preparing for plumbing emergencies
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preparing for plumbing emergencies

Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.

preparing for plumbing emergencies

How To Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater Tank And Help Extend Its Life

Veronica Torres

It is important to maintain your home's water heater to keep it running efficiently and last its full expected 15-year lifetime. Draining your water heater to clear out any sediment in its tank can be difficult without knowing the right steps to take. Here are some instructions to help make the process easy to complete.

Clean Sediment Annually

It is recommended to clean out any sediment inside your water heater once a year. This will help your water heater work more efficiently and save your power bill. When sediment settles on the bottom of the water heater, it can build up and create a layer of sediment that covers the heating element and prevents the water heater from heating the water properly. And it can cause your water heater to work noisily with popping and banging noises.

Make Safety Preparations

First, turn off the gas to your gas-powered water heater to extinguish the pilot light, or switch off the breaker to turn off the power to an electric water heater before doing any maintenance. Then, before you proceed further, make sure to wear protective work gloves, eye protection goggles, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt. This is to protect your body from any injury caused by hot water that may be present inside your water heater.

Locate Your Tank's Valves

Now you can shut off the cold water inlet valve on the top of the water heater. This metal valve may look like a valve on your garden hose faucet and is positioned on a length of water line pipe running into the top of your water heater. Turn the valve to the right, or clock-wise to shut the water off to the water heater. As you drain the water heater you won't want this automatic valve to refill the tank. Open the pressure release valve, which is located on the top of the tank and is lever-shaped. Locate the drain valve positioned at the bottom of the tank. This valve will also have a faucet handle to open and close the valve during the annual draining maintenance. 

Ready the Drainage Process

Determine what you want to drain the water from your water heater into. You can use a hose to divert the water outside or into a bathtub in your home, or you can drain it into a nearby floor drain. If you want to use a garden hose to divert the water, attach a garden hose to the end of the valve by screwing it on the threads, then move the end of the hose length to your drain area. Keep in mind this water will be scalding hot, so choose a draining location where nothing can be harmed by the hot water.

Clean Sediment From the Tank

Turn the valve handle counter clock-wise until water begins to flow from the tank. The water leaving the tank will contain sediment from the water, so it will be brown or orange in color. Watch the water as it flows until it begins to flow clean. Turn off the drain valve by turning it close-wise, then open the cold water inlet valve to let water flow into the tank for approximately 30 seconds. This will help stir up any remaining sediment inside your tank. Close the water inlet valve and reopen the drain valve to let more sediment-filled water to drain from the tank. 

Repeat this process of draining water and stirring up sediment until the water flowing from the tank remains clear. Turn off the drain valve by turning the knob close-wise, close the pressure release valve at the top of the tank, then open the cold water inlet valve by turning it counter clock-wise. This will refill your heater's tank.

Restart Your Heater

Last, switch the power breaker back on to an electric water heater, or turn the gas back on to a gas water heater and light the pilot light. Your water heater is cleaned of sediment until next year.

If you do end up needing repairs to your water heater, reach out to a professional such as StateWide Mechanical II Inc.