Maintain your water heater

Spend an hour or two every six months to add years to your water heater’s life.

I was at a home inspection seminar, led by a plumber. There were about 30 of us in the room. The speaker said; “Raise your hand if you always recommend that the buyer flushes out the water heater.” We all raised out hands. The speaker did too.

“Now,” he said, “Keep them up if you’ve ever done it yourself.” We all took out hands down. He did too.

So this article falls under “Do as I say, not as I do.” umbrella. Having said that, it’s still good advice.

Flushing the water heater is neither difficult nor time-consuming. A build-up of sediment in the water heater can will cause the heater to run longer, wasting energy. It will also overheat the bottom of the tank, which could lead to a leak. Water heaters refill automatically, so a leak can eventually flood the basement. Likely? No. But still.

To empty the water heater, shut off the power and/or gas. then shut off the supply valve. That valve is on the cold water pipe that leads to the water heater.

Attach a garden hose to the drain plug at the bottom, and direct the hose to a floor drain or a bucket. Then open up the drain valve. It should take about 20-25 minutes to empty.

For good measure, open and close the fill valve a few times to shake out any loose crud.

Then close the drain valve, open the fill valve, and turn the power/gas back on.

Give it about 12 hours to fully recover, and check the temperature with a meat thermometer. The target range is between 120-125 degrees F. Learn about adjusting water temperatures by clicking HERE.

Good job! You deserve a pat on the back and a nap!