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Preventive Maintenance For Your Hot Water Heater

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You can help to prevent flooding your home, save energy, and increase the lifespan of your hot water heater by performing a few simple maintenance tasks. These actions require very little skill, and the only equipment you'll need is a garden hose, a bucket, goggles, and gloves.

Over time, your hot water tank can become contaminated with sediment that accumulates from minerals that are present in the local water supply. This sediment can affect heating efficiency if it accumulates around the heating element, and can travel throughout your plumbing system, causing blockages. 

You can eliminate accumulated sediment by draining your hot water tank. You can drain your tank using the following procedures:

Shut off the power. Shut off the breaker on an electric hot water tank, and the the dial to "pilot" on a gas model.

Shut off the cold water supply valve on top on the tank. The supply valve will be the one that is cold to the touch.

You should check the pressure relief valve while the power is off. This valve keeps the pressure in the tank from becoming too great. When you open this ckearly marked valve, air, steam, or hot water may be released, so wear gloves and goggles for safety, and place a bucket beneath the valve when you open it.

Attach a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank, and open all the hot water faucets in the home. When you open the drain valve, you will be directing very hot water from the tank, so use caution when selecting an area.

If your water heater is in the basement, you may have trouble with the water attempting to drain uphill to the outside of your home. You may need to use buckets, unless you have a pump.

Allow the water in the tank to cool for awhile if you need to use buckets, so there will be less chance of being scalded.

Water is surprisingly heavy, so if you must empty your tank using a bucket, use the hose to carry the water as close to the dumping area as possible. You should enlist a helper to turn the drain valve on and off, while you remove and empty the bucket.

After the tank has been emptied, disconnect the hose, and close the drain and pressure relief valves. Turn on the cold water supply valve and the gas or electric power source. Leave the hot water faucets on for a few minutes until all the air and remaining sediment is removed from the pipes.

Talk to experts like Walt's Plumbing for more information.