A plumber performing maintenance on a water heater.

How to Maintain and Drain a Water Heater

Generally speaking, water heaters require very little maintenance, but draining your unit once a year can help keep it running properly. It’s very easy to neglect our water heaters, especially since they require little upkeep, but maintaining your water heater is crucial for quality hot water supply, and draining your unit is part of the regular maintenance process.

Why Draining Your Water Heater is Important

Hot water is something we all take for granted, until our water heater stops working and cold showers are our only option until the problem is fixed. Draining your water heater annually not only prolongs the life of your unit, it also reduces sediment buildup, which helps your unit work more efficiently for a longer period of time. If you neglect draining your water heater, it reduces the lifespan of the unit and could end up heating your water more slowly.

Follow these steps to drain your water heater.

  1. Turn off the water valve to your water heater tank.
  2. Shut off the power to the water heater.
  3. Allow the water to cool down a bit.
  4. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the unit.
  5. Open the drain valve.
  6. Open the pressure relief valve.
  7. Let the water drain.
  8. Turn the water supply back on once the tank is empty and allow the water to run through the tank and out the drain valve until it runs clear.
  9. Close the drain and press relief valves so the water can refill.
  10. Electric water heaters: Flip the circuit breaker or plug the unit back in.
  11. Gas water heaters: Turn the gas on and relight the pilot light.

While these steps might seem simple, it’s very important to use a bucket (unless you’re using a floor drain) while draining your water to avoid flooding your basement.

Pro tip: After you close your valves, keep an eye on them to make sure they are closed all the way and don’t leak. Most water heater valves are made of plastic and are at risk of leaking if not closed properly.

Charleston Water Heater Services

Preventative water heater maintenance will prolong the life of your unit, but it will also give you peace of mind that nothing will go wrong during the times you need hot water the most. For all of your water heater maintenance needs, count on McAtee Plumbing Heating & Cooling. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!