out of it. Enabling it to work cleaner will equate to working less hard, so it is a good idea to put this chore on your spring to-do list. To start, the power source to your hot water heater needs to be turned off. This means flipping the breaker for an electric hot water heater and turning off the gas in the case of a gas hot water heater.

With your gas/electricity turned off, you will now need to find a hose to attach to the base of your hot water heater. Some will have a threaded valve that you turn manually while others have what looks like a regular faucet. Both should accept a standard hose fitting, so pull a hose up to your hot water heater and attach it to the valve. Atlernatively, if you do not have or wish to use a hose, you can use buckets, but be prepared with more than one and ready to switch them out quickly as they fill. Once the hose is in place, turn off the water source to the hot water heater. The valve for doing this should be located on the plumping extending from the top of the hot water heater.

With everything in place for the draining of your hot water heater, open the bottom drain valve where your hose is connected. Then you will need to locate and open the pressure valve (usually located atop the hot water heater but sometimes on the side) and release it. The purpose in doing this is to prevent a vacuum from forming that will trap the water; releasing the pressure valve allows it to flow out freely.

Since hot water heaters hold a considerable amount of water, they may take several minutes to drain. Once you notice that the draining has stopped, return to your hot water heater and turn the water source on once more. By letting water flow through your hot water heater, you will be rinsing the last of the trapped sediment away. Let the water flow through for a few minutes then turn it off.

At this point, your hot water heater should be free of minerals and sediment as well as ready to return to work in a more effective manner. Simply remove your hose, turn the water source back on, and then the power source, be it gas or electric. Within less than an hour your water heater should be full of hot water and ready to serve you once again.

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